Zheng Mei Xiong, assistant research professor of cell biology and molecular genetics at the University of Maryland, and his team said that in the future, methylene blue may be able to replace existing oxybenzone sunscreen products, which will not only better protect human skin health, but also reduce Damage to the marine ecological environment.
Some people may think that since there are so many harmful substances in sunscreen products, it is enough to not use them. In fact, from hats to veils, and from umbrellas to sun protection clothing, humans have been trying every means to protect themselves from sun protection for centuries.
Compared with the harmful substances of sunscreen products, the harm of ultraviolet rays to humans should also not be underestimated. UVA can penetrate our dermis, which not only accelerates aging, destroys the elastic fibers and collagen fibers of the skin, and can even cause skin cancer in severe cases. UVB can directly reach the dermis, which is the main cause of skin erythema and sunburn.
On the other hand, marine pollution will have an unpredictable impact on humans. It is reported that in an investigation into the rapid decline of coral reefs in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Researchers have found that the reduction of corals has a lot to do with the use of sunscreen products by swimming tourists. Many sunscreen ingredients are easily absorbed by the skin. After half an hour of applying sunscreen products, the most common sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone, can be detected in the urine.
Although many studies have shown that oxybenzone can cause irreversible damage to coral reefs, fish, algae and other marine life, 80% of sunscreen products still use oxybenzone as a chemical UV blocker.
Not only that, studies have shown that if the urine contains a higher concentration of oxybenzone, it will make it more difficult for women to conceive, and the quality of men’s sperm will therefore decrease.
In addition, oxybenzone may also be transferred to the baby through the breast milk of humans, and neonatal Hirschsprung’s disease is also related to oxybenzone contamination in pregnant women. For this reason, many countries strictly restrict the use of oxybenzone in the regulations for the production of cosmetics.
In daily life, consumers mainly pay attention to the Sun Protection Factors (SPF) to prevent sunburn and related skin health problems. But in fact, the sun protection factor (SPF) only means the time frame to protect the skin from ultraviolet rays. Within the time frame of protection, the occurrence of sweating, oiling, and related clothing friction will affect and destroy its integrity.
Dr. Kan Cao, a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland, as a core member of this research, said: “Our work shows that methylene blue is an effective UV blocker with many very ideal It is a very promising sunscreen ingredient. It shows broad-spectrum absorption of UVA and UVB rays, promotes DNA damage repair, and fights against reactive oxygen species induced by UVA. Moreover, compared to sunscreen products with oxybenzone ingredients, Methylene blue will not cause harm to marine ecology such as coral reefs.”
In this study, the research team studied the UV protection benefits of methylene blue on human skin cells from different angles, and compared these results with oxybenzone. The research team concluded that methylene blue not only absorbs UVA and UVB like traditional sunscreen active substances, but also helps repair DNA damage caused by ultraviolet radiation, thereby improving cell survival.
The research team also compared methylene blue with the current mainstream skin antioxidants, such as vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin C, in terms of reducing cellular oxidative stress.
”We are very pleased to see that in the cell culture medium containing methylene blue, skin fibroblasts from young and old have greatly improved in terms of proliferation and cell stress. The most surprising thing is that, We found that the combination of methylene blue and vitamin C can provide amazing anti-aging effects. Especially in skin cells from elderly donors, it shows that there is a strong synergistic reaction between these two beneficial antioxidants.” Kan Cao said .
”All in all, we have found through research that methylene blue is very likely to provide humans with better sunscreen active ingredients, not only can provide broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB, and this ingredient is very friendly to the marine ecological environment such as coral reefs.” The research team stated in the paper.
The research team believes that methylene blue can effectively isolate ultraviolet rays, and is suitable for delaying skin aging and promoting DNA damage repair. Therefore, the research team has filed a patent application and started to develop a prototype of a sunscreen containing methylene blue.