Scientists from King’s College London have discovered a compound in seaweed that could protect human skin from sun damage without having a negative impact on marine ecosystems.
Known as palythine, the mycosporine-like amino acid, is produced by organisms found in shallow water that are exposed to a lot of sunlight. Under laboratory conditions, the palythine was found to absorb harmful rays from the sun and protect human cells from UV induced damage.
Most formulations of sunscreen contain synthetic UV radiation filters that can cause damage to the environment if they make their way in to water systems, potentially harming vulnerable marine life, including coral, microorganisms and fish.
Further research on palythine could therefore lead to the development of more natural, non-toxic sunscreen that would protect human skin effectively without negatively impacting the environment.