Medical innovators have developed a coating made out of DNA that not only improves its ability to protect skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light the longer itâ€™s exposed to the sunâ€™s rays but also keeps skin hydrated.
â€œUltraviolet light can actually damage DNA, and thatâ€™s not good for the skin,â€ saidÂ Guy German, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Binghamton University in New York. â€œWe thought, letâ€™s flip it. What happens instead if we actually used DNA as a sacrificial layer? So instead of damaging DNA within the skin, we damage a layer on top of the skin.â€
German tells Yahoo Beauty that he and his colleagues â€œpurchased inexpensive DNA that is readily available from scientific distributors â€” they sell a variety of DNA from different sources.â€
The study author further explains that the team created water-based DNA solutions, and when this compound is â€œcoated on a surface â€” for instance, the glass slides or skin samples we used in the study â€” they dry out and form solid films.â€ He continues: â€œWhen we imaged them at high magnification (using a scanning electron microscope), we discovered that the films were made up of lots and lots of small â€” less than a micrometer â€” DNA crystals.â€
And the more the researchers exposed the thin and optically transparent DNA-based film to UV light, the better the film got at absorbing it. â€œIf you translate that, it means to me that if you use this as a topical cream or sunscreen, the longer that you stay out on the beach, the better it gets at being a sunscreen,â€ German added in a press release.
Along with investigating the possible healing properties a DNA film may have on wounds â€” German and his team theorize that this solution could be a viable treatment if you want to be able to see a wound healing without removing the dressing, if you want to protect the wound from the sun, and if you want to keep the wound in a moist environment, known to promote faster wound healing rates â€” theyâ€™re also expanding their probe on DNA sunscreen based on their latest findings, which were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
â€œOur current research is exploring ways to make these films better at attenuating UV [light],â€ concludes German. â€œWe are also examining how UV light alters the structure of the DNA films.â€