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Arch Dermatol Res. 2007 Dec;299(10):517-20. Epub 2007 Oct 25.

Quantification of ultraviolet protective effects of pityriacitrin in humans.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Gudrunstr 56, Bochum, Germany.


Pityriacitrin (PIT), produced by Malassezia yeasts, is an UV absorbing substance that might cause hypopigmentation in pityriasis versicolor alba. We aimed to investigate the UV protective effect of PIT in humans using in vitro and in vivo test methods. Spectrophotometry of PIT cream and the vehicle was performed in the wavelength range from 290 to 400 nm. UV transmission and the sun protection factor (SPF) were assessed for different cream formulations. Using colorimetry we evaluated erythema and pigmentation following irradiation of cream-protected and non-protected skin of healthy subjects. UVB as well as UVA transmission decreased with increasing PIT concentrations. An increase of PIT concentration of 1.25, 2.5, and 5% was associated with slightly increasing SPFs of 1.4, 1.5, and 1.7, respectively. Our in vivo tests confirmed the validity of the SPF of PIT 5% cream determined in vitro. In conclusion, the UV protective effect of PIT is all in all very weak suggesting that PIT is likely only an inferior cofactor in the development of hypopigmentation in pityriasis versicolor alba lesions following sun exposure.

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