RED HOT. Infrared – the bad guy.

Infrared Radiation (IR) poses a huge threat to the longevity of skin cells and plays a critical role in how fast that the skin ages. The beauty industry is focusing time, research and money into ingredients that help buffer or neutralise damage caused by IR.

Terri Vinson, well respected cosmetic chemist and formulator, has warned the industry that “infrared protection is the next big challenge against skin ageing. Recent clinical studies have shown that infrared damage is just as destructive to the skin as UV rays and is also a key contributor in photo-ageing”. (for full article, head to Professional Beauty Magazine)

Did you know, that of the radiation emitted by the sun that reaches the skin, only 7% is Ultra Violet!?? (Yep, those SPF sunscreens are only protecting you against 7% of the environment…) 39% is visible light, and a STAGGERING 54% is Infrared Radiation.

Invisible to the human eye, IR is felt as heat in the atmosphere, is emitted by the Sun and falls between 760nm-1400nm on the electromagnetic spectrum. Although there are three categories of IR – IRA, IRB + IRC, in the industry of skin health + longevity, we’re most concerned with IRA – Near Infrared Radiation. Not only is IR emitted by the sun, there are additional, man- made sources of infrared that can also affect our skin e.g. infrared lamps (which on a side note are a big NO- NO for skin!).

Mibelle Biochemistry released studies at the end of 2017 indicating that IRA (near infrared) ‘induces significant production of free radicals in the dermis and diminishes the skin’s anti-oxidant capacity’. What was discovered, is that although both Ultra Violet and IR generate reactive oxygen species (unstable by-products), the ROS generated by IR pass over the cell membrane, into the cell, where they directly affect the mitochondria, or energy house. The ROS eventually leak into the cytoplasm (the body of the cell) and signal a cascade which leads to the up regulation of MMP-1 (the enzyme that breaks down collagen) PLUS the down regulation of collagen type 1 production.

{In English – collagen is broken down prematurely, replacement collagen production is slowed, the cell’s metabolism becomes sluggish and free radicals are generated, causing the skin to malfunction.}

IN CONCLUSION, these studies found that IRA is a primary contributor to the photo ageing process which accelerates age spots, wrinkles, skin discolouration and causes the skin to lose its elasticity and firmness. In addition IR can cause skin irritation, sensitivity and dehydration.

For Mibelle Biochemistry, this research lead to the development of new ingredients that could minimise the damage of IR within the skin.

Dermatologist and skincare specialist Andrew Birnie has spoken about a discussion he had at the Americal Academy of Dermatology: “one of the things being discussed was whether visible light such as HEV and Infrared ought to be protected against in our sunscreens”.

It’s an interesting thought. Why are we not protecting against 54% of the sun’s radiation?? Why are we not talking about just how damaging IR can be to human cells???

Any modern protection product MUST consider the modern environment to be effective. This includes ingredients that protect not only against UV, but against IR, free radicals, pollutants, changes in temperature and actively work to repair existing damaged cells.

One Reply to “RED HOT. Infrared – the bad guy.”

  1. I have been looking into this theme for roughly 2 weeks at this point and this is really the very first article that actually is practical. Why is it so difficult to gather reasonable information with regards to protection these days? Definitely appreciate the time you spent placing your concepts into words so newbies similar to me can certainly take action. Could there be a part two on your blog? Many thanks!

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