Plant-Based Sunscreen News

We here at SeaLuxe sure love our science! As some of you may know, it’s how this little company started – when founder Tanya Droege researched the effects of consuming seaweed as a supplementary cancer treatment.

It is with great delight we read that scientists at Oregon State University recently found a potential new plant-based ingredient for sunscreen. Meadowfoam is a plant cultivated just south of the border from SeaLuxe headquarters, in Washington State and Oregon. It produces an oil used in shampoos and cosmetics. This process, however, creates quite a bit of plant waste which is used by farmers as a herbicide (meadowfoam’s plant waste is toxic to animals).

Farmers noticed inconsistent results. Sometimes the herbicide worked, sometimes it didn’t. And there didn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason. A sample of soil was taken to the university for study. Researchers found that the bacteria needed to break down the plant waste wasn’t always present. The beautiful thing about research is that sometimes other discoveries are made. Scientists found that the breakdown process of meadowfoam created compounds with anti-cancer and sunlight-protectant properties.

They set up a 3-D facsimile of human skin and exposed it to ultraviolet B radiation (the more harmful of the sun’s rays). They found the meadowfoam derivatives reduced the UV damage. The OSU team is working with Natural Plant Products Inc. in Oregon to make a natural sunscreen.

This could be huge. While we all know wearing sunscreen is a necessary part of pro-skin health, it doesn’t come without its cons. Conventional sunscreen contains many chemicals such as oxybenzone which is considered to be an endocrine disruptor (this can reduce sperm count in men and is thought to be related to endometriosis in women). Oxybenzone is also toxic to corals, algae, fish, sea urchins, and other mammals that live in the ocean. And that’s just one of the many chemicals in sunscreen!

Seaweed also contains a compound that could also lead the way into natural sunscreens. We wrote about that here.

We’ll keep you posted when we hear updates on seaweed or meadowfoam-based sunscreen. How great would it be to get away from slathering chemicals on our skin?!