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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2011 Apr 15;508(2):144-51. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Dec 11.

Natural agents: cellular and molecular mechanisms of photoprotection.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


The skin is the largest organ of the body that produces a flexible and self-repairing barrier and protects the body from most common potentially harmful physical, environmental, and biological insults. Solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is one of the major environmental insults to the skin and causes multi-tiered cellular and molecular events eventually leading to skin cancer. The past decade has seen a surge in the incidence of skin cancer due to changes in life style patterns that have led to a significant increase in the amount of UV radiation that people receive. Reducing excessive exposure to UV radiation is desirable; nevertheless this approach is not easy to implement. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel strategies to reduce the adverse biological effects of UV radiation on the skin. A wide variety of natural agents have been reported to possess substantial skin photoprotective effects. Numerous preclinical and clinical studies have elucidated that natural agents act by several cellular and molecular mechanisms to delay or prevent skin cancer. In this review article, we have summarized and discussed some of the selected natural agents for skin photoprotection.

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