Blue light and free radical damage to the skin

Have you ever imagined how often during the day you look at your mobile device, work at your computer and watch TV? On average, an active, modern social person looks at a mobile phone screen about 150 times. Each of these devices emits blue light that penetrates deep into the skin, permanently damaging it and promoting aging. The damage to the skin is devastating – collagen and extracellular matrix are degraded, which results in deep wrinkles, the skin becomes dry and dehydrated, its elasticity is lost, and the biological functions of the skin – barrier function, receptor functions, thermoregulatory and aesthetic functions – weaken.
We know very well the damage to the skin caused by UV radiation and try to protect it by using SPF protective filters, but do we protect the skin from blue light!?
What is blue light or HEF and how does it harm the skin?
HEF is high-energy visible light, also called blue light, whose wavelength is between 400 and 500 nm and the damage caused by blue light is similar to that caused by UVA radiation. Blue light triggers biochemical processes in the skin known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance in the skin between the total amount of free radicals and antioxidants – the result is the accumulation of free radicals, which changes cellular DNA and can cause serious changes in skin quality, and even the development of diseases. Blue light increases the skin’s sensitivity to hyperpigmentation through oxidative stress, resulting in pigment spots. It is important to remember that blue light can penetrate (act) deeper into the skin, and dermis and cause longer and stronger damage to the skin.
Oxidative stress is caused by blue light and its effect on skin quality and aesthetic function.  Oxidative stress affects collagen biosynthesis by involving matrix metalloproteinases that degrade collagen. In addition, small fragments of collagen block the synthesis of new collagen. It is an essential component of the skin aging process. Premature skin aging is associated with structural changes in the skin:- skin becomes thinner;- functional skin condition weakens;- the skin is unable to perform its normal, biological functions, i.e., barrier function, immune function, receptor function, and thermoregulatory function. Basically, free radicals or reactive oxygen species are xenobiotic degradation products and metabolites. Xenobiotics include medicines, cosmetics, chemicals, synthetic vitamins, and dietary components. Latent inflammation caused by free radicals due to blue light accumulates inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1 and IL-6, as well as activates matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), which directly damage the skin’s collagen fibres and weaken the skin’s tone. The skin has its own antioxidant system that helps to fight oxidative stress and existing free radicals, mainly glutathione and carotenoids. Because we often use devices that emit blue light (mobile phones, tablets, computers), as well as there are many additional external factors, such as UV light, polluted external environment and air, the skin is rapidly depleting its endogenous resources, and we need extra protection. Melanocytes in cutaneous epidermal cells form pigment accumulation, which is provoked by blue light. This pigmentation can be divided into two types: early grey pigments, which are slightly greyish and form immediately after exposure to blue light, and deep (late) pigment accumulation, which occurs after prolonged exposure for weeks.
Photodamaged skin is characterized not only by skin depigmentation, dark and light skin patches, and uneven skin tone but also by changes in skin quality – the skin becomes dry and dehydrated, wrinkles appear, and its elasticity is lost.  The topicality of the problem of blue light and photoaging is related to the fact that the functional condition of the skin deteriorates – the biological functions of the skin – barrier function, receptor functions, thermoregulatory and aesthetic functions – weaken. Clinical signs of photoaging include dry skin, decreased skin elasticity, the appearance of wrinkles and creases, skin peeling, skin discoloration, and pigmentation disorders.
Signs of photoaging:- “Age” spots or pigmented areas on the skin caused by an increased number of pigment cells (melanocytes) in the epidermis as a result of UV radiation;- Deep wrinkles on the skin;- Yellowing of the skin;- Thickened skin;- Appearance of blood capillaries on the skin;- Dryness and desquamation.   Protecting your skin from blue light is very important. Special products protect the skin from the aggressive effects of blue light and reduce the risks of hyperpigmentation, melasma, and photoaging. 
Skin and circadian rhythm is important to note that the skin lives in its own circadian rhythm, which is in sync with our body and the environmental circadian rhythms. This means that if we use devices that actively emit blue light in the evenings and at night, these circadian rhythms of the skin are desynchronized. The skin is at increased risk of diseases and chronic inflammation, including dermatitis, psoriasis, future acute photoreactions, and skin malignancies. The skin under the blue light exposure considers that it is day and loses the ability to biologically regenerate, which must be physiologically happening at night. In this way, the skin does not “repair” the damage caused during the day.
HOW DOES BLUE LIGHT DAMAGE YOUR SKIN?- Accumulation of free radicals in the skin;- Increased oxidative stress;- Damages DNA in cells;- Reduces collagen synthesis and increases its degradation;- Accelerates skin aging;- Increases the risks of hyperpigmentation;- Stimulates latent inflammation of the skin;- Increases the risk of skin diseases;- Reduces skin immunity.
How to protect the skin from Blue Light? Local or topical protection is a must-have and very important when working with a computer for a longer time or if you use your phone often. Protecting your skin from blue light should be part of your daily skincare routine.- UV filters can also help in the fight against blue light, including titanium dioxide and iron oxide which are considered the gold standard for protection against blue light.- Niacinamide or vitamin B3 – can reduce the risk of hyperpigmnetis and strengthen the immune system.- It is important to check the antioxidants in your cream or day protection fluid, which not only protect against skin damage caused by oxidative stress but also help the skin to regenerate and perform its basic functions effectively. One such antioxidant is vitamin E, which serves as a strong free radical scavenger.
Hypersensitive skin, such as problematic and skin with rosacea, melasma patients, skin prone to hyperpigmentation should be treated with special attention. In such cases, you should definitely have UVB/UVA radiation filters in your cream and fluid formulations, but also get sure that it protects and strengthens the skin in the fight against the blue light spectrum (HEF).
MARENCE has created a blue light protection fluid that helps protect the skin from the negative effects of blue light. The active ingredient – Carotolino (containing carotenoids) – acts as a shield and effectively protects the facial skin from premature aging, as well as reduces the oxidative stress of the skin and gives it a healthy and radiant complexion. Beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, and K and goji berry extract act as powerful antioxidants and the skin is effectively protected from free radicals. MARENCE’s specially developed Freshwater Green Mud Extract enriches the skin with micro and macro elements, amino acids, and vitamins. Avocado oil and Shea butter moisturize, soften, and improve skin elasticity. Wild carrot seed oil and carrot root extract give the skin a healthy and radiant tone. Among the active ingredients with proven effectiveness in relieving oxidative stress in skin cells caused by blue radiation is a complex of oils and natural extracts:
– Wild carrot seed oil – the oil contains beta-carotene and vitamin A, which help prevent and reduce the signs of aging, as well as vitamins E and K, phytosterols. This ingredient has strong antioxidant properties and promotes skin regeneration and deep rejuvenation of skin cells.- Carrot root extract – is a plant ingredient with antioxidant and conditioning properties. Carrot root extract is obtained by soaking carrots in sunflower or olive oil, which pulls out and dissolves the soluble components. The extract is rich in beta-carotene (provitamin A) and contains several antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin E.- Beta carotene. There are hundreds of carotenoids, including lycopene and lutein. When applied topically, beta-carotene is one of the strongest antioxidants.- Sunflower seed oil, which contains an average of 60% linoleic acid, helps to regenerate, strengthen, and soothe the skin. This oil also contains other valuable fatty acids needed for radiant skin, including oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearin, and small amounts of omega-3 linolenic acid.- Goji berry extract – a well-known antioxidant, softens the skin.
The article was written by Dr. Jana Janovska Dermatologist, Preventive Medicine Specialist. Veselibas Centrs-4; Anti-Aging Institute; Capital Clinic Riga; Dermatology Clinic, lecturer at RSU. Regular publications in largest Latvian magazines.  • In 2011, she graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Latvia, obtaining a doctor’s qualification• In 2014 – the Medical Faculty of the University of Latvia, obtaining the qualification of a dermatovenerologist• In 2015 – doctoral studies at Riga Stradins University• 2015 – Obtained a certificate in Luxembourg for genetic analysis, testing and interpretation of genetic mutations• Mastered preventive and anti-aging medicine in Paris for 6 years in a row• During 8 years – guest lecturer at the World and European Congress of Anti-Aging and Plastic Surgeons in Monaco or Paris with scientific research and lectures• Additional studies in dermatology and dermatoscopy in Austria (Graz), France (Toulouse), dermatosurgery in Brussels• President of the Baltic Association for Prevention and Aging• Member of the World Society of Interdisciplinary of Anti-Aging Medicine• Member of the European Academy of Dermatovenerology• Riga Stradins University lecturer, researcher.