Article by: Perry Romanowski

One of the problems facing sunscreen formulators is that many of the chemical UV filters can cause contact allergies in a large group of consumers. So, you can formulate an excellent product that can not be used by a high percentage of your potential population. This is unfortunate, especially since sunscreen is one of the most useful cosmetics/drugs that you can create. It’s also becoming more and more common to include UV protectors in all types of cosmetics so this could potential limit the market of other product forms.

Well, this story from researchers at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of technology may provide some promising news. They found a substance in bacteria that might lead to sunscreens which do not produce the allergic reaction.

The bacterial produced UV blocker they discovered is called scytonemin. Theoretically, it will not cause the sensitization that other UV blockers can cause. Of course, this is really early research and it is not known how well it would actually work in a cosmetic.

Interesting stuff and evidence that there is still research going on in the cosmetic field. Although, I should note that I doubt this is kind of research that would be done at a company. Getting useable results is just too far off in the future. Hopefully, they have some government or corporate sponsor because finding a new, less allergenic UV filter would be a good thing.


  1. Avatar
    Arielle Le Beau

    I’m a senior at Monmouth University, currently studying biology with a minor in chemistry and concentration in marine/environmental science. I found this article very intriguing since I would like to break into the field of cosmetic chemistry and still utilize my background in marine and environmental science. I was hoping you could advise me in where I should apply for jobs in this field and if it requires a masters in cosmetic science.

    I hope to hear from you!

    1. Avatar

      I would suggest you look at the ‘Career’ category on the right side of this blog. It has numerous articles about getting started as a cosmetic chemist. If you still have questions, let me know. As far as a Masters degree goes, you don’t necessarily need one but they can be useful.

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