Akin to sunscreens, these new and innovative family of topical products aim to protect us from a growing problem associated with the technological world; blue light emitted from smartphones and computers.  Sunscreens with a twist of technology, blue-light filtering cosmetics aim to solve a modern problem with a classic and no doubt simplistic topical approach. Contrasting to the conventional, this trend in blue-light protectants tends to employ botanical ingredients such as antioxidants and natural protectants versus the use of inorganics such as ZnO as a barrier sunscreen. Additionally, with the introduction of these new products poses an interesting hurdle in terms of compliance and regulatory implications. How strictly will cosmetics of this nature be regulated? Only time will tell as more brands (including both Lonza and Croda)  continue to release these ingredients geared to the technologically savvy beauty consumer. As the field of technology continues to grow so will the beauty-oriented field that aims to combat the negative effects of these blue light emitting sources.

What is Blue Light and Where Does it Come From?

The close and seemingly less rebellious cousin of ultraviolet light, blue light teeters on a fine line of ‘cost versus benefit’. Despite the seemingly large public promotion of its negative effects, blue light does in fact possess some benefits. This includes use in light therapy for the enhancement of mental and physical well being.  Sometimes referred to as high-energy visible (HEV) light, blue light is a member of the visible spectrum of light.  You may ask yourself “so, high energy means high risk?” Not necessarily, although with the ability to do more damage to internal systems than other low energy wavelength varieties of light as well as UVA and UVB, blue light carries an undeniably bad reputation. Blue Light comes from a variety of sources, naturally of course a member of white light from the sun and artificially from man-made and electronic sources such as LED light bulbs and cellphone screens. Regardless of its source blue light poses a risk to the health of our skin.

Dangers of Blue Light

Recent studies have shown that exposure to blue light can in fact pose a risk to the health of our skin.  More than just media hype, this growing risk sits right at our finger tips.  Studies have been performed to assess the potential damaging effects of blue light on our skin. One study showed that blue-violet light was seen to produce higher degrees of hyperpigmentation than skin exposed to UVB irradiation. Another study showed that irradiating the skin with blue-violet light can cause the formation of free radicals, which can cause damaging oxidative stress to the skin.  In short, excessive exposure to blue light can cause symptoms of photo-aging such as wrinkles and colour change.

As technology continues to progress and society finds itself face to face with the world at its fingertips, it is imperative to remember that there are consequences. Technology has transformed many parts of everyday life all the way from communication to how we shop, these positive features tend to outweigh the negative so much so that we hardly even think of the consequences. A concern associated with the light emitted from these devices is becoming more and more prevalent, only time will tell on how serious of a concern this exposure may truly be.

For more information, please contact Focal Point Research Inc.  We are leading North American Regulatory and New Product Consultants for Medical DevicesNatural Health ProductsOTC DrugsCosmetics, and other consumer products regulated by Health Canada and the U.S. FDA.