Many chemicals present in beauty products such as parabens or phthalates cause undesirable toxic effects in humans and the environment. Even UV filter molecules present in sunscreen creams designed to protect against sunlight exposure are absorbed by the body causing disruptive effects on the endocrine system. To address this issue, the EU-funded TARASÓL project developed an innovative sunscreen formulation that is purely organic and risk-fee. The filter has been designed, developed and commercialised by the Icelandic company Taramar. As founder and CEO of Taramar, Prof. Gudrun Marteinsdottir explains, “TARASÓL is the result of years of basic research in marine biology and nutritional science leading to novel knowledge on the functional properties of seaweed.″ Employing seaweed properties for sunscreen The Taramar team of scientists generated a method for producing water-based skincare products utilising unique compounds with beneficial properties for skin and body. The science has been conducted in collaboration with European and USA universities and research institutes. Most of the results have been published in scientific journals. Research results showed that the Icelandic seaweed has antioxidant powers similar to green tea and cranberries. Seaweed extracts have the capacity to stimulate immunomodulating responses and protect skin cells from aging. After overcoming a number of research and development challenges, Taramar scientists successfully produced a UV filter that avoids the toxic and harmful chemicals currently used in most beauty products in the market. At the same time, they discovered safe and natural methods to preserve the functional properties of the seaweed bioactive molecules while prohibiting microbial growth with the NoTox™ technology. As a result, the TARASÓL UV filter lacks conventional preservatives and is 100 % safe for skin and body. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of seaweed provide additional and clearly visible benefits to the skin. Furthermore, researchers observed that some organic compounds such as collagen and vitamin C cannot be easily transferred over cell membranes. Therefore, they encapsulated the seaweed components in a liposome-based delivery system that stabilises and releases the bioactive UV filter upon sunlight exposure. Taking TARASÓL to the market Like all the other formulas developed by Taramar, the innovative TARASÓL product is a fully natural formulation that renders it technically edible and stable at room temperature for more than a year. “There is nothing similar to TARASÓL on the market today,″ states Prof. Marteinsdottir. According to Prof. Marteinsdottir, the next step of Taramar is to “optimize all processes, set up the production and the market and distribution.″ The organic personal care and cosmetics global market is estimated to grow at approximately 10 % per year, with organic sunscreens calculated to be worth nearly EUR 200 million per year. TARASÓL is expected to be a commercial success, significantly increasing the company’s revenue and doubling the number of jobs by year 2023. Considering the health-related impact of cosmetic chemicals on endocrine function and fertility, TARASÓL provides a safer alternative, giving the opportunity to people to stay in the sun without compromising their health.
TARASÓL, seaweed, UV filter, antioxidant, bioactive, anti-inflammatory, liposome, NoTox™ technology