Our skin is the biggest organ of the human body. One of its main functions is to protect us from drying out or suffering from harmful environmental effects. This protective function must be looked after so that it can perform optimally. Protecting our skin from the sun has become as routine to many people. But it’s not only ultraviolet rays from the sun that pose a risk to skin health. Another source of harm is the blue light that is radiated principally by the displays of smartphones, laptops, and televisions. Blue light penetrates deeply into tissue and can cause irreparable damage there. The result is accelerated aging of the skin.
WHAT IS BLUE LIGHT?
The relatively short wavelengths of blue light, which is known as High-Energy Visible Light or HEV radiation, penetrate deeper levels of the skin than ultraviolet light. Inside the cells, this leads to the formation of free radicals, which destroy DNA. The visible indications of this effect include sallow skin, wrinkles, pigment spots, and other signs of premature aging. HEV light can also weaken or destroy the skin’s natural protective barrier, and that enables hazardous substances to penetrate the body more easily. Blue light also attacks important connective tissue fibers made of elastin and collagen, which are responsible for maintaining the tautness and elasticity of the skin. In extreme cases, this kind of destruction can become visible. Experts call this effect “screen face.” All of these effects are summed up in the concept of digital aging.
PREVENTING SKIN DAMAGE
For modern people, the use of electronic displays is inevitable, while fresh and glowing skin is an important element of today’s ideal of beauty. It thus becomes an application area for cosmetics that is steadily gaining in importance.
To protect the skin from damage due to blue light and support its regeneration, the Care Solutions Business Line has developed the biomimetic—i.e. skin-like—tetrapeptide TEGO® Pep UP. Peptides consist of single amino acids that are strung together like a bead necklace. Skin-like peptides are considered especially active and effective anti-aging ingredients. That’s why researchers from Evonik have investigated the amino acid sequences of various components of connective tissue. As a result, they were able to deduce the peptide sequence of TEGO® Pep UP from the amino acid sequence of connective tissue proteins such as collagen and elastin. In addition, TEGO® Pep UP can not only prevent damage to the skin but also support the regeneration of the affected areas.
Studies with test subjects have shown that the use of TEGO® Pep UP helps to reduce the depth of wrinkles and tighten up facial contours. The product’s anti-aging effect on the cells of wrinkled skin around the eyes could be demonstrated by using a specific device that measures the contractile activity of connective tissue cells (fibroblasts). The investigations show that TEGO® Pep UP significantly improves the contractile force of fibroblasts and has both protective and regenerative effects on damage caused by blue light.
The global market for peptides is growing. Evonik’s tetrapeptide is still relatively new on the market, but the demand for it is already growing steadily.
At the beginning of 2020, Evonik signed a contract for the acquisition of Wilshire Technologies (WTI), a company that offers plant-based cosmetic active ingredients that contain no substances of animal origin. The varied portfolio of WTI includes peptides. Therefore, the analysis of these peptide sequences will be part of the integration process and will enable Evonik to further develop products in line with the needs of the market.