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Blue light and anti-pollution skin care: where the trend is heading

By Lucy Whitehouse + , 04-Jul-2017

Blue light and anti-pollution skin care: where the trend is heading

With everyone from ingredients manufacturers to finish product formulators keeping an eye on the blue light trend in skin care, we shine a spotlight on the trend.

Maria Coronado, analyst with market research provider Euromonitor International, shares her expert insights into the trend.

“This year anti-pollution claims have been at the centre of the beauty industry radar,” she confirms. “While trendy, anti-pollution claims might be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fighting premature skin ageing, recent findings suggest that environmental skin damage goes far beyond the effects of UV and pollution.”

Why is there an appetite for blue light skin care?

With consumers more connected to digital devices than ever before, Coronado believes this is provoking a sense of anxiety over some of the effects this can have. One of these areas of concern is skin damage.

“Unfortunately, being constantly connected has also a price to pay,” the analyst asserts. “Blue light from digital devices generates free radicals causing oxidative stress and accelerating skin ageing, with hyperpigmentation as the most visible effect, especially in darker skin types.

Coronado notes here is much still to be researched in this field, with many unknowns relaed to the extent of skin damage caused by different types of pollution and its long-term effects.

However, as consumers begin to demand solutions, the industry is moving to meet it.

Industry responding to the demand

On an ingredient level, Coronado explains that much work is being done to develop novel ingredients and adapt formulations.

“For instance,  Lipo Chemicals has developed a novel, patent-pending compound, Liposheild® HEV Melanin,  that acts as an “umbrella” to shield the skin from HEV light, Greenetech is marketing Soliberine which claims to protect the skin against all types of light radiation and DSM Personal Care is fighting blue light with the combination of different ingredients, PARSOL® Max to block blue light, selective vitamins like Niacinamide PC to counteract oxidative stress and a new microalgae bioactive (PEPHA®-AGE) which stimulates skin’s own defense,” she says.

Beauty companies are also taking note, she notes, saying they are now “marketing products promising to shield the skin from light and air pollution.”

Lancaster, for example, has patented the full light protection technology that protects against visible light, infrared and UV rays.

Botanics - the future?

According to Coronado, botanics are likely to replace synthetic shielding materials as the trend progresses.

“Although inorganic sunscreen such as ZnO and TiO2 can offer some light protection depending on their particle size, botanical ingredients with antioxidant and shielding properties are expected to benefit from the trends toward full protection, especially in emerging markets where multicultural consumers are likely to be more concerned about blue light-induced pigmentation.”

Marketing or meaningful?

Coronado concludes by noting that where the trend is ultimately destined is not yet clear.

“With the increasing dependence on technology, pollution hitting critical levels and the increasing consumer’s awareness of the effects of environmental stressors on skin health and appearance, it is sensible to say that full environmental protection ingredients and product claims are likely to rise in the market over the next few years,” she predicts.

“Whether this is a marketing strategy or the new anti-ageing flagship still remains to be seen.”

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