Sunscreen from the sea

A press release from UK skin care company Aethic reports that the company is partnering with King’s College in London to develop a sunscreen based on a compound found in coral.

Last year, a team led by Dr Paul Long at the college discovered mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs), produced by algae within the coral to protect it from UV damage. The algae create a compound that is transported to the coral which modifies it into a “sunscreen” that benefits both the algae and coral. According to the team’s research, fish that feed off the coral also benefit from this sun protection effect.

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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