Public release date: 1-Jun-2011
With those months of blazing summer sunshine head, scientists are reporting that an extract of the honeysuckle plant could make a highly-effective natural coating for clothing designed to protect people from exposure to potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Their report appears in ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
Ren-Cheng Tang and Sha-Sha Sun note the growing trend among consumers — concerned about the risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin — toward relying on clothing for protection from the sun ultra-violet rays. Natural UV-protection coatings can have advantages, including production in a more sustainable fashion with less environmental impact. They note that honeysuckle has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds and fever. An ingredient in honeysuckle is used to preserve food and as additive in cosmetics to keep the skin looking younger. In their new study, the scientists wanted to see whether honeysuckle extract could boost wool’s ability to block UV rays.
They found that wool coated with honeysuckle extract blocked UV rays much more effectively than untreated wool, giving the fabric a high UV protection factor. The extract was durable and remained active on wool, even after a long exposure to sunlight and laundering. The researchers conclude that honeysuckle extract shows significant potential as a natural UV-blocking agent for clothing.