Unilever science exec: Educating consumers on blue light exposure ‘is our responsibility’

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

According to Unilever, 60% of people now spend more than six hours a day in front of a digital device but the majority don't understand the effect blue light exposure can have on health and wellbeing (Getty Images)
According to Unilever, 60% of people now spend more than six hours a day in front of a digital device but the majority don't understand the effect blue light exposure can have on health and wellbeing (Getty Images)

Related tags: Unilever, blue light, blue light protection, protective beauty, Antioxidant, Zinc oxide, Skin care, Skin health

Blue light exposure has risen in importance as consumers spend more time on laptops and mobile phones during COVID-19 lockdowns and working-from-home models, and so the beauty industry must ramp-up education on potential risks, says Unilever’s global VP of science and technology.

According to Unilever, 60% of people now spend more than six hours a day in front of a digital device which, when spread across five working days, equated to the same impact on the skin as spending 25 minutes in midday sun without protection. And a consumer study conducted in August by the beauty and personal care major found 65% of consumers were unaware of the effect blue light could have on their skin.

Unilever said it was therefore on a mission to help people ‘beat the screen blues’ by raising awareness of the negative impact blue light has on skin.

More brand education will build awareness on blue light exposure risks

“Blue light is one of many external aggressors which can have a negative impact on the health of our skin,”​ said Samantha Tucker-Samaras, global vice president of science & technology for beauty and personal care at Unilever.

“Consumers mainly interface with companies through the individual brands they use, so as much education that we can do through brands working to provide blue light protection, the better,”​ Tucker-Samaras told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

This was particularly relevant now, given screen time had risen amid worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns, coupled with the fact people were “simply unaware of the risks”​ associated with blue light exposure, she said.

“We feel that it is our responsibility, as one of the biggest beauty and personal care businesses in the world, to ensure our consumers are aware of the negative impact blue light can have on health and wellbeing, and give them the knowledge to mitigate the potential risks,”​ she said.

Unilever was doing this via the social media channels of its brands that had products designed to help mitigate the effect of blue light exposure, she said, including Simple with its recently launched Protect ‘n’ Glow moisturiser, Dermalogica with its Phyiscal Defense cream and Murad City Skin and Age Defense products.

Skin care formulated with antioxidants, zinc oxide and niacinamide

From a formulation standpoint, Tucker-Samaras said Unilever worked with “the best ingredients required to help combat skin aggressors”.

In the case of blue light, she said, it therefore worked with ingredients such as vitamin C and vitamin B6 antioxidants to protect and recover skin cells from blue-light-induced oxidative stress and damage; zinc oxide to create a protective barrier on the skin; and niacinamide to restore skin surface cells from blue-light-induced oxidative stress and provided strong protection against blue light skin damage.

“Unilever’s 5,000 experts across the world work to bring science and innovation insights to products which benefit people’s health and wellbeing, and we have a duty to let people know how best to protect themselves from the impact of blue light exposure,”​ Tucker-Samaras said.

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