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Heavy weight sunscreen

December 18, 2009

Extreme Sunscreen Required. Photo from

I just had to share this little story with you!  While doing a little web-browsing I found  this article outlining how Hippo’s protect themselves from the sun. These magnificent creatures secrete a slippery reddish fluid which turns brown and hardens so as to protect the hippo’s sensitive skin from the elements. The gelatinous secretion consists of acidic pigments that can absorb ultraviolet light – rather like our man-made organic UV filters – only these chemicals double up as  insect repellents  and anti-bacterial agent to boot!

It looks like the Hippo actually makes its own sunscreen pigments by utilizing the  amino-acid tyrosine to kick start the reaction.  Human skin also utilizes tyrosine to initiate melanin production – our natural sunscreen.

It seems that the only difference between the Hippo and Humans is dose – the hippo seems to get it right every time!

Isn’t nature wonderful?

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