Lignin is a complex polymer that is derived from wood and the cell walls of plants and algae. It is a good absorber of ultraviolet radiation and broad spectrum sun blocker. It contains ultraviolet-absorbing phenols, ketones, and other chromophores, and is an excellent natural antioxidant. It has not been used in sunscreens previously because of safety concerns.
Recent studies by Xueqig Qiu from South China University of Technology and Shiping Zhu from McMaster University have declared that certain types of lignin are safe to be used in sunscreen. The team also discovered that the performances of the sunscreens with lignin in them improved after ultraviolet exposure. This means sunscreens could eventually improve after sun exposure. Studies are being done to understand how this occurs.
Although there is more research to be done, these findings could be the beginning of new sunscreens that are more potent than ever before!