Skin care company teams up with King’s College to develop 1st coral-based sunscreen


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Coral produces naturally-occurring sunscreen
Coral produces naturally-occurring sunscreen
UK-based skin care company Aethic has called upon the expertise of scientists at King’s College London to develop the first sunscreen based on MAA's (mycosporine-like amino acids), produced by coral.

Aethic is relatively new to the skin care game and has entered into the agreement with King’s as a follow up to its first eco-compatible sunscreen product, Aethic Sôvée; developed with the Life and Environmental Sciences department of Marche Polytechnic University, Ancona, Italy.

The Sôvée sunscreen was identified by Kings’ as the best 'host' product for the compound because of its existing broad-spectrum UVA/UVB and photo-stability characteristics and scientifically proven eco-compatibility credentials.

Sunscreen a good place to start

"While MAA's have a number of other potential applications, human sunscreen is certainly a good place to begin proving the compound's features,”​ explains Dr Paul Long, Reader in Pharmacognosy at King's Institute of Pharmaceutical Science.

“If our further studies confirm the results we are expecting, we hope that we will be able to develop a sunscreen with the broadest spectrum of protection.”

Allard Marx, CEO of Aethic, added: "With the recent launch of Sôvée we believe that we are already leading the industry. Together with King's we would like to raise our product benefits to an even higher level using MAA's. We are very excited about the potential."

MAA discovery

The origins of this development date back to last year when a team led by Long at King's discovered how the naturally-occurring MAA's were produced.

“Algae living within coral make a compound that is transported to the coral, which then modifies it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae,”​ explains the study.

“Not only does this protect them both from UV damage, but fish that feed on the coral also benefit from this sunscreen protection.”

The next phase of development is for the researchers to work with Professor Antony Young and colleagues at the St John's Institute of Dermatology at King's, to test the efficacy of the compounds using human skin models.

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