Sun cream technology

By | Science & Technology
Woman applying sun cream.Credit@Tom Merton /OJOimages/gettyimages

A new study has suggested sun cream using nano technology where Ultra violet (UV) filters are unabsorbed may protect the skin more effectively than traditional sun cream. Traditional sun cream may contribute to adverse skin reactions and the new sun cream was developed with these concerns in mind. Many individuals are spending more time in the sun maybe believing sun cream thoroughly prevents sun burn by UV light. The incidences of skin cancer however, continue to rise despite populations using more sun cream and lotions over time.

Sun cream itself may be absorbed into the blood stream and it is known changes to the individuals’ biochemistry result. Oxybenzone is known to be an exquisite UV filter although when absorbed in to the skin the substance may reduce the levels of vital anti oxidants.  Specific UV protecting compounds in sun cream may have been linked to cancer, through the phototoxicity of these specific compounds which when stimulated by sunlight produce toxic byproducts.

The new study by Deng and colleagues appeared in the journal Nature materials. The study showed a nanoparticle based sunblock may be longer lasting and also had limited absorption into the deeper layers of the skin. The bioadhesive nanoparticles (BNPs) prevent epidermal exposure to the UV filters that may be detrimental to the skin while simultaneously protecting the cells from ultraviolet light (UV). The BNP formulation stays on the surface of the skin, the stratum corneum and is left unabsorbed into the deeper layers of the skin, the intra-epidermal or follicular penetration.

In comparison to traditional sun cream, Nano sun cream has only 5% of the UV protective compounds meaning it may be more effective and efficient as this stays on the surface of the skin unabsorbed. This also means the adverse skin reactions posed by absorption of the compounds may be prevented.

To have solid scientific evidence the Nano sun cream was effective the team conducted experiments on mice. The mice were shaved and coated with both nano and traditional sun cream types. The mice were then exposed to UV light and the team measured molecular signs of skin sunburn, by analysing levels of cyclobutane pyrmidine dimers. The mice in both groups were protected from these molecular signs of UV deterioration suggesting both sun creams were as effective as each other in protecting from sun burn. Micheal Girardi, co-author said, “This suggests the nanoparticle sunscreen is as good as the traditional store-bought sunscreen.”

The nano particle sun cream is water resistant and may be left on for up to 5 days and it is easily removed with a towel. The sun cream uses technology means the UV filters are more efficient and the toxic effects to the skin are averted. The aim is nano particle sun cream may be mass produced using the findings of this study or future research. The future for the team means more testing of their nano sun cream in comparison to other sun cream and lotion products on the market. The intention is a study on humans may provide conclusive evidence the sun cream is viable.

This study highlights the practical advantages of nano particle sun cream along with the health benefits in comparison to traditional sun cream. With the increase in skin related conditions due to sun exposure it may emphasise sun creams protect the skin only to a degree and individuals need to be aware about prolonged exposure. Overall, the study may be constructive because it educates individuals about the complex nature of sunburn and offers readers a sense of optimism about future skin health. With this knowledge the team supports individuals to prevent skin and health conditions related to either sun exposure or sun cream use.

What new knowledge is science providing which might improve the health of populations enjoying the sun?


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