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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003 Jun;48(6):866-74.

UV photoprotection by combination topical antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Virtually all plants and animals protect themselves from the sun using vitamins C and E.

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was to see if a combination of topical vitamins C and E is better for UV protection to skin than an equivalent concentration of topical vitamin C or E alone.

METHODS:

We developed a stable aqueous solution of 15% L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and 1% alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). We applied antioxidant or vehicle solutions to pig skin daily for 4 days. We irradiated (1-5x minimal erythema dose) control- and antioxidant-treated skin using a solar simulator with a 295-nm band-pass filter. On day 5, we measured antioxidant protection factor, erythema, sunburn cells, and thymine dimers.

RESULTS:

The combination of 15% L-ascorbic acid and 1% alpha-tocopherol provided significant protection against erythema and sunburn cell formation; either L-ascorbic acid or 1% alpha-tocopherol alone also was protective but the combination was superior. Application during 4 days provided progressive protection that yielded an antioxidant protection factor of 4-fold. In addition, the combination of vitamins C and E provided protection against thymine dimer formation.

CONCLUSION:

Appreciable photoprotection can be obtained from the combination of topical vitamins C and E. We suggest that these natural products may protect against skin cancer and photoaging.

PMID:
12789176
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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