From the US to the UK and Australia, researchers have been working on projects to meet this demand such as mimicking the coral reef’s natural defences to be safely used as an ingredient against the sun’s rays, adapting new compounds which will work in conjunction with the body to boost its defences, as well as delving into whether or not sunscreens really inhibits vitamin D Synthesis.
Starting with the most recent development, scientists at the University of Bath announced this month that they had developed an innovative new compound which actually works with the body to boost its' defences against cancer-causing UVA radiation.
The substance works by neutralizing the free radicals which are generated on the skin by exposure to sunlight, stopping them from causing cancer. It also "mops up" the free labile iron produced by cells, preventing a chain reaction which would release more free radicals.
The project began back in June 2012, when the researchers responded to Garnier and the British Skin Foundation's call to develop products capable of blocking UV-induced photodamage.
Regarding that discovery, medicinal chemist Dr Ian Eggleston said; “The new compounds that we are synthesising provide a highly effective means of protection against both UVA- and UVB-induced skin damage and associated skin cancer, without inducing toxicity in cells.”
While back in July, the Australian science organization CSIRO announced that it had collaborated with cosmetics company Larissa Bright to develop a UVA/UVB sunscreen filter which mimics the properties of sun-protected corals in the Great Barrier reef.
The breakthrough came after scientists spent the last two years adapting the coral’s sunscreen code so that it can be safely used as an ingredient in human sunscreen and has since been given the go ahead to create a collection of 48 new sunscreen filters.
Elsewhere in the UK in June, a team of researchers at the King’s College London said the object of their research was to determine whether or not sunscreens inhibits vitamin D Synthesis.
A lack of vitamin D is now one of the most commonly diagnosed vitamin deficiencies in the developed world, leading some dermatologists to question if a rise in the use of sunscreens may have something to do with this.
The research, which was sponsored by UK retailer and sunscreen manufacturer Boots Group, was led by Anthony R Young, professor of experimental photobiology at the college’s Institute of Dermatology, and took the form of a one-week field study, that exposed volunteers to the sun.
All the volunteers who joined in the study were said to have had healthy levels of vitamin D blood serum at the start of the experiment, which is recognised as being approximately 50 nmol/l.