Ever wonder why animals don’t get sunburns? While we lather up with our SPF 30, animals spend their entire lives outside and never seem to be affected.
Researchers at Oregon State University have found that various animal species naturally produce their own sunscreen. According their study, published in the journal eLife, fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds produce a compound called gadusol, which provides protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Humans create a similar compound, melanin, which is a dark pigment, to help protect our skin. But of course as we already know, we need the extra protection of sunscreen for our sensitive skin.
An NPR article says that these animals aren’t the only ones with these compounds, but algae and fungi have their own chemicals which help sop up UV rays as well. Before this new discovery, it was thought that fish and amphibians obtained gadusol through ingesting algae and fungi.
Taifo Mahmud, lead author and professor at the OSU College of Pharmacy says while these species can produce gadusol, humans and mammals are not equipped with the same ability.
Scientists are currently experimenting with yeast to create gadusol, meaning that, before long, we might see some new ingredients in our own sunscreen.
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