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Effectiveness of antioxidants (vitamin C and E) with and without sunscreens as topical photoprotectants.

Darr D, et al. Acta Derm Venereol. 1996.

Abstract

Considerable interest has been recently generated concerning the use of natural compounds, anti-oxidants in particular, in photoprotection. Two of the best known anti-oxidants are vitamins C and E, both of which have been shown to be somewhat effective in different models of photodamage. Very little has been reported, however, on the effectiveness of a combination of the two (known to be biologically the more relevant situation); nor have there been detailed studies on the ability of these antioxidants to augment commercial sunscreen protection against UV damage. We report that (in swine skin) vitamin C is capable of additive protection against acute UVB damage (sunburn cell formation) when combined with a UVB sunscreen. A combination of both vitamins E and C provided very good protection from a UVB insult, the bulk of the protection attributable to vitamin E. However, vitamin C is significantly better than vitamin E at protecting against a UVA-mediated phototoxic insult in this animal model, while the combination is only slightly more effective than vitamin C alone. When vitamin C or a combination of vitamin C and E is formulated with a commercial UVA sunscreen (oxybenzone), an apparently greater than additive protection is noted against the phototoxic damage. These results confirm the utility of anti-oxidants as photoprotectants but suggest the importance of combining the compounds with known sunscreens to maximize photoprotection.

PMID

8869680 [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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