Spreading Clean Beauty

Blue light skin care: countering the digital overdose

At a time when screen time and blue light exposure continues expanding, blue light skin care arises to help counter the harmful effects on skin on the current global digital overdose.

As more and more consumers realize the dangers of excessive screen time (from desynchronized circadian rhythms to accelerated skin ageing), cosmetic brands can tap into the potential of the new niche of blue light skin care. 

This intersects with other powerful trends in the beauty and self-care market, such as the rise of extremely well-informed consumers that are also particularly conscious about health. This consumer profile thoroughly researches every aspect of cosmetics in search of benefits from a holistic point of view and targeting their current health concerns. 

In a world where concepts like “digital detox” are getting more and more attention, blue light protection skin care has the potential to become the next big trend in cosmetics. 

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What is the digital overdose and what are people doing to respond?

The digital overdose refers to the increased screen time and digital interactions that the average citizen experiences today. From work to leisure, screens are everywhere and with them comes the much dreaded blue light.

In fact, the average screen time has increased by at least an hour since 2013 and now amounts to a standard of almost 7 daily hours. In the USA, 50% of residents are said to spend a majority of their time every day in front of a screen, according to figures published in Statista, while screen time in France among young adults reaches an average of five hours and 33 minutes.

This has led to a reaction by both scientists, public authorities and citizens, as the disadvantages of blue light exposure are more and more understood, including:

  • The effect of blue light on circadian rhythms: blue light emitted by electronic devices at night can disrupt natural sleep-wake molecular cycles, thus leading to poor sleep quality and having an impact on overall health.
  • Skin care: blue light skin care acknowledges the fact that this type of light can penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB and UVA rays and the increasing concern about its potential impact on the skin. In fact, blue light has been linked to oxidative stress and damage to skin cells, leading to premature ageing. It has also been associated with increased production of melanin, leading to hyperpigmentation.

Recognizing these risks, there’s a growing number of citizens taking action to avoid blue light exposure as much as possible. For instance, 33% of adults in the UK actively seek ways of disconnecting from their phones throughout the day, according to a report by Mintel Group in 2021. 

This goes hand in hand with a desire to counter sleep issues and anxiety and stress (often linked to screen time) by disconnecting from digital technologies (“digital detox”) and reconnecting with the body’s natural rhythms. For instance, 59% of adults in Brazil show interest in formulas helping them sleep and relax.

These trends and movements open the door for innovative blue light skin care treatments which target consumers’ demands for protection and wellbeing regarding blue light exposure.

Blue light skin care: the quest to reach ‘midnight bliss’

As the demand for blue light skin care grows, there’s now an opportunity for cosmetic leaders to target blue light protection claims in new beauty and self-care formulas. For instance, just 2% of solar protection product launches in Europe in the year before May 2020 mentioned protection against blue light. While this percentage grows every year, there’s a gap that innovative formulations can fill, while also attending to other key trends in cosmetic science.

This is where Circanblue™ comes in. As part of Provital’s continued research for innovative, natural cosmetic ingredients, we’ve developed a biotechnological vegan solution that helps regulate circadian clocks and counter skin ageing induced by blue light. 

Through Circanblue™, it’s possible to induce an epidermal resynchronisation for skin well-ageing, effectively countering the disruption of the biological rhythm caused by excessive blue light exposure.

This active has shown efficacy on human keratinocytes for resynchronizing the circadian rhythm of 2 key genes (CLOCK and CRY1) after their expression rhythm was desynchronized by blue light exposure.

It has also shown efficacy for activating a circadian detox, significantly increasing the natural detoxifying ability of skin cells. Additionally, it’s shown melatonin-like in vitro efficacy, increasing the expression of the skin melatonin receptor MTR1 and providing a powerful chrono-protective effect that targets skin well-being from a holistic point of view. 

At the same time, its vegan and probiotic origin (it’s a lab-grown ingredient derived from the lysate of a plant-based fermentation of the probiotic bacterium Lactococcus lactis) provides an additional opportunity to join emerging probiotic claims. Yet another route to align with consumers seeking healthy, natural beauty.

All in all, Circanblue™ generates a “good-night” circadian repair for the skin. As such, the ingredient represents a strategic opportunity for brands looking to innovate and stand out in the trendy blue light skin care movement through a disruptive technical solution. 

Our ‘Midnight Bliss’ formula (containing a 2% of Circanblue™) thus goes a step further in night skincare routine: a pleasant, soft, gentle, airy yet nutritive balm texture that ensures a chronoprotective effect thanks to its postbiotic main active. Acting like a melatonin supplement, it triggers the main restorative skin processes related to circadian cycles, particularly those affected by the digital overdose, while also adding a relaxing skin feel and a sleep-inducing neroli fragrance, among other beneficial plant-based ingredients.

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