The Great Barrier Reef has been multi-tasking lately.
It’s been getting cosy with economists, taking selfies with Pirates of the Caribbean crew and even helping out with a world first skincare range.
The new range, created and named after Larissa Bright, has been designed to mimic coral’s natural molecular makeup and potentially save lives. Larissa said the idea bloomed when she realised far too many sunscreens had harmful toxins in them.
Living on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef – which has been protecting itself from our harsh sun for millions of years – led Larissa to The Australian Institute of Marine Technology, where her brilliant idea came to life.
“They told me about this natural phenomenon relating to the Great Barrier Reef, where the corals have developed their own natural sunscreen to protect themselves from Australian UV rays, which are the harshest in the world. I took this information to the CSIRO and we started working on UV filter molecules. These are small molecules that ensure really superior UV protection, not only for human skin and skin cancer but also for applications in paint, plastics and eyewear lenses to help prevent legal blindness,” Larissa says.
The technology behind Larissa’s world first photo protective molecules is astounding, with four global patents pending and some serious interest being drummed up, which Larissa says is “bringing Australian science to the world”.
“We’ve developed world first molecules for ultra-violet photoprotection for human skin. We’ve also developed visible light absorbing molecules,” Larissa says, enthusiasm and passion for her work ringing through every word.
“So, the blue sky technology is our visible light filtering technology. That will absorb certain visible light rays that can be detrimental to the skin or materials. This is a new phenomenon in protection for human beings and a lot of evidence points to the fact that we need to be absorbing these light rays to protect our skin, so we’re quite excited that we have these filters in our patent portfolio,”
This means that Larissa is not only helping to reduce skin cancer in Australia, she’s also helping sun-loving citizens worldwide.
“We’ve proven the efficacy of our molecules, we’ve proven that they’re world first technology and we’re providing a solution for a global problem,”
“For me, there’s no greater science than that in nature and right here in Queensland we have the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. It’s ironic that the answer is right on our doorstep.”
For innovators, creating anything that is a world first sounds daunting, but Larissa says that it’s important to “have a vision and a passion for your project”.
“You have to absolutely adore it and love it with that passion because it’s that passion that will see you through difficult times,” Larissa says, adding that those with a clear vision for what they want to do are often the ones that change the world.
To find out more about Larissa Bright’s UV filters, jump on over to her website or watch the incredible short video of her journey above.
Do you know a business person or community member doing extraordinary things in Townsville? Let us know!