We’ve seen sunscreen in powder, mousse and finishing-mist formulations, but the latest innovation is here to blow the rest out of the water. Medical researchers at Binghamton University in New York have recently developed a sunscreen coating made out of DNA that gets stronger the longer you expose it to the sun, meaning there soon may be no need to reapply your SPF, even at the beach.
“Ultraviolet light can actually damage DNA, and that’s not good for the skin,” said Guy German, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University in a press release. “We thought, let’s flip it.” The result is a sunscreen that uses DNA as a “sacrificial layer,” as Germain says, explaining that instead of damaging DNA within the skin, a layer on top of the skin is compromised instead, leaving the skin untouched.
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According to Yahoo! Beauty, German and his colleagues purchased DNA that is readily available from scientific distributors to create water-based DNA solutions. When the DNA compound is coated on a surface, they dry out and form solid films. They are transparent to the naked eye, but when placed under a microscope, these films were found to make up DNA crystals.
The more the researchers exposed the DNA-based film to UV light, the better the film got at absorbing the light. “If you translate that, it means to me that if you use this as a topical cream or sunscreen, the longer that you stay out on the beach, the better it gets at being a sunscreen,” German says.
He states that the film has huge hydrating effects, explaining that skin coated with the material can store and hold much more water than uncoated skin can, and theorizes that these films may be a good option for those who want to see how their wounds are healing without needing to remove any dressings.
“Not only do we think this might have applications for sunscreen and moisturizers directly, but if it’s optically transparent and prevents tissue damage from the sun, and it’s good at keeping the skin hydrated, we think this might be potentially exploitable as a wound covering for extreme environments,” he adds.
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