100 Thieves co-owner and YouTube streamer Rachell "Valkyrae" Hofstetter has come under fire over the release of her new skin-care range, which promises to protect the skin against damage caused by blue light. Scientific research suggests there is little evidence to link blue light to skin damage, or that her product would provide any specific protection for "gamers" leading fans and journalists to label Valkyrae’s new product a scam.
The news also sparked a backlash from her peers, with streamers like Hasan Piker and Felyx "xQc" Lengyel either condemning her or simply mocking the situation, and even her former partner Michael "Sonii" Sherman posting on Instagram about skincare being a scam. In a deleted tweet, Valkyrae said she would comment on the situation today, Oct. 20, but at the time of writing has failed to do so, instead staying quiet on social media as the furor grows.
Furthermore, a trip to the RFLCT site will allow you to see the disclaimers and mitigations they offer. While the site speaks of the damaging effects of blue light, and the ways in which the product can help you with this, there is also a terms of service section where the company state that they "are not responsible if information made available on this site is not accurate, complete or current", and that "the material on this site is provided for general information only and should not be relied upon or used as the sole basis for making decisions without consulting primary, more accurate, more complete or more timely sources of information".
According to her social media posts, Valkyrae has been working on the product since 2019, leaving many to wonder how she and her team managed to make it through two years of research and development without questioning the efficacy of the treatment or the science behind the claims. While blue light has been shown to have damaging effects on the eyes, and can negatively impact sleep schedules, there is no evidence at present linking it to skin damage.
The situation has once again raised questions about influencers using their platforms to exploit what are often young and impressionable fans, something that esports has wrestled with in recent months. Valkyrae has 2.6M followers on Twitter, with a Digital Marketing Institute poll suggesting 49% of consumers rely on celebrity endorsements for their recommendations, and 40% had bought a product they saw recommended on Twitter.
Based on a piece published by Glossy, the Blue Light Prevention Factor comes from Artemisia Capillaris, which is derived from mugwort, an extract that has long been linked with skincare, but is neither novel nor in any way proven to benefit people exposed to blue light for long periods. Experts advise that the only significant source of blue light to consider protecting yourself against is the sun, with screens not providing a genuine risk.