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What?! Sunscreen from Cashews?

by kelly / August, 21 2019 01:30

Photo of cashews on a white plate

A team of scientists recently found an environmentally friendly way to make a sunscreen. How? They used cashew nut shells. Now that’s impressive – it’s both sustainable and natural. Now it’s not an approved sunscreen active yet, so you won’t see it in sunscreens replacing UV filters, but maybe in time it will become one.

Cashew Nut Shells as Sunscreen

Green chemists in South Africa from the University of the Witwatersrand in partnership with scientists from universities in Germany, Malawi, and Tanzania, are looking for novel ways to produce resources from waste. The technique they are using is called xylochemistry or wood chemistry – a technique that produces useful compounds from wood and other fast growing non-edible plant waste.

In this case the chemists are using cashew nut shells, a waste product in the cashew-farming community - especially in Tanzania, to produce new compounds that shows good UVA and UVB absorbance.

Their hope is that this discovery can be applied to humans or livestock to protect against the sun’s harmful rays.

The team filed a patent in South Africa around this discovery with plans to commercialize the process. I’m not sure if and when we in the US will also be able to benefit but it’s interesting.

Of course, at Block Island Organics we do mineral-only sunscreens and we’re certainly excited to see other potential natural UV filters made available.

More Breakthrough Studies

It’s pretty amazing to me what these scientists are doing – turning waste into good and protecting our environment and our skin!

There seems to be a lot of amazing sun protection and sunscreen research happening around the world. So don’t forget to check for the latest updates in suncare in our Suncare Smarts and Studies blog posts.

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