Iron Oxides Enhance Protection Against Skin Damage

New results demonstrate HEV blocking power in specialty skin care products formulated with iron oxides.

Colorescience® announces the published results of their latest study “Iron oxides in novel skin care formulations attenuate blue light for enhanced protection against skin damage” authored by Eric F. Bernstein MD, MSE,  Harry W. Sarkas PhD, and Patricia Boland BA in The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.   The study assessed the efficacy of iron oxides in blocking HEV (Blue Light) when included in specific skincare product formulas. 

Colorescience VP of Research and Development, Patricia Boland said, “We formulate Colorescience products using iron oxides because they offer both therapeutic and color-corrective benefits.  They are excellent at mitigating the white cast sometimes seen in all-mineral SPF products while also protecting skin from high energy visible (HEV) light, or blue light.  Maximum protection potential is determined not only by the total concentration of iron oxides, but also the color combination and processing methods used.  Our test method allows us to directly measure the amount of blue light protection each product provides across the entire HEV spectrum, so we can share actual and not theoretical data.”

While it is known that Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a main cause of aging of sun‐exposed skin, there is growing concern around the deleterious effects of high‐energy visible (HEV) light (400- 500 nm), and continued research is necessary to deliver the most effective skincare innovation.  Published research has shown that up to 50% of the free radicals produced in the skin are due to exposure to HEV wavelengths. HEV light contributes to premature skin aging by impeding normal cellular functions.  HEV light exposure has increased with use of consumer electronics. Electronics have a peak emission in the 400‐490 nm range and there is a need to identify solutions to shield against these exposures. Prolonged exposure to HEV light has been demonstrated to stimulate melanogenesis and contribute to increased and persistent hyperpigmentation.  Sunscreens containing only titanium dioxide and zinc oxide protect against UVA and UVB radiation, but are limited in their ability to protect against HEV light.

Said Eric Bernstein, MD, “My entire career has been laser-focused on the use of lasers in medicine and the study of sunlight. One thing I’ve learned all too well is that sunlight causes a range of problems for our skin including: fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores, redness, pigmentation, skin sagging, and skin cancer. Visible blue light is the most energetic, and therefore the most damaging light, to reach our skin and penetrates more deeply than ultraviolet rays. I have been interested, for many years, in ways to protect skin against all wavelengths of light.  This research is important because it shows that skin care products formulated with iron oxides, combined with mineral sunscreen actives and other ingredients, effectively shield skin against harmful, high-energy, visible wavelengths.” 


The results of the study showed that Colorescience products All Calm® Clinical Redness Corrector SPF 50, Even Up® Clinical Pigment Perfector SPF50, and Total Eye® 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy SPF 35, which are formulated with iron oxides, provide enhanced protection against blue light, especially when combined with zinc oxide. The percent of HEV light attenuation from 400 nm to 490 nm light was measured in vitro using a technique known as diffuse transmittance spectroscopy. These products formulated with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and iron oxides demonstrated 71.9% to 85.6% HEV light attenuation across the tested wavelengths of 415‐465 nm. These results demonstrate that use of iron oxides in combination with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and other specialty ingredients is a safe, effective, and environmentally friendly way to protect against HEV.

Nice Insight

Nice Insight, established in 2010, is the research division of That’s Nice, A Science Agency, providing data and analysis from proprietary annual surveys, custom primary qualitative and quantitative research as well as extensive secondary research. Current annual surveys include The Nice Insight Contract Development & Manufacturing (CDMO/CMO), Survey The Nice Insight Contract Research - Preclinical and Clinical (CRO) Survey, The Nice Insight Pharmaceutical Equipment Survey, and The Nice Insight Pharmaceutical Excipients Survey.


Colorescience® delivers clinically proven skin care and sun care innovations that are strategically designed to improve overall skin health. Going beyond UV protection, Colorescience® believes in preventing skin damage before it starts with their clinically tested formulas that are trusted, recommended, and personally used by physicians and patients alike. Using cutting-edge innovation to formulate with efficacious ingredients, Colorescience® products deliver immediate and long-term results that provide confidence for all ages, skin types, and concerns.