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A new sunscreen for genomic integrity?!

posted Oct 1, 2015, 5:21 AM by Rachel Aronoff   [ updated Oct 1, 2015, 5:25 AM ]
A new study has come out in Nature Materials, from W Mark Saltzman's lab at Yale, about a nano-tech sunscreen that not only doesn't penetrate the skin, but doesn't readily induce DNA damage!

Here is a Science Alert article about these new developments using bioadhesive nanoparticles to encapsulate a UV filter and thus prevent its penetration into the skin (thanks to MW, an international AGiR! supporter, for the heads up!)!
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Of course, there are many concerns about nanoparticles in general, also for our environment, and if aldehydes get into cells, DNA damage may indeed be expected.  

However, the authors of this work, using many complementary methods, from animal tests and skin explants to microscopic cell-based assays for the DNA damage response, measuring puncta in nuclei (γH2AX foci) at double-stranded breaks where a particular histone variant accumulates, really seem on their way to a better sunscreen (finally)!  The demonstration of much more DNA damage by this latter assay in the skin of animals treated with conventional sunscreen and exposed to UVB, compared to the much lower and similar levels found in the other cases tested (including untreated normal skin) is quite impressive!

Staying in the shade during peak sunlight hours is still the best course, to protect genomic integrity, but when you must risk exposure, this new encapsulated sunscreen strategy is water-proof, yet easily removed by towel wiping.

Hoping this research will soon lead to a commercially-available and safer alternative to conventional sunscreens!!