Blue light and the effect technology is having on our overall health and wellbeing, is something we’ve been discussing quite often, and for a good reason. We’re often asked about products, treatments, and innovation when it comes to the world of beauty and wellness. It seems like there’s a new buzz word popping up every two minutes, and next thing you know it’s the center of our conversations at Beauty Disclosed. Sometimes, it’s a fad or a trend (and hey, we still pay equal attention in addressing and uncovering both), but other times there are topics that are here to stay- or should be. Enter blue light.
Let’s face it, we’re all connected to our digital screens and devices more than ever before. Most of us spend 8+ hours on our computers at work, and it’s been reported that the average American looks at their phone 76 times per day for over 145 mins. It’s unlikely that our exposure to screen time is going to decrease anytime soon, but we should be armed with the information and tools to make smart choices when it comes to using our connected devices.
Let’s chat through the basic facts and some of our favorite products to combat the huge influx of blue light that’s happening RIGHT NOW.
5 Reasons Why Blue Light Exposure Matters
There are five main reasons we’ve become super interested in blue light and the effects of blue light emission from our beloved digital devices.
- Can cause possible eye damage + long-term effects on vision
- Disrupts your sleep + leads to fatigue
- Can cause premature aging of skin
- Causes headaches
- Contributes to trouble focusing + blurry vision
What is Blue Light?
First things first, what is blue light? In a simple summary, to understand blue light we need to understand how our eyes process light. Let us share a little lesson to bring us back to our science class days. Every day our eyes process light. When we’re looking at sunlight or natural light, our eyes see a combination of different colored rays with various wavelengths. Rays on the red side of the spectrum have longer wavelengths which have less energy. Whereas, rays on the blue side of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and more energy. Rays from electronics (aka the screens of our phones, computers, TV, etc) are primarily made of blue light and can be especially harmful to our vision and eyes. Our cornea and lens, block and filter the majority of the rays from daylight, however, blue light rays permeates almost directly to the retina which is super sensitive to light.
How Blue Light Effects Overall Wellness
Given we all now know how Blue Light, and the direct exposure to our retina, can be harmful to our eyes and vision, let’s talk about why this matters. First, and likely scariest, over time studies have shown that long-term continued exposure to blue light can lead to conditions like macular degeneration and vision loss. YIKES. More near-term, the longer we stare at our screens can lead to trouble focusing, headaches, fatigue, and can actually disrupt our circadian rhythm which secretes melatonin, therefore making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is MAJOR guys. We are huge believers in the benefits of sleep for our overall well being and the disruption from blue light interrupts this key time for our body and cells to rejuvenate and work in their best capacity.
How Blue Light Affects Your Skin
Blue light is also affecting your skin. This has become a major topic of discussion within the beauty world and for us here at Beauty Disclosed. So much so, that some of our favorite brands are actually launching products to combat blue light rays from our devices, similar to how SPF fights harmful rays from sun exposure. Blue light can contribute to pigmentation and advanced signs of aging because it penetrates the skin deeper than UVA and UVB rays. This can break down elastin and collagen and act as a free radical, also causing hyperpigmentation and redness. Our favorite way to understand and explain the exposure of free radical damage is to think of cutting an apple and seeing how quickly it turns brown. This is the same effect free radicals have on your skin, and why we work so hard to use products and make environmental changes to protect against them.
Products to Fight Blue Light Exposure
There are two main products we use to lessen our inevitable blue light exposure. Blue light blocking glasses and blue light screen protectors. Here are our favorites. Note, its normal for products not to block 100% of blue light. For us, even reducing by 30-50% is a total win.
EyeJust Blue Light Blocking Screen Protectors: First, we must say this is a genius idea and there is no reason NOT to have one of these on your phone. We met the founder of EyeJust, Gigi Mortimer, at an industry event, and we’re SO impressed. These super easy to install screen protectors come in sizes to fit your phone and also your iPad. And, you’re hearing it here first, laptop screen protectors are launching soon (cannot wait for this). You can purchase here!
Diff Eyewear Blue Light Glasses: We both wear our Diff Eyewear glasses and LOVE them. Lauren has the Weston and Kim has the Ridley. Diff has both 30% and 50% blue light blocking glasses. For every pair of Diff glasses purchased, they donate a pair to someone in need.
Other Blue Light Glasses: We love these from Lady Boss, a company specializing in feather-light frames. Also love these, these, and these from Warby Parker (another great company that gives back for every pair purchased). At Warby Parker, you pick your frames, then add the blue light lens as you normally would with a prescription.
Other Ways to Combat Blue Light Emission
Outside of screen protectors and glasses, there are a few other ways to help combat the effects of blue light. First, up your intake of carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are found in green veggies, leafy greens, salmon, shrimp, and orange, red and yellow veggies. Does anyone else remember your parents making you eat your carrots to help your vision? The nutrients and antioxidants in these foods can help to fight blue light strain.