What's so Cool About it
Scytonemin is produced by certain cyanobacteria (more commonly known as blue-green algae). These algae live in harsh sunlight and need protection from the suns rays in order to survive. They do so by producing a UV-light-absorbing substance called – you guessed it – scytonemin. In short, scytonemin is a supremely efficient, all-natural sunblock.
The Swedish Scientist
Meet Isabella Karlsson – a very clever Swedish scientist. She has been studying sunscreens, how they work, what they do after they have been applied to our skin, and why some sunscreens cause allergic reactions in some people.
What Isabella Karlsson DidIn collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology, Isabella Karlsson has managed to reproduce scytonemin in a lab, bringing this effective, allergen-free sunblock a step closer to being available for use in commercial products.
More research will have to be done before scytonemin will be on the ingredients list of your fave sun products, but I'm guessing there is going to be quite a bit of interest from the industry while testing continues.
Does Her Thesis Hold Water?
Yes. Isabella Karlssons thesis Chemical and Dermatological Aspects of UV-absorbing Compounds has been successfully defended at a disputation held at the University of Gothenburg.
Along with Isabella Karlsson, the authors of the paper are Andreas Ekebergh, Rudi Mete, Ye Pan, Anna Börje, and Jerker Mårtensson.
For The Science Nerds