We know UVA and UVB sun rays cause damage to the skin. But what is not so well known is the importance of protecting against High Energy Visible Light (HEVL).
What is HEVL?
High Energy Visible Light (HEVL) is a third band of sun ray. It causes some of the same damage to skin as UVA and UVB.
The sunlight spectrum consists of UV, visible and infrared light. Visible light accounts for 50% of the sunlight spectrum and, as the name suggests, it’s the only part of light that can be detected by the human eye (UV and Infrared Light are both invisible).
The blue/violet band of this visible spectrum has a particularly high energy level and is known as HEVL
HEVL and UV rays affect the skin differently
While UVB rays penetrate the outermost layers of skin HEVL, like UVA rays, penetrates into the lower layers of skin:
- UVB rays are responsible for sun burn, where as HEVL has not been associated with sunburn.
- UVB rays and, to a lesser extent, UVA rays have been linked to DNA damage which can cause skin cancer. HEVL is not associated with skin cancer.
- Both UVA rays and HEVL can cause skin to age prematurely.
- UVA rays are the primary cause of sun allergies
- UVA, UVB and HEVL can cause changes in the pigment colour of the skin may contribute to age spots
There is growing awareness of the negative effects of HEVL among skin care experts and the beauty industry due to a growing bank of new scientific evidence that suggests that HEVL is harmful to skin.
HEVL has been shown to generate the same amount of oxidative stress as those produced by UVA and UVB. It also can also significantly contribute to the premature ageing of skin.
Currently HEVL is mostly not protected against in most modern sun protection skincare products, although there are now some sun care products with new ingredients that specifically protect against HEVL as well as UVA and UVB.
Facts about the Harmful Effects of HEVL.
- HEVL is responsible for 50% of the oxidative stress from sun exposure which is equal to the amount generated by UVA (46%) and UVB (4%) combined
- HEVL promotes indirect DNA damage from the oxidative stress.
- It activates matrix metalloproteinases (MMP’s) that lead to wrinkle formation and premature aging
- May cause uneven skin pigmentation
- May cause photo-sensitivity disorder
- Reduced barrier function and increased skin fragility
Due to the relatively recent discovery of the damaging effects of HEVL, the race has been on to develop an ingredient suitable for use in skin care and sun protection products that protects the skin from this new threat. However one such ingredient is called Liposhield™HEV, which has been very recently developed and is one of the first of its kind to be to specifically protect skin against harmful HEVL rays.
Liposhield™HEV is a synthetic melanin made from a vegetable derived tyrosine (a naturally occurring amino acid that is a precursor for melanin production in the skin) which is designed specifically to absorb HEVL rays.
Liposhield™HEV is the latest innovative ingredient that can be added to new sun protection skincare products to give total spectrum sun protection instead of the typical duel spectrum protection offered by most standard sun creams.