Sóliome produces non-toxic, biodegradable sunscreen based on the UV-protection provided by kynurenine molecules.


  • Non-toxic
  • Biocompatible
  • UV protection


  • Skin protection
  • Cosmetics

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

  • Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

  • Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption

  • Goal 14: Life Below Water

The Challenge

Humans of all cultures have long known that the sun’s rays can damage your skin. To prevent sunburn we’ve used many techniques, but over the past hundred years, synthetic chemical sunscreen has grown, worldwide. As a result, tons of sunscreen has slithered off peoples’ bodies into the ocean. There, the chemicals that were helpful to protect human skin from ultraviolet light have wrought havoc on marine life. These compounds can persist for a long time in the environment and in our bodies, where they may have a much more harmful impact than they do on the surface of our skin.

Innovation Details

Researchers at Sóliome are producing more nature-friendly sunscreens based on the naturally sun-blocking chemistry of kynurenines found in our own eyes.

To keep these natural sunscreen molecules where they will be most protective––resting on our skin, instead of being absorbed into our bodies––researchers attach additional bio-inspired compounds to the kynurenines to build molecules that are too large to penetrate through skin.

Even if the kynurenines were absorbed, they are natural products that don’t pose the same risks as the synthetic alternatives, and they biodegrade quickly.


video thumbnail

Biological Model

To protect our sensitive retinas from UV damage, animals make use of a suite of chemicals called kynurenines that concentrate in the lenses of our eyes. As incoming photons of UV light hit kynurenine molecules, they spark changes that cause different parts of the molecule to swell with negative electrical charge. This causes positively-charged protons to ricochet like billiard balls through the kynurenine’s spindly molecular structure. This dissipates the potentially harmful UV radiation into safe vibrational energy before it can hit and damage DNA.

Ray of Hope Prize®

The Ray of Hope Prize celebrates nature-inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges. Created in honor of Ray C. Anderson, founder of Interface, Inc. and a business and sustainability leader, the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize helps startups cross a critical threshold in becoming viable businesses by amplifying their stories and providing them with equity-free funding. The prize shines a light on the innovative, nature-inspired solutions that we need to build a sustainable and resilient world. Sóliome was selected as a finalist for the 2022 Ray of Hope Prize.