sun screen

Credit: Tanja Heffner on Unsplash

The majority of us that know we are going to spend some time in the sun, break out the plastic tubes and slather on some sunscreen.  Many of these products have chemicals like avobenzone, oxybenzone or octinoxate, or the physical barrier sunscreen like zinc oxide that can be harmful because when exposed to the sun’s radiation they produce free radicals that damage skin cells and potentially could cause cancer.  Of course going without sunscreen is much riskier as the ultra violet rays are recognized by the FDA as a known carcinogen.  But now scientists at Binghamton University, State University of New York may have a very nice alternative to these lotions and creams.

DNA Coating That Sunscreens and More

Assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University, Guy German, and his team of researchers have developed a coating made out of DNA that acts as a sacrificial layer to the sun and a whole lot more.  This DNA coating is very thin and made of optically transparent crystalline that hydrates the skin and the more you expose it to the sun the better it performs as a moisture barrier and sunscreen to ultraviolet light.   In the paper published in Scientific Reports with the long winded title, “Non-ionising UV light increases the optical density of hygroscopic self-assembled DNA crystal films,” lead author German sees his new DNA film creation not only as a better way to sunscreen but also as a great wound covering protectant for harsh environments.  As a wound covering protectant, it hydrates the skin which is a key for better healing, while protecting from the damaging rays of the sun.  More subtly, since the DNA film is transparent, one can observe the wound healing without removing the covering