Could ivy revolutionise natural suncare?


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The Hat

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Mar 24, 2010
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A recent breakthrough by researchers could have a significant impact on the development of natural sunscreens.

The team at the University of Tennessee, led by associate professor of biomedical engineering Mingjun Zhang, found that ivy nanoparticles could be four times more effective than the metal-based sunblocks found on beauty shelves at protecting the skin from UV rays.

"Nanoparticles exhibit unique physical and chemical properties due to large surface-to-volume ratio which allows them to absorb and scatter light," Zhang said. "Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are currently used for sunscreen for the same reason, but the ivy nanoparticles are more uniform than the metal-based nanoparticles, and have unique material properties, which may help to enhance the absorption and scattering of light, and serve better as a sun-blocker."

Moreover, ivy is touted as an eco-friendly way to safe skin in the sun. "In general, it is not a good idea to have more metal-based nanoparticles for cosmetic applications,” Zhang continues. “They are a significant concern for the environment. Naturally occurring nanoparticles originated from plants seem to be a better choice, especially since they have been demonstrated to be less toxic and easily biodegradable."


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