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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2014 Apr 5;133:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2014.02.018. Epub 2014 Mar 12.

Detecting free radicals in sunscreens exposed to UVA radiation using chemiluminescence.

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CSIRO Advanced Materials TCP (Nanosafety), CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering, Geelong Technology Precinct, Deakin University, 75, Pigdons Road, Waurn Ponds, VIC 3216, Australia. Electronic address:
CSIRO Advanced Materials TCP (Nanosafety), CSIRO Animal, Food and Health Sciences, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Australia.


One of the current concerns with the application of nanoparticles in sunscreens, and in particular nano-TiO2 and ZnO, is their potential to photogenerate free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) when they absorb ultraviolet wavelengths from sunlight. Free radicals and ROS are known to be associated with UV-induced skin damage and oxidative stress, from which sunscreens are expected to offer significant protection. Here we describe a simple method, based on chemiluminescence emission, for detecting free radicals generated in commercial sunscreens alone, and when applied to various substrates, following exposure to UVA (320-400nm) radiation. This photo-induced chemiluminescence (PICL) technique could be used to optimise sunscreen formulations so as to minimise free radical photogeneration during exposure to sunlight.


Chemiluminescence; Free radicals; Keratin; Nanoparticles; Photocatalysis; Skin; Sunscreen

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