Lignin from plants boosts effectiveness of sunscreen
Natural ingredient could boost product performance
A major waste product of the paper industry – Lingin—may one day be used to enhance the effectiveness of sunscreen report scientists who have published their findings in the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.
As consumer trends move towards natural ingredients consumers are searching for better product performance that comes from natural rather than chemical sources to protect themselves from sun damage. As a step toward meeting this demand, scientists have added compounds from a variety of sources, including green coffee, soy and papaya to sunscreens. Shiping Zhu, Xueqing Qiu and colleagues wanted to test different kinds of lignin for their potential as an enhancer.
The researchers showed that out of five types of lignin tested, organosolv lignin improved the sun protection factor (SPF) of sunblock the most. Sunscreen containing just one percent of this compound had double the lotion’s original SPF—it went from 15 to 30%. A lotion with 10% organosolv lignin increased SPF even further, from 15 to almost 92, but excessive amounts of hydrophilic lignin such as lignosulfonate caused the product to start separating. More work is needed, but the results represent a promising first step toward the development of lignin-containing sunscreen, say the researchers.