The new sunscreen ingredient you need to know about
-Jan 4, Caroline Blight, Health -
January is the month when the most amount of winter sun holidays are booked so if you’re packing for sunny climes, we’ve taken a closer look at sun protection and the new ingredient that we all need to be aware of. It’s worth remembering that even if it’s overcast outside, you should never skip sunscreen.
You may feel you know your way around your UVA and UVB protection when it comes to choosing a comprehensive sunscreen. But in the future it’s likely you will also be checking it’s HEVL protection too as we start to understand more about how this particular ray from the sun can affect the way in which our skin ages and cause wrinkles and ‘sun spots’ as well as sagging.
High Energy Visible Light (HEVL) is another type of ray, like UVA and B which is emitted by the sun. “HEVL stands for High Energy Visible Light and it’s the part of sunlight we see in a rainbow as blue, indigo and violet,” explains Dr Barbara Brockway, a biochemist with a specialty in skin.
Although HEVL is a less known ray, it’s important as it causes as much damage as UVA and UVB combined at any given time. It actually penetrates deeper into your hypodermis than ultraviolet rays.
What damage can it do?
When it comes to keeping your youthful looks you need to know about HEVL. It’s been calculated to cause 50% of the oxidative stress from sun exposure – and over time, oxidative stress can leave our cells and tissues unable to function properly. This includes our skin cells being able to reproduce effectively which is what we need to keep our skin in optimum condition.
“There is mounting evidence showing that this region of light causes damage to our skin that could result in the premature appearance of ageing effects such as the appearance of fine lines and the loss of elasticity,” Dr Brockway adds. “HEVL penetrates deep into our skin and generates damaging reactive oxygen species (ROS).” These can then cause significant damage to cell structures.
And the damage doesn’t stop there. “We also see levels of molecules, which degrade and weaken skin, breaking down its structural elements increase, when skin is exposed to HEVL. Some interesting work, which looked closely at the way skin cells behave when irradiated with HEVL, showed changes that are associated with uneven pigmentation and increased pigmentation” The changes also make our skin a poorer barrier than it could be and this means our skin is no longer able to protect us from other environmental damage and also won’t look clear and fresh.
If you find that you’re using a broad-spectrum, five-star SPF50 product every day and still having problems with skin darkening HEV could explains why. HEV light exposure can lead to inflammation, impaired healing, dryness, wrinkles, and sagging skin too so it’s worth protecting your skin from it when you are out in the sun.
How can I protect myself?
It’s a good idea to use daily care products that include ingredients that block HEV light. Remember a HEV light blocker is different from an SPF ingredient as a SPF only protect against UVA and B rays. HEVL blocking products are increasingly being added to skin and sun creams, for example HEVL SPF50 Face Crèmeby Skin Shopoffers 3-spectrum protection against UVA, UVB and HEVL. Look for ingredients such as melanin, topical lutein, and Liposhield HEV Melanin in skin care products as these are all able to block the rays. Liposhield HEV is a large molecule, which stays on skin’s surface and soaks up the HEVL before it can penetrate into skin and cause harm, it’s similar to skin’s melanin but it is much more efficient at absorbing HEVL.
It’s also worth looking our for sunglasses which protect against HEVL as this will help block the rays from the delicate skin around your eyes where fine lines and wrinkles can often appear.