Science & Skin

Do you know why fish don't buy sunscreen?

Fish mucus as a source of cosmetic inspiration

It may sound like a playground joke, but while it may seem absurd to you, the question is actually quite interesting.

Always inspired by the best of what nature has developed over the course of its evolution, Mibelle Biochemistry has studied the scientific literature on living organisms close to the surface, such as corals and reef fish. We found that these species use their mucus to protect themselves from external aggression.

Mucus is a gelatinous, slippery substance with a complex composition, some components of which come from the fish's diet. It not only protects fish against bacterial and parasitic infections or to glide more easily through the water, but also acts as a veritable sunscreen!

Porphyra red algae (Porphyra umbilicalis) is an organism that lives in shallow water or on the beach at low tide, where it is exposed to extreme UV radiation. It produces the most powerful UV-absorbing substances in nature: mycosporins (MAAs), which are probably the most effective family of natural UVA filters in marine ecosystems.

Porphyra 334 is the major mycosporin, which when isolated absorbs light maximally at 334 nm wavelenght which is in the UVA with a strong molar absorption coefficient.

Porphyra Umbilicalis algae and mycosporine Porphyra 334
Cosmetic formula bio-inspired by mucus

By eating algae, surface fish assimilate mycosporins, which are then concentrated to their mucus protecting them from the harmful effects of UVs. Basically, their mucus is considered as a natural solar formulaSo now you know why fish don't need sunscreen!

Our Helioguard™ 365 and Noriguard nc active ingredients have been developed from an extract of the red algae Porphyra umbilicalis, and are rich in MAAs.

Mibelle Biochemistry, supported by the Labosphère formulation laboratory, set itself the challenge of developing a cosmetic formula bio-inspired by mucus. This formula, containing 0.5% Noriguard nc, overturns the standards and codes of the cosmetics industry by pushing back intellectual barriers and classical rules in favor of a bio-inspired innovation, having 99.38% of natural-origin content and mimicking efficient solutions from nature.

This surprising proof of concept demonstrates that the simple observation of living organisms can lead to bio-inspired breakthrough innovations in unsuspected fields of application...


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Written by

Ph.D Stéphane Poigny