The Future of UV Protection

The Future of UV Protection

Melwear by biodesigner and research Maca Barrera pioneers a new approach to UV protection by utilising microbes to shield our bodies from harmful UV radiation.

UV radiation is a significant environmental stressors that can cause sunburn, photoaging and ultimately cancer. Melwear, a speculative project, envisions a future where instead of traditional garments, we wear second skins embedded with microbial properties to help our bodies become more adaptable and resilient to climate change. 

Maca Barrera, aims to push the boundaries of UV protection by exploring innovative solutions. Melwear focuses on the potential of bacterial melanin, a natural and biodegradable pigment found in various organisms and microorganisms. This pigment can be used to create natural sunscreen with UV absorbance and antioxidant properties. Similarly, Jen Keane showcased the integration of melanin into trainers for added colour. 

Maca’s vision involves a body membrane with encapsulated bacterial melanin, forming a protective barrier on the skin. This second skin reacts to the environmental conditions, adapting to the geographical location and UV radiation levels. It provides long-lasting and efficient protection by gradually darkening in response to increased UV exposure.

Melwear represents a shift towards an integrated approach to preventing UV damage, applying biotechnology and material science innovations to meet both human and planet needs. At Haeckels, we’re always eager to explore new ways for our products to adapt to evolving scenarios. 

This project is being developed in collaboration with The Making Lab at The Francis Crick Institute.