Natural Sunscreen Made With... Hippo Sweat?!

hippo baby sun photo

Photo: Flickr, CC

Biomimicry Strikes Again

Among mammals, hippos are king when it comes to standing in the hot sun all day without getting burned. How do they do it? According to a new study, hippo sweat, a red-colored glandular secretion, contains microscopic structures that scatter light, protecting hippos from the sun. "In the future, scientists hope to create a product inspired by hippo sweat that we may be slathering on our bodies before long. The stuff could be an advertiser's dream." Read on for more details.

hippo drinking photo

Photo: Flickr, CC

From Discovery News:

"It would be nice to also try and replicate the antiseptic and insect-repellent characteristics of the sweat, to obtain a four-in-one product: sunscreen, sunblock, antiseptic, insect repellent," co-author Christopher Viney told Discovery News.

"Just so long as the stuff doesn't smell like hippo," added Viney, a professor in the School of Engineering at the University of California, Merced.

On top of being natural (and clever), this hippo sweat sunscreen might actually be more effective than what we have now. Indeed, studies have shown that while most sunscreens block UVB rays, they often do a bad job of blocking UVA rays (SPF numbers are for UVB only).

Via Discovery News

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