Taking total protection into the blue

Is it enough to protect our skin against sunlight only? Not any more: new research shows blue light from our electronic devices can have adverse effects on skin that are similar to sun damage. Blue light is a colour in the visible light spectrum that can be seen by the human eye and is responsible for the blue of the sky. It is adjacent to ultraviolet in the spectrum of sunlight, high energy, and has a wavelength ranging from 400 to 500 nm. In recent years, blue light has come indoors, where it is emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and TV screens.

 Why is this a concern?
Very few UV filters currently extend protection into the blue light range. However, there is already strong evidence that concentrated light of this wavelength has adverse effects on health. Its effects on the eyes are well documented. But does it affect our skin?

For many years, scientists underestimated the damage done to our skin by UVA rays. DSM says that the company strongly believes we should learn from the past, so its scientists have already begun to look closely at blue light and its activity in skin.

Using light sources that excluded UV rays, DSM’s scientists were able to show that blue light has the potential to damage all skin layers. Blue light induces oxidative stress in the skin through the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS). Oxidative stress triggers various adverse biological effects, including weakening of the epidermal barrier, hyperpigmentation, and damage to the extracellular matrix leading to accelerated ageing.

At a deeper level, oxidative stress caused by blue light has been shown to trigger a process known as protein carbonylation. Carbonylated proteins in the skin lose their ability to function properly.

What are consumers saying?
Initial reports in the media are alerting consumers to the potential risks attached to blue light, whether it comes from the sun or electronic devices. However, a recent report from Mintel emphasizes that today’s consumers are looking for ways to reduce the steps in their beauty regimen. So any new element of protection must be part of a total protection package that reduces rather than increases the demands on their time. 

Taking total protection into the blue
With this in mind, scientists in DSM’s Sun and Skin Care segments dedicated themselves to finding solutions which would meet all the requirements of consumers for appealing, integrated total protection, and extend this protection into the blue range.

The result is two effective formulations based on cutting edge technology: UV filter(s) such as the newly introduced PARSOL Max which extends UV protection in the blue wavelength range, selected vitamins such as Niacinamide PC counteract oxidative stress, and a new microalgal bioactive called PEPHA-AGE stimulates skin’s own defence – all backed by strong claim substantiation.

Does this necessitate an additional claim or seal relating to BPF, to provide greater transparency for consumers? DSM believe the question is worth debating.


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