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    Fact or Fiction: Does Blue Light Age You?

      |  Sep 13, 2023

    What is blue light?

    Blue light vibrates at a wavelength between a range of 380 - 500 nanometers; it has the shortest wavelength and highest energy. The Sun is the biggest source of blue light energy, but in today’s world we also get blue light from LED TVs, phone, computer, and tablet screens, as well as energy efficient light bulbs.

    Blue light does have benefits: it boosts alertness, elevates mood, and can even improve brain function. Before the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, we got most of our blue light from the sun during the day, and it helped regulate our circadian rhythms. Today, many of us are exposed to blue light at all hours, from the time we wake up until we put our phone down before bed.

    How does blue light affect our health?

    One of the greatest impacts blue light has on our health and the aging process is the disruption of our circadian rhythms. Your circadian rhythm is a natural cycle that occurs over 24 hours and is responsible for physical, mental, and behavior changes. The majority of living things, from humans to microbes, follow a circadian rhythm and it’s most influenced by exposure to light and dark. It also impacts when you’re most alert during the day and when you fall asleep. 

    Blue light from screens disrupts your circadian rhythm but mimicking sun exposure at hours of the day when your body wouldn’t be exposed to blue light from the sun. In a well functioning circadian rhythm, your body responds to a natural decrease in blue light by secreting melatonin, a natural chemical produced in the brain that makes you feel tired. If you only put down your phone right before you shut your eyes for the night, or you spend all day looking at screens, you might have a harder time falling and staying asleep. 

    So how does this impact aging? Sleep is an essential process for our bodies, and reduced sleep can lead to disruptions in hormone and metabolic levels, depression, diabetes, and even cardiovascular issues. 

    Blue light can also speed up external signs of aging, and cause fine lines and wrinkles to appear on the face and neck. That’s because chronic exposure to blue light can cause oxidative stress, which reduces collagen production and harms your skin’s elasticity. Interestingly enough, blue light has also been linked to the improvement of skin conditions like acne, when used in a controlled setting — not from staring at your phone all day. 

    How to reduce aging effects of blue light

    Take breaks

    If you regularly use a laptop or phone for work throughout the day, take regular breaks from your devices. Make a snack, read a chapter of a book, or go on a walk and leave your phone behind. At night, try to put your phone and any other blue light emitting devices away or in another room 2 - 3 hours before bedtime. 

    Purchase blue light glasses

    If you work late nights or are unable to unplug before bed, try wearing blue light glasses to lessen the impact blue light has on your circadian rhythm. You can also install a filter on your devices to filter blue and green light.

    Maintain your skincare routine

    If you’re concerned with premature aging on your skin, maintaining a regular skincare routine can help reduce and repair harm from blue light. A product like retinol, whether prescription or over the counter, can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while a Vitamin C serum can help defend and protect against free radicals.

    Get back on track with supplements

    Melatonin, the chemical our brain secretes at night to help us fall asleep, is also available in supplement form. Taken right before bedtime, melatonin supplements help you fall asleep and stay asleep so you can reap the health benefits of a good night’s rest. Magnesium supplements can also help improve sleep quality and improve brain function.

    Bring your aging related issues to light

    If you’re experiencing premature signs of aging or poor sleep, our Aging Wellness Assessment can reveal the causes of aging related symptoms, and get you back on track to feeling your best. After a blood panel, cognitive test, and bone scan, you’ll work one on one with a licensed clinician to understand your overall health and create an action plan to address your concerns. Unsure where to start? Book a free consultation today.