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Is your sunscreen really protecting your skin from the harmful effects of blue light?

Some products claim to offer blue light protection of more than 100 per cent. Do they work? Brought to you by Crystal Tomato.

Is your sunscreen really protecting your skin from the harmful effects of blue light?

Blue light from your laptop – and the sun – can lead to skin issues like hyperpigmentation and fine lines. Photo: Shutterstock

For the longest time, UVA and UVB have been dubbed the bad boys on the light spectrum.

After all, they are known to cause premature skin ageing and sunburn, along with all the nasty problems that come with these – think sagging skin and wrinkles.

In recent years, scientists have discovered another harmful type of light that we are exposed to 24/7. High energy visible light, more commonly known as blue light, is a short wavelength that produces high amounts of energy ranging from 380 to 500 nanometres (nm).

Where does blue light come from? Modern-day digital gadgets and devices like TV screens, LED lights, laptops and mobile phones – which is why blue light has also spawned the term “digital ageing”.

But the largest source of blue light is actually the good ol’ sun, which has long been associated with UVA and UVB rays.

WHAT BLUE LIGHT DOES TO YOUR SKIN

Blue light can have many damaging effects on your skin. For starters, it is believed to cause an imbalance between the amount of free radicals and antioxidants in your body. This leads to oxidative stress that can weaken your skin’s surface and make it more vulnerable to a host of issues, including hyperpigmentation, inflammation, a loss of elasticity and an increase in fine lines, wrinkles and sagging.

The double whammy? Blue light penetrates more deeply into skin than UVA and UVB rays do. This means that the more you are exposed to blue light, the faster skin ageing takes place – if you do nothing to protect your skin.

In the skincare market, there has been an increasing raft of products that claim to address issues caused by blue light exposure. Most of these products are sunscreens for obvious reasons. But not all of them are created equal. 

NOT ALL BLUE LIGHT PROTECTION SKINCARE IS THE SAME

Dr Alain Khaiat, a scientist with 40 years of experience in the cosmetics industry, cautioned against products that promise exceedingly high levels of blue light protection.

“Some products report up to 200 per cent blue light protection, but when you take a closer look at the fine print, it’s measured against bare skin or the skin’s natural melanin,” he said. Such comparisons are not meaningful, he explained, because “the melanin in your skin has little protection against blue light”.

In fact, he shared that an independent test done on a product making such claims revealed that its actual blue light protection was no more than 26 per cent – well below the recommended minimum of 35 per cent.

A COMPLETE SUN PROTECTION CREAM

Beyond Sun Protection is a non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic sun protection cream with blue light protection of 54 per cent. Photo: Crystal Tomato

When Singapore-based cosmeceutical brand Crystal Tomato embarked on a five-year quest to create a sunscreen that would offer effective blue light as well as UVA and UVB protection, it conducted stringent in-vitro and in-vivo tests – something that not all companies do.  

The result is a non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic sun protection cream with blue light protection of 54 per cent – the highest scientifically proven level of blue light protection in the market, it says. Called Beyond Sun Protection, the dry-touch cream also absorbs a critical wavelength of 380.6nm and has a UVA protection index of 17+ and a SPF75+ level of protection against UVB.

During in-vitro testing, the product was applied on glass plates where its absorption of light was measured. According to Crystal Tomato, to qualify as a product that offers blue light protection, tests must be done against a blue light critical wavelength of more than 385nm. Also, the product must be able to offer more than 35 per cent of protection against blue light.

Beyond Sun Protection not only met both criteria but went a step further. During in-vivo tests done on 22 volunteers, it was revealed that Beyond Sun Protection was effective in defending skin from blue light-induced pigmentation an hour after exposure to the light source.

Most sun care products with such a high – and multi-pronged – level of protection may leave a thick, greasy sensation on the skin. Not Beyond Sun Protection. Boasting anti-pollution, antioxidant and hydration benefits, the sun protection cream feels lightweight and promises to leave your skin dewy and protected, whether you are indoors or outdoors.

Receive a one-week sample of Beyond Sun Protection while stocks last. For more information, visit crystaltomato.com/bsp

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