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Mutat Res. 2003 Sep 29;530(1-2):19-26.

Photomutagenicity of cosmetic ingredient chemicals azulene and guaiazulene.

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Department of Chemistry, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS 39217, USA.


The photomutagenicity of the popular skin conditioning agents azulene and guaiazulene were tested in Salmonella typhimurium TA98, TA100 and TA102. Following irradiation with UVA and/or visible light, both azulene and guaiazulene exhibited mutagenicity 4-5-fold higher than the spontaneous background mutation. In contrary, naphthalene, a structural isomer of azulene, was not photomutagenic under the same conditions. Azulene was photomutagenic when irradiated with UVA light alone, visible light alone, or a combination of UVA and visible light. Azulene and guaiazulene are not mutagenic when the experiment is conducted with the exclusion of light. Therefore, extreme care must be taken when using cosmetic products with azulene/guaiazulene as ingredients since after applying these products on the skin, exposure to sunlight is inevitable.

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