The reapplication of sunscreen is one of those easty-to-forget tasks that can mean many of us aren’t getting enough protection from ultraviolet rays. However, according to a report published in the journal of Scientific Reports, scientists have developed a film from the DNA of salmon which is more effective at protecting the skin from the sun. Effectively, it acts as a "second skin."
"Ultraviolet (UV) light can actually damage DNA, and that's not good for the skin," said Dr. Guy German, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University, New York. "We thought, let's flip it. What happens instead if we actually used DNA as a sacrificial layer? So instead of damaging DNA within the skin, we damage a layer on top of the skin."
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The film is made from a mixture of the DNA from salmon sperm, water, and ethanol to create optically transparent crystalline material, which is actually better at absorbing UV light. What's more, the film locks in moisture beneath the surface so it doesn’t become lost in the tanning process, thus helping the skin to tan more easily.
"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."
The researchers believe that just one application of this film would shield beachgoers or anybody who will be in the sun's glare for the whole day, even if they go swimming or sweat profusely.
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With this revolutionary discovery, researches are keen to next test out the film on wounds, as it is transparent so would allow doctors to access how well a wound is healing without removing the dressing.
"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 added.
The research is still in the early stages, so for now, stick to your SPF 50 and keep reapplying every couple of hours (sorry!).
This post was written by Ellie Wiseman. For more, check out our sister site Grazia.
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