Becca Rose
Updated Aug 06, 2017 @ 3:42 pm
Credit: Getty Images

We all know how important sunscreen is. It protects your face from prematurely aging. It keeps dreaded, painful sunburn at bay. Most importantly, it’s your number one defense against skin cancer! So if you’re not already incorporating some SPF into your daily routine, you probably know you should be. But one of the hardest parts of practicing good sunscreen habits is the need to reapply. Depending on your activity level, it can be a lot. So that’s why we’re so intrigued by a new breakthrough that mixes sunscreen with…DNA.

Thanks to a few enterprising dermatoepidemiologists (yeah, say that ten times fast!), there’s a possibility that DNA sunscreen could become a thing. UV rays can cause cancer, which is why you always want to look for a sunscreen product that blocks those. But nothing’s one hundred perfect foolproof, so those scientists got to thinking and came up with a genius (and sort of gross!) idea.

There’s a lot of complicated ideas behind this, but we’ll try to break it down for you.

Researchers at Binghamton University had a weird thought and followed it through. They decided to expose a film of DNA to UV rays and see what happened. Apparently it’s possible to make DNA into a stretchy film-like substance, so that’s what they did. Don’t ask what kind of DNA they used. You don’t wanna know. (It was salmon…sperm. Major EW.) Then they stuck is under UV light and measured the consequences.

Their research showed that the DNA film actually became stronger and more resilient the longer it was exposed to the light. While the film itself showed signs of sun damage, nothing beneath it was affected. Which is crazy! Imagine putting on a sunscreen that clung to your body like a second skin, and only got stronger in blocking sun damage as your beach day went on. Sounds like a scientific breakthrough in the making. But don’t worry, if it becomes a reality, it probably won’t be made out of salmon stuff. They’ve got a ways to go to take it from theoretical film to actuality. But maybe one day!