A Light Diet - How To Feed Your Eyes And Skin
"I'm blue da ba dee da ba daa" -Eiffel 65
Are your eyes getting high on blue light? There’s a lot of talk going on about blue light and its negative impact on our sleep as well as the disruptive effects it has on children’s brains and teenagers’ behaviours.
This has been backed by science (check out the mammoth amount of research available on pub med) and if this is news to you, I would recommend you look into it, as this is going to be big news in the coming years.
Though this is a fascinating subject which deserves plenty of attention- with most of our lighting environmental being highly blue based; today’s focal point is looking at its counter part: red light.
Red light is naturally found among the rays emitted by the sun in the morning and around sunrise. The sun emits red, blue, green, and yellow, as well as ultra violet rays and thus far hasn’t been replicated by us humans (the closest we’ve got to it is full spectrum bulbs and it’s still far from healthy for our skin).
Exposure to morning sunshine is essential to our hormonal and cellular health (mitochondria in them to be precise) because of its unique blend of red and blue rays which are organically blended by...nature.
The thing is… counting on British “Mr. Sun” to show up to the party on time is comparable to wishful thinking.
What to do then?
According to my research over the past year this is what I would suggest:
~ Expose your eyes and skin in the outdoors (no glasses/lenses and minimum clothing) don't worry if the sun isn't quite peaking through the clouds- even just 10 minutes will help.
~ Go down south (just like birds migrate every winter) whenever time and/or budget permits.
~ If south is not an option, find some altitude in Scottish or alpine summits (1500+meters).
~ During peak summer time, stay shaded but keep your eyes unobstructed so they can absorb the multitude of rays.
~ Find ways to delay exposure to blue light in the morning as well as the evening (rearranging your to do list may make the difference).
~ Use blue blocking glasses that you can wear whenever your light environment is clearly artificial (airports, supermarkets, TV, tablets, phones, standard LED lights, fluorescent lights,etc).
~ Avoid commercial sun screen and look for alternatives. The truth is: it’s all about timing when it comes to light.
Like I said earlier, get plenty of morning sun (before 11am) and then 10-30 minutes here and there during the afternoon whilst avoiding any direct exposure between 12 and 2pm until you have renewed your body’s ability to absorb and process UV safely.
What if I just can’t get outside because of work + other commitments, but wish to introduce some RED into my life?
Well, I would look into man-made near and far Infra Red light such as portable devices and special saunas, which is exactly what I did. The technology has hugely improved over the years and the results I got from my 6 to 10 daily minutes of IR light at night are nothing short of amazing.
There are many different devices and brands out there but after asking fellow colleagues and friends, it seems that two options stand out:
- JOOVV: It comes in three sizes and is used by top athletes from all over the world as well as models. I own the medium size one with a combination of red and near infrared (NIR) for maximum efficiency. You can choose between red near IR, or go for the combo. Click here for more info.
- JNH : Home IR Sauna for 2-3 people. This is a different kind of investment that may or may not be suitable depending on the space available and your budget. Note that this sauna doesn’t produce near infra red light. Click here for more info.
So...what is the difference between red and near infrared? And what kind of benefits can I expect from light therapy?
Near IR Light = 850 nm = deep skin penetration
Red Light = 660 nm = same effect on cells closer to the surface
Both are excellent for our cells with the main difference being that 850 nm (near IR) penetrates a lot further into the body than 660 nm. Both wavelengths of 660 nm and 850 nm have been proven to enhance cellular health in hundreds of published clinical studies.
• Repairs sun- or acne-related skin damage
• Enhances muscle recovery and peak performance
• Fades scars, wrinkles, and stretch marks
• Speeds wound healing
• Reduces joint inflammation
• Helps with infertility
You will have guessed by now, red light therapy is a valuable element in any wellness tool kit, regardless of who you are and what you do for a living. For more info and scientific literature, I’d advise you head over to 180 Degree Health for a super sharp article on near infra-red light and red light. It goes into all the details you may wonder about:
What about blue light? What are the things that I can do to limit eye damage?
~ Wear blue blocking quality glasses when exposed to artificial light
~ Avoid exposing your skin to artificial light (think throat = thyroid and chest = heart, breasts + lungs)
Here’s a couple of studies for further reading:
You mentioned UVs being harmful at a certain time of the day but I find it hard to stay indoors when I am on holiday and don’t wish to wear toxic sunscreen…
I get it, you’re on holiday for 2 weeks in the sun every year if you’re lucky and it seems absurd to stay in or get dressed up as if headed for winter olympics when the sky is blue and the waves are rolling and the ice creams are melting.
I would try and at least cover some of my most vulnerable skin areas (neck, shoulders, chest), build up your ability to process UV rays daily and take breaks.
One last detail; don’t underestimate what sunscreen can do to/for you.
It can either make things worse (skin cancer induced by chemicals) or help your skin befriend the late morning and afternoon rays.
The kind of product I would look into or attempt to make myself would typically contain a combination of:
Zinc oxide - Organic coconut oil - Sesame oil - Beeswax - Aloe vera - Jasmin essential oil - Rosemary leaf extract - Vitamin C - Epsom salts - Argan oil - Pomegranate extracts - Red algea...Apply in small amounts at regular intervals
Alternatively, you could purchase one of the following sunscreens:
Badger All Natural Sunscreens - Tropical Sands - Beauty By Earth - Kiss My Face - Suntegrity Skincare... Apply in small amounts at regular intervals
——> THE TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE <——
~ Expose yourself to more red light with a red light device like JOOVV at night as well as some real organic sunshine in the morning.
~ Go for an IR sauna session once or twice a week at the end of your day.
~ Spend more time outside & protect your eyes and skin from artificial blue light and intense UV between noon and 2pm
I'd love to know what's your relationship with artificial light like... let me know in the comments. Do you expose your eyes and skin to the sunshine all year round? Do you already have a red light device? Use the IR sauna or make your own sunscreen? Post below!
Keep me tuned and stay tuned.