Does Blue Light Affect Our Health?

bluelight

Over the past few years, there has been plenty of debate about the effects of blue light can have on us. While techies applaud the convenience that brighter, clearer screens offer our hectic schedules, sleep gurus and skin experts have warned about the implications they can have on our sleeping patterns and complexions. 

Last year, a study found that blue light can be detrimental to our eyes and cause damage to our cornea and retina. Researchers from the University of South China warned that we should take protective measures, especially at night to help prevent putting our eyes under oxidative stress.

Earlier this week, another study highlighted that it could be possible that blue light doesn’t just damage our eyes, but it could also affect our brain. Scientists at Oregon State University looked at the effect of blue light has on fruit flies and found that even if it’s not shining directly into your eyes, blue light can damage the neurons in your brain. 

“There is evidence suggesting that increased exposure to artificial light is a risk factor for sleep and circadian disorders,” says co-author of the study, Eileen Chow. “And with the prevalent use of LED lighting and device displays, we are subjected to increasing amounts of light in the blue spectrum, since commonly used LEDs emit a high fraction of blue light.”

Wait, what is blue light?

From your laptop to your smartphone, pretty much every screen in your home emits high-energy visible (HEV) or ‘blue’ light. Even some of your light bulbs give off blue rays. Why have we moved to blue light? Well, essentially it’s super bright and allows you to see your screen clearly in sunlight and it is thought to help boost attention and mood levels.  

How does it impact your body?

Blue light hasn’t been around for long enough for us to fully understand how it affects us, however scientists have been exploring the topic. Plenty of experts agree that blue light can disrupt our circadian rhythm and light exposure at night has been shown to decrease our melatonin (sleep hormone) levels. 

A couple of years back, a study compared the impact of blue light with green light when it comes to our body clock and found that the former suppressed our melatonin levels for twice as long. So, if you’re the kind of person who wakes up in the middle of the night and reaches for your phone, it’s time to take note and potentially invest in a gentler bedside lamp.

There have also been murmurings about the impact of blue light on our skin and some brands have even brought out formulas that promise to help protect our complexions from the premature ageing that is believed to be triggered by our screens.

Can you protect from blue light?

Aside from living by candlelight and limiting your screen time, a very easy trick is to change the light settings on your phone, laptop and computer. If you have an iPhone you’ll find this in your settings > Display & Brightness > Night Shift, which you can set a timer for. While there’s not a lot of research around the benefits of the Night Shift setting, it does highlight how bright the standard blue light setting is and will help limit your exposure in the lead up to bedtime. There are also protective blue light filters in the form of glasses and phone cases. 

If you find it hard to get to sleep at night it is worth taking Cherry Night by Viridian as cherries help to boost your melatonin levels over time. Admittedly the powder does take a couple of weeks to kick into action, but you will notice that it is easier to drift off if you take it consistently every night around an hour before you want to go to bed.

For those who are concerned about the damage blue light is doing to their skin and potentially the rest of their body, it’s worth increasing your intake of antioxidants to help protect against free radical damage. Look to supplements such as astaxanthin and fulvic acid to help protect your body. We recommend Ful.Vic.Health Fulvic Acid Elixir – those who prefer tablets should try Ionicell. Fulvic acid is a fabulous antioxidant and it provides 65+ essential macro and trace minerals to your body (learn more about the benefits, here).

While a lot more research needs to be done to discover exactly how to protect our skin from blue light, dermatologists tend to recommend applying a good quality antioxidant, such as a good vitamin C serum. Regardless of your budget, Garden of Wisdom’s Vitamin C Serum 23% and Ferulic Acid is a good place to start and if you want more of a treatment mask, try Lixirskin’s Vitamin C Paste.

This is an area of research that is going to continue to evolve though. “Human lifespan has increased dramatically over the past century as we’ve found ways to treat diseases, and at the same time we have been spending more and more time with artificial light,” says Chow. “As science looks for ways to help people be healthier as they live longer, designing a healthier spectrum of light might be a possibility, not just in terms of sleeping better but in terms of overall health.”

We’re Hitting Peak Age Later Than You Think

peak-age

Even if you’re not a tennis fan it’s likely you will have heard about the men’s final match at Wimbledon this year. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic battled it out for the men’s title and made history not only for the length of the match – it lasted for almost five hours and is the longest men’s final in Wimbledon’s history – but also as it was the first time a tiebreak at 12-12 had happened. While Djokovic won the match and took the title at Wimbledon for the fifth time, Federer received a lot of attention and praise for his stamina. Read More…

Bakuchiol, A Natural Alternative To Retinol

Dropper of clear serum pulling out of bottle, close up shot

Over the last decade particularly, retinol has been hailed as the holy grail of all anti-ageing hero ingredients used in serums, eye creams and moisturisers, and with good reason. Retinol, a form of vitamin A, encourages cell renewal and enhances collagen production to prevent and treat fine lines and wrinkles. However, retinol can be harsh causing signs of irritation including redness, itching and peeling. If you have sensitive skin, the chances are you will not be able to experience the powerful effects of retinol on your skin – until now. Bakuchiol is the latest plant-based, anti-ageing ingredient in skincare which is suitable for even the most sensitive skin and is considered a natural alternative to retinol. Read More…

Prickly Pear Seed oil that works for Face, Hair and Hands

Creams, oils, unguents – our guest columnist has tried them all, but this is the one product she recommends to friends the most – by Nigella Lawson

  • When I was 24, I was told by the great Eve Lom that if I wanted to keep my skin good for ever, I absolutely had to wash my face nightly with her thick cleanser-in-a-tub, using a muslin cloth. This, she told me, would be all the exfoliation the skin needed, and the brisk nightly polish would get rid of old, dead skin cells and keep my complexion bright, even as I got older.

    This has since been superseded for me by Temple Spa In The Beginning Deep Cleansing Melt or, when I’m travelling — as it’s lighter and fits better in a make-up bag or the liquids bag at the airport — Lixirskin Electrogel Cleanser, both used with Balm Balm’s organic muslin cloths, which have just the right amount of scritchiness. Read More…

Beauty High-Street Heroes

Team Grazia share their ultimate high-street beauty heroes, PHA Plus Serum – by Hattie Brett

  •  Pha plus serum by GOW

    Garden of Wisdom PHA Plus Serum , £14.

    The founders of victoriahealth.com are just brilliant at tracking down new, affordable beauty ranges that go on to become cult classics. their latest is Garden of wisdom range, which delivers advanced skincare, but in a gentle way. I love the PHA Plus Serum, £14 – a genius product that’s left my skin visibly more glowy.

    Buy PHA Plus Serum

April Newsletter

Vice Reversa

Hello and welcome to the April newsletter where we do the exclusive UK launch of a new brand, Vice Reversa, which also heralds a new era of an emerging category in all things bright and beautiful. That would be bright and beautiful skin. Additionally I tell you about the latest product from LixirSkin and my obsession with a new must-have (in my humble opinion) from Sarah Chapman.

And then we do health. Liposomals, Nootropics (again) and a stunning new supplement which helps turn off the pain signal. Aculief has more than a moment in the spotlight and this month we have some really powerful feature articles, so much so that I am going to leap onto The Podium with Victoria to write about abuse (because I can and because I will), but more of that later. Let’s do it: Read More…