The concept of digital ageing is becoming increasingly more common, and users are no longer only worried about protecting against solar radiation – they are now beginning to worry about the radiation from the technology they use on a daily basis.

We know that sunlight contains visible light rays and invisible light rays. The visible light emitted by the sun is made up of a series of different-coloured light rays: red, orange, yellow, green and blue. The invisible light consists of a broad spectrum that ranges from ultraviolet rays (UVA, UVB and UVC) to infrared rays (IR).

Our body uses the visible light from the sun to regulate our natural sleep cycles, which are essential to our health. Meanwhile, the invisible light, specifically ultraviolet rays, is used to treat skin conditions such as vitiligo and psoriasis.

Within visible light, there is a spectrum known as blue light (HEV – High-Energy Visible radiation), which we have begun to discover more about in recent years. We already know that there is natural blue light, which comes from the sun, and artificial blue light, which is emitted by electronic devices such as mobile phones, computers and LED lights.

Mobile phones and tablets have become the most effective and widely used communication tools nowadays. Exposure of the general population to radiofrequency (RF) fields from mobile phones and other communication tools has become universal and has continued to grow in recent years.

The skin has natural defence mechanisms to absorb and neutralise this radiation, but excessive exposure can be too much for these defences.

The negative effects of UV, HEV and WiFi radiation on the skin

The skin needs to protect itself from various types of radiation such as UV, HEV and WiFi, which can cause an increasingly worrying harmful effect. These initially generate ROS, followed by a deterioration in proteins, DNA and lipids at the cellular level, which leads to subsequent weakening of the skin barrier and, eventually, to premature ageing of the skin.

Blue light (HEV)

Specifically, the blue light (HEV) emitted by mobile phones, computers and tablets has an effect on the appearance of marks and accelerates photoageing of the skin. Blue light is a stressor that releases cortisol and damages collagen and elastin production, changes the melanocyte function, and causes a reduction in aquaporins, which are the molecules responsible for maintaining the skin’s moisture levels.

The mechanism is very similar to that caused by UVA rays. There is also clear evidence that blue light can cause oxidative stress in the skin’s cells. It has recently been demonstrated that a molecule known as opsin 3 is involved in this process.

Overexposure to HEV can cause flare-ups of acne, more wrinkles, more sagging and, above all, can promote hyperpigmentation and the appearance of marks (melasmas) in the most exposed areas, such as the chin and the cheeks. The interesting thing about the marks caused by blue light is that they occur almost exclusively in individuals with phototypes of III and over.

How cosmetics can help

Cosmetics provide a broad spectrum of protection formulas that act as a shield against this. In terms of solar protection, this means including filters against UVA, UVB, IR (infrared) and HEV (blue light) radiation.

Cosmetics that include advanced photoprotective technology in their formulation not only protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays, like the usual protective cosmetics, but they also protect it from HEV, UVB and IR radiation. This is achieved with highly antioxidant active ingredients.

These new cosmetics are also prepared to counteract all the damage caused to our skin by HEV, and considerably reduce the risk of marks appearing from excessive exposure of the skin to the radiation emitted by various mobile devices.

The Neftis Laboratorios proposal

Serum and cream with highly antioxidant active ingredients such as natural carotenoids. These activate various cellular pathways, performing a double function: defending the skin against the effects of oxygen free radicals (ROS) and strengthening the skin barrier, preventing lipid peroxidation.

Esperança Figuerola
R&D Manager at Neftis Laboratorios