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Decoding Light

The secret to glowing skin revealed at La Prairie’s ‘Life from the Labs’





Let there be light. But not too much of it—at least not on your skin.

That, essentially, is what Swiss beauty brand La Prairie wants to help you with. At the second edition of La Prairie’s “Life from the Labs,” the brand’s version of Bill Nye: Science Guy or Super Science Friends, they discussed the science of light.

“We are here to decode for you the equation of light,” said Xavier Hottinger, global communication and PR director for La Prairie. “What if there was a way to decode the skin’s luminosity?”

Let’s get decoding then, shall we? But don’t worry, we won’t get too technical about it. This is as sciencey as we will go: Light reacts with surfaces, like the skin, in two ways—by being absorbed or by being reflected.

Light, explained La Prairie director of innovation Daniel Stangl, means sunlight or white light, which is made up of all the colors of the rainbow.

“If you look at the skin of a person, you see it because some of the light reflected on the skin is captured by your eyes,” Stangl said.

When light is absorbed, the result is reduced luminosity. Conversely, when light is reflected on a homogenous surface, more of it is captured by the eyes, which results in increased luminosity. With this in mind, La Prairie’s team of researchers came up with “the equation of light” or the equation of increased luminosity:

Light = ƒ (color + reflection)

A bright, luminous skin, therefore, is a function of color (or absorption) and reflection. But light, Stangl adds, can also be reflected by internal structures on and under the skin’s surface, namely pollution (grey), melanin (brown), collagen in the dermis (yellow), and hemoglobin (red). These so-called pigments or chromatic disturbances lessen the skin’s luminosity. There are also “two mirror-like elements” that reflect light: The skin’s surface and a dense network of collagen fibers in the dermis.

In short, a smoother skin surface absorbs less light and reflects it more, resulting to more luminous skin. Likewise, the denser the network of collagen fibers, the more light is reflected. But aging makes the network of collagen fibers loose, decreasing its ability to reflect light.

After five years of research, La Prairie has come up with two products that can help lessen the absorption of light and increase its reflection: the White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion, which targets the three chromatic disturbances in the skin (grey, brown, and red), and the White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire, which focuses on the dark spots lurking around the brown chromatic disturbance. A combination of both products targets all four chromatic disturbances.

Both also have active ingredients that work on the structural elements that determine reflection of light. Two of these are lumidose and golden caviar extract, which stimulates the formation of collagen to counteract the effects of aging.

Clinical studies showed that, over an eight-month period, using both the White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion and the White Cavier Crème Extraordinaire results in a prominent decrease in the four chromatic disturbances on the skin.

“Now,” Stangl announced, “we can say that we have decoded light.”

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