New effective all-natural sunscreen... but there's a catch

If you’re vigilant about protecting your skin from cancer but worry about the chemicals used to make sunscreen, we have some great news: an Adelaide researcher is close to finalising an all-natural, effective sunscreen. The new formulation is incredibly stable, blocks UVA and UVB, and works so well, you could even use it to protect your outdoor furniture from the sun’s harmful rays.

While this is fantastic news, there is one small thing…

The new sunscreen is made from fish slime, algae and crustacean shells.

“We have exploited the very same type of mycosporines produced in many fish species of the Great Barrier Reef to protect their eyes and tissues from the different types of UV light, UVA and UVB” says Professor Vincent Bulone from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls.

Existing sunscreens are made with a variety of synthetic and natural compounds that are often unstable, not fully effective at blocking harmful UV rays, or pose risks to the environment and human health with regular use. Inspired by the natural UV protection systems evolved in fish, algae and microorganisms, the researchers combined their protective sunscreen compounds, called mycosporines with chitosan, an organic material from crustacean shells, to create this potential new sunscreen.

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“Our tests show that this novel sunscreen has superior quality to existing options by providing increased protection against both UVA and UVB radiation and is stable in variable heat and light conditions,” says Prof Bulone.

The research into this potential new sunscreen took place in collaboration with Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), in close collaboration with partners from Spain. Prof Bulone is actively developing new collaborations within Australia.

Would you use this new sunscreen, or does it all sound a bit fishy to you?