We spend our lives in front of screens. Phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and TVs, it’s hard to avoid them. While most of us understand that blue light can strain the eyes, there are several other ways blue light affects your body.
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What exactly is blue light?
First things first, let’s talk about what exactly blue light is. The visible light spectrum includes a variety of different wavelengths and energy levels, of which blue light is a part of. The general idea is, that the longer the wave of light is, the less energy it’ll transmit. Unfortunately for us constant tech users, blue light has both very short and high energy waves which means it’s pretty powerful. Interestingly enough, most of us are aware of the harmful effects of UV rays and do our best to take precautions against them—and blue light waves are only slightly less powerful, so it’s just as important to learn about the bad effects of blue light and how to shield ourselves against them.
Blue light effect on eyes
If you’re someone who uses their phone often, and let’s face it, the majority of us are, you’ve probably experienced digital eye strain at one point or another. Blue light can actually cause digital eye strain, which is a condition that includes quite a few symptoms including blurred vision, dry eyes, eye fatigue, and headaches, to name a few.
Because blue light passes through the cornea to the retina, it can lead to retinal damage. Research suggests that blue light could eventually lead to serious permanent vision changes and diseases such as macular degeneration.
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Blue light effect on sleep
Blue light affects melatonin production—our bodies naturally produce melatonin, which is the hormone that causes us to feel drowsy and exposure to blue light can suppress the release of it. While blue light may keep us more alert and focused during our waking hours, its emission at night may disturb our sleep cycles and cause us to feel more awake in the moments we should be focusing on getting some sleep.
Blue light effect on the skin
While blue light’s effects on the eyes may be a given, research also shows that blue light can lead to negative changes within the skin cells. Too much exposure to blue light can cause cell shrinkage and cell death, which speeds up the process of skin aging and can cause issues like inflammation and hyperpigmentation—and studies suggest that even just 60 minutes of blue light exposure can activate these skin changes.
How can I protect myself from blue light?
Although it’d be impossible to completely eliminate our exposure to blue light, because after all, blue light is all around us (not just on our phone screens) and is primarily emitted from the sun, we can still take the necessary steps to limit our exposure and protect our bodies as best as possible.
The best method of limiting blue light exposure would be limiting our screen time. But if you don’t have the luxury of stepping away from screens, then you should think about blue light like you do sun exposure. Here are 5 more reasons to wear sunscreen.
If putting your phone away isn’t an option, investing in a blue light screen protector or blue light glasses can help with eye strain and discomfort. Additionally, there’s also always the option of adjusting the light on your phone to “night mode”, which will also help with regulating your circadian rhythm.
When it comes to the skin, it is highly recommended to wear sunscreen containing Zinc Oxide, which helps form a protective barrier against not only UV rays, but also blue light. Certain types of makeup can even help with protection against it, for example, BB cream, which has been scientifically proven to minimize blue light effects by 80%!