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A Better Sunscreen From Bacteria? Scientists Find A Pigment That Absorbs UV Light

Sunscreen has protected millions from cancer in the last few decades since its introduction. With innovations, including water-resistant and spray types, the adoption of sunscreen has reached new heights. But recent reports that the chemicals in sunscreen can themselves turn into cancer-causing carcinogens has many worried about the future of sunscreen and its safety. This is why a safe, nontoxic, and easily produced sunscreen chemical could save even more people from developing skin cancer.

A research group out of Norway has recently discovered bacteria that produce a pigment that absorbs ultraviolet (UV) light at 350-475 nanometers, the same wavelength that causes mutations in DNA and triggers cancers such as melanomas. This long wavelength of UV light is not easily filtered or blocked by regular UVA- and UVB-blocking sunscreen, so there is a definite need for a product to help people to avoid DNA damage and the premature skin aging and cancers associated with such DNA mutations.

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