When you wash your hands or take a shower, one of your goals is to get dirt and bacteria off of your body. But believe it or not, there may come a day when you intentionally apply bacteria onto your skin.
Our default perception of bacteria is typically negative, but this isn't actually a fair assessment. Yes, there are dangerous — even deadly — bacteria in the world. But there are also plenty of friendly, beneficial ones as well. Think of probiotics and all that these helpful strains do for our bodies.
Other types of bacteria are more neutral. They aren't going to hurt us, but they may not help us either. Unless, of course, we can figure out a way to harness their unique properties. One type of bacteria with special properties is called cyanobacteria. Researchers are intrigued by cyanobacteria because they live in very hot, dry areas. So they're particularly good at dealing with high levels of UV radiation and water loss.
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This is a double win for manufacturers of products like sunscreen. After all, you want your sunscreen to be able to filter out UV rays. It's also great if it can help you retain moisture, particularly if you're spending any time in the drying sun. Initial research published in the European Journal of Phycology
suggests that cyanobacteria may be able to do both of these better than the synthetic materials manufacturers commonly turn to in their creams. Many of these chemicals can have negative side effects ranging from skin irritation to hormone disruption. So, if this works, it could be great news — in more than one way.
Using cyanobacteria would also benefit the planet because producing them doesn't create any harmful byproducts. And they're self-renewing, so they're cost-effective as well. All of these are important reasons for both consumers and manufacturers to consider using natural products whenever possible.
It may take some time before bacteria-based sunscreen is available for purchase. But I'm excited about the possibilities. In the meantime, I hope this reminds you of the many benefits of choosing natural ingredients. That's what we've selected for the Système 41
line of products. They allow us to offer you effective, restorative skin protection and repair without harmful side effects. I'm constantly on the lookout for the most effective and safest ingredients. Who knows, maybe we'll even add bacteria to the ingredients list someday!
To your health, naturally,
Peyman Derikvand, Carole A. Llewellyn, Saul Purton. Cyanobacterial metabolites as a source of sunscreens and moisturizers: a comparison with current synthetic compounds. European Journal of Phycology, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1080/09670262.2016.1214882.