About the only thing I am ever likely to agree with George H W Bush on is that broccoli is inedible. So if they get pulped to become a sunscreen ingredient that would be, in my opinion, a fitting fate. And, indeed, the vegetable has turned up in Verdure Matte Moisturizing Physical Sunscreen with Anti-oxidants.  Curiously, Verdure bills broccoli as an anti-oxidant along with red and green tea. The sunscreens are non-chemical zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. I find this a little odd because it has recently been discovered that broccoli has the properties of a very unique kind of sunscreen.

In tests on people and mice, broccoli extract successfully prevented cancer caused by light and it did so in a really interesting way. Sunscreens usually provide a barrier to either UV or UB rays. This means that they also block out vitamin D. Broccoli works by stimulating the body's own cancer protection mechanisms. And once they get switched on they can keep going for days after you've showered off the sunscreen. Best of all, you will be protected but not missing out your much-needed daily dose of D.

Verdure's coyness about using broccoli may be due to the fact that the research, conducted at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, is so new. The other problem that may slow down the use of broccoli in sunscreens is that the pigment, which could give you a Martian hue, is difficult to remove.

UPDATE 5/6/2008: I ordered a tube of Verdure Matte and it has just arrived. There is a huge laundry list of ingredients. Most of them are emollients and silicones. Unfortunately, there are two many known irritants as well: sodium hydroxide (very low levels will irritate); phenoxyethanol; ethylhexylglycerin; and hexylene glycol.