Spreading Clean Beauty

How plant-derived trehalose protects from blue light

Screen time is the scourge of modern times – and even more so during the coronavirus lockdowns. Too much time sitting in front of a screen can cause eye strain, headaches, and disrupt sleeping patterns. But what is screen time doing to our skin? And what ingredients can we use to mitigate the effects? 

But first, let’s consider the blue light concern as a key consumer trend. Right now, 23% of South Korean consumers say that considering the impact of COVID-19, they are worried about too much screen time or time spent online (Mintel, 2020). This concern is not unfounded; like other types of photoaging caused by natural light sources, blue light has been shown to stimulate the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Subsequently, this results in the activation of various intracellular signaling pathways and regulation of gene expression by activating transcription factors, leading to cellular oxidative stress, which, in turn, accelerates aging.

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The industry is responding to consumers’ concerns about blue light. In 2009, there were only two granted patents related to blue light in cosmetics, but now there are 34 granted patents and 38 pending patents globally as of July 2019. But which of these products are the most effective? One of the most compelling propositions is the plant-derived compound trehalose – which Provital scientists found can counteract these technological toxins.

What is trehalose and how can it protect the skin?

Trehalose is a naturally occurring disaccharide comprised of two molecules of glucose. This sugar is widespread in many species of plants and animals, where its function appears to be to protect cellular membranes and labile proteins against damage and denaturation as a result of desiccation and oxidative stress. Simply put, trehalose protects cellular proteins from damage by oxygen radicals.

Provital scientists experimented with the protective capacity of trehalose to develop a new product. This was achieved by performing an oxidative status assessment in both in vivo and in vitro studies of a trehalose-rich active Detoskin™,  a synergistic combination of trehalose and paeoniflorin obtained from a root fraction of peony (Paeonia lactiflora). 

To compare the degree of oxidation in the skin following the application of the active ingredient and a placebo, researchers used beta-carotene. This is a yellowish substance, which loses color when oxidized. Thus, the more ROS accumulated in the skin, the more the beta-carotene is oxidized, losing its color. In the in vivo study conducted on a panel of 32 women aged between 40 and 60 years of age, Detoskin™ markedly reduced ROS – in some, this was by as much as 64% on the 56th day of application.

Detox from tech with the power of nature

Alongside the ROS reduction derived from trehalose, researchers found this active ingredient also suppressed cell senescence. As cells age, they synthesize less collagen, a key component that maintains the whole skin’s infrastructure, and therefore, is essential to maintaining suppleness, elasticity, and firmness. 

At the same time, the transcription factors activated by ROS are regulated by mitogen‐activated protein kinases (MAPKs), which increase MMP expression.  MMP-1 is an enzyme that destroys collagen. So both collagen and increased MMP-1 are hallmarks of skin aging. After an MMP-1 in vitro assessment, Provital’s scientific researchers found that not only did Detoskin™ reduce ROS, but it also prevented the increase of MMP-1 by 92%.

In light of this dual action, Detoskin™ is an active ingredient that immediately answers consumers’ concerns about blue light-related photoaging. With a naturally-derived ingredient that simultaneously detoxifies and protects, beauty brands can provide a product that combats technological damage with a natural solution. As 40% of American adults are interested in investing in a blue light protecting product (Mintel, 2020), this is an opportunity not to be missed.

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