Light diffusing technology to mask visible signs of skin aging

By Ameann DeJohn

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Optics, Light

A fast emerging ingredient industry trend is light diffusing and light altering technologies that aim to enhance the masking effect seen in many skin care and make-up products.

These revolutionary diffusing ingredients utilize light alteration to redirect and reduce reflected light, a technology that is often referred to as 'optical modifiers'.

According to Nick Morante, president of Nick Morante Cosmetic Consultants, “These products utilizing light diffusion are designed to hide the visual signs of aging by using optical and not chemical means. Terms such as soft focus can be used to explain this effect.”

Moreover, he explains that, “by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles they are making the same exact claims as treatment anti-aging products.”

Hiding unwanted lines and wrinkles

The true benefit of this technology is that it does not rely on complete, unnatural looking coverage in order for the product to work effectively. Instead, this technology absorbs, scatters and diffuses light to hide unwanted visual flaws such as fine lines and wrinkles. These products are transparent or translucent but can have a tinted mass tone.

JGC Catalysts and Chemical of Japan, has optimized the ratio of minerals in their Coverleaf products to produce compounds that have an ideal combination of transmittance, spectral and diffuse reflection, leading the eye to perceive a flawless skin.


Ingredients distort the way light is reflected Mary Krenn Phillips, marketing manager of color cosmetics at ingredients company Presperse, states:

“Coverleaf is a composite of layered minerals, each having a varied thickness and refractive index. The variation in mineral properties is necessary to confuse or 'trick' the eye through spectral reflection, diffuse reflection, and transmittance. Each mineral has a different degree of reflection and transmittance such that when combined, produces a more superior result than using each alone.”

Filtering light to the skin

Light diffusing ingredients act as a filter to the skin. These light filters alter the way it appears to the naked eye, much like diffusion filters are used on cameras to soften both lighting and blemishes. Consumers wishing for younger looking, more flawless skin gravitate to these products to give the perception of youth.

These products distort the way light is reflected and transmitted to reduce the signs of aging such as uneven skin tone, redness, and wrinkles, giving the impression of a clearer complexion to the human eye. 

All of these effects can be measured using a spectrophotometer, a device that measures these light-diffusing ingredients, working in very much the same way as our eyes, in turn giving a valid means of measuring the anti-aging effects of this technology.

The bottom line is that the most beneficial anti-aging color cosmetic products may now contain light altering or light diffusing ingredients targeting immediate benefits as well as active ingredients for the long-term benefits, in turn allowing the product to make valid claims that can be substantiated.

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