London - Algae could be the key ingredient to natural sunscreen for protection against skin cancer, according to scientists.
While existing sun tan lotions work by either absorbing ultraviolet rays or physically blocking them, most have limited efficiency or are not environmentally friendly.
The Swedish scientists turned to the natural sunscreen of algae, which is also found in fish slime, to make a new kind of shield against the sun’s rays.
Using algae’s sunscreen molecules combined with chitosan, a chemical found in crustacean shells, testing showed that their new materials were highly efficient at absorbing both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation.
Professor Vincent Bulone, of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, said: “Inspired by the strategy developed by fish, algae, and micro-organisms exposed to UV radiations in confined ecosystems, we have constructed novel UV-protective materials that exclusively consist of natural compounds.