If You're Skeptical of Synthetic Chemicals in Sunscreen, This Is Good News

“My skin is too sensitive” is an often-used (albeit, poor) excuse for not applying sunscreen. Now, new research published in the European Journal of Phycology says we may have to retire that one altogether.

Its findings: Sunscreens and moisturizers made from cyanobacteria may provide a safer option to synthetic formulas.

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“As we move into an era where we are turning to nature to replace synthetic chemicals, the industry is being driven to look to natural product alternatives. Cyanobacteria, tiny photosynthetic microbes, offer new potential. One suite of compounds are synthesized to protect against damaging ultraviolet and intense sunlight. These compounds, as discussed in this review, offer many advantages over current synthetically derived sunscreens," said author Carole Llewellyn, associate professor in applied aquatic bioscience.

Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, says the idea is most likely not that far away from reality and the skin benefits are big. “Very soon we may see sunscreens and moisturizers derived from different strains of bacteria! The advantage is that less harmful chemicals reduce the risk for contact allergies, estrogen mimicking and damage to the environment.”