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Wine by-product found to make a great sunscreen

Thursday 16 Dec 2010 5:20 p.m.

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By Jessica Rowe

Marlborough's sauvignon blanc grapes may have produced their cheekiest bottle yet.

Researchers have found the grape seeds make an excellent sunscreen lotion, to protect the skin from the sun's harmful UV rays.

Marlborough produces the bulk of the country's sauvignon grapes - once the wine's been made, there's an abundance of grape seeds left over. New scientific findings show the wine by-product is highly effective at preventing UV rays that harm the skin.

"This is a really, really exciting result because this is the first time, this has a protective effect against UV right down at the very protein level," says Dr Jolan Dyer.

AgResearch is working with a company which already uses Marlborough sauvignon blanc grapes for various health products.

Skin care companies are excited by the results that the grapes could be useful as a sun block too.

"It's really exciting that they are coming up with extracts that can compete with anything else internationally," says Elizabeth Barbalich, "i think from such a simple product – grapes - you can get such a sophisticated ingredient."

AgReseach is not stopping there - they're hoping to find other protection elements in the grape seed.

"What we would like to do now is how the extract protects the lipids in your skin, which affect a lot of the properties of your skin - such as moisture retention, and also aging of your skin," says Dr Dyer.

Scientists are hopeful that what was once a waste product will now become the basis of an exciting new skincare product.

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