Future of sunscreen: a pill could provide weeks of protection

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Slathering on sunscreen could soon become a thing of the past as scientists in the UK are aiming to create a sunscreen pill that could offer weeks of protection from the sun's harmful rays.

The secret to a better sunscreen may lie under the sea as the researchers aim to harness coral's natural defense again the sun in a tablet form for humans.

A research team from King's College London headed to Australia's Great Barrier Reef to study a few samples of the endangered Acropora coral, according to the BBC on Tuesday. Their goal is to synthesis the coral's protective components - components which scientists have revealed not only protect the coral but also the fish feeding on them - to first create a lotion to test on human skin, and then a tablet version. The BBC reports that human testing could begin soon.

What this possibly holds for the future is built-in sun protection for not only your skin but eyes just by swallowing a tablet. The Guardian in the UK reported that the pill could be available in as soon as five years.

Looking to the sea to find clues to a better sunscreen isn't a new concept. Scientists have discovered that a natural antioxidant called astaxanthin found in red ocean plants and animals such as salmon can help minimize the sun's damage, and is particularly beneficial for patients with skin cancer, according to research. A supplement form is available but its recommended usage for skin protection is in combination with sunscreen and limited exposure to the sun.

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