From: Kings College London
Published December 5, 2017 12:45 PM

Seaweed Could Hold Key to Environmentally Friendly Sunscreen

A compound found in seaweed could protect human skin from the damaging impact of the sun without causing harm to marine ecosystems. 

The use of sunscreens is advocated to prevent sun damage, but most formulations contain synthetic UV radiation filters that can make their way in to water systems. Many of these are not ecocompatible and may harm fragile marine life including coral, fish and microorganisms.

Scientists at King’s College London extracted a mycosporine-like amino acid (MAA), known as palythine, from seaweed to test its ability to protect against UV radiation in human skin cells. MAAs are natural compounds produced in organisms that live in sunlight-rich, shallow-water environments. 

Using human skin cells in a lab, researchers showed that even at very low concentrations MAA could effectively absorb harmful rays from the sun and protect the cells against UVR induced damage. They also showed that palythine is a powerful antioxidant that could offer skin protection against oxidative stress, linked to cellular damage and photoageing.

Read more at King's College London

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