Do Clear Glasses Frames Turn Yellow?

In most cases, clear glasses frames turn yellow after two to four years. Especially the glasses frames made out of acetate are prone to a slight yellow tint after they aged a little. This happens due to a detachment of plasticizers from the frame which happens over time. It makes the frame not only turn yellow but also a bit more brittle.

Depending on what type of frame material you choose those points will influence how fast your clear glasses frames will turn yellow.

  • UV light
  • The sweat of your skin
  • Cosmetics

As you can see the points influencing how fast your clear glasses frames turn yellow are very different from person to person. As a master optician, I can say most people using cosmetics will have a faster color change.

This happens due to the reaction of the frame with the ingredients of the cosmetics. Oftentimes your glasses frames turning yellow is only the first step before they turn brown. Of course, they do not change the color all over, the glasses frames show the color usually in the spots where they sit on your skin.

In most cases, people want those glasses frames anyway. Let us face it they are an accessory and they will be replaced after a few years probably because you need a new prescription or you want to have something new.

So the next question would be how you could prevent your clear glasses frames to turn yellow and what influence does it have what materials you choose. Because all I mentioned until now was acetate because most frames are made out of this material but they are a couple more so read on for more useful information.

How Do You Prevent Your Clear Glasses to Turn Yellow?

As I said before the components influencing the time until your frame will turn yellow are influenced by the sweat of your skin. While most people have a less aggressive sweat and no problem wearing them while playing sports some people try not to wear a clear frame during sports.

This way less sweat hits the surface of the frame and the glasses frame stays clear longer. Obviously, a clear glasses frame that has exchangeable nose pads sitting on your nose will have less of a problem. But in a lot of cases, plastic frames do not have nose pads. Then an option would be to mount them on the glasses frame.

Depending on the material of the clear glasses frame this can be possible or not. I would not recommend using those nose pads that need to be glued on the frame. While they prevent the frame from directly sitting on your nose they usually peel off after a few days or weeks which is just a mess.

The next point is cosmetics. I also mentioned the ingredients of your cosmetics play a role in how long it takes until your clear glasses turn yellow. This has a lot to do with preservative agents in the cosmetics you are using. One of the best ways in my opinion is to try to get rid of cosmetics where preservatives are used.

While this is not only better for your skin the frames tend to turn yellow less fast when people using fewer chemicals the glasses frame can interact with. Talking about less if you use a lot of cosmetics the color itself oftentimes is brown so if you use a lot of cosmetics I expect the material of the frame to turn yellow faster.

Think about it if you use a lot of cosmetics the material of the frame can interact the whole day with the components in the cream or in the powder. This is a lot of time for material and it seldom gets cleaned the way it should be.

Most people do not clean their glasses frames thoroughly. This means not only are the components of the cosmetics present on the surface of the material in the daytime you will also have a residue at night time on the surface of the glasses.

It would be great if you could clean your glasses daily with an ultrasonic bath which actually not that big of an investment and rub the surface clean with Kleenex. This way the color stays the same for the longest time.

Which Glasses Frame Materials Do Not Turn Yellow?

Out of my experience, I can say I saw a change in color or deterioration in every clear glasses frame material. However, some of the frame materials will change or turn yellow in more time. I had great experiences with the following materials:

  • Nylon
  • Injection-molded plastics

Depending on the manufactures of the materials they work better as acetate. For clear frosted frames, I can also recommend TR 90 because it has no softening agents and will deteriorate less compared to other materials.

When you can choose between both materials I would go with the nylon ones. They are very durable and I have some frames for years now and they show no signs of turning yellow whatsoever. However, this is true for me in my case. Read the conclusion to get the whole picture here.


Now you know a lot about clear glasses frames and when they turn yellow. All this information is highly dependably on the environment you are in your skin and if or what cosmetics will come into contact with the frame. Although I personally use clear frames while doing sports I personally oftentimes see my glasses frames less turning yellow.

But I am an optician who switches my glasses often and my skin does not seem to produce aggressive sweat. But out of my professional experience, I have customers that I know for a fact will not have the same experience with clear frames I have.

Oftentimes when I see my customer is a heavy user of cosmetics I advise them against clear frames because of the reasons described above. But in some cases, you can not know how the materials will change with the usage over time for an individual person.

So if your wish is to go with clear frames despite them turning yellow. Just buy them I really like how they look. In most cases, it takes two to four years before they show the first signs of turning yellow. So give them a shot.

I hope you found the information you were looking for about glasses.

I wish you a great day.

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