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Arch Dermatol Res. 2012 Dec;304(10):817-21. doi: 10.1007/s00403-012-1257-x. Epub 2012 Jun 16.

Influence of certain ingredients on the SPF determined in vivo.

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Université de Nantes, Nantes Atlantique Universités, Nantes, France.


When determined in vitro, the SPF of certain commercial sunscreen products can be lower than the SPF indicated on the label. The study of the composition of this type of product enabled us to note that the majority contained substances reputed to have anti-inflammatory properties. This effect is shown by inhibiting the erythema, without protecting the skin, which constitutes a serious public health problem. The anti-inflammatory effects of αbisabolol-, allantoin- and 18-β-glycyrrhetinic acid-based emulsions, as well as commercial sun products containing any one of these molecules, have been tested with phorbol myristate acetate on mice. The effectiveness of these sunscreens products is quantified using two indicators: SPF (sun protection factor) and PF-UVA (protection factor-UVA) by in vitro method. We were thus able to show that certain sun products have an anti-inflammatory effect, which in turn causes the SPF value shown on the product to be overestimated, indeed sometimes by considerably large margins.

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