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A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2003 December;138(6):449-54

language: Italian

Skin photoprotective properties: enhancement by topical antioxidants

Nino M., Santoianni P.

Dipartimento di Patologia sistematica Sezione di Dermatologia Università degli Studi «Federico II», Napoli


UV cause mainly DNA photodamage and formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS); moreover since they produce immunological changes, they can induce modulation and depression of skin immunological response. On the other hand, UV have protective effects activated by irradiation itself and representing, with numerous and different factors, a natural defence against UV-damage. Solar exposure is an important risk factor, and especially 320 and 400 nm UV have a key-role, even if there is interaction with genetic elements. Chronic UV exposure is very important for inducing epitheliomas and skin photoaging; otherwise, severe and intense solar exposure can promote skin melanoma. Natural skin photoprotective properties include an endogenous pool formed by antioxidants, heat shock proteins (HSP), some cytokines, cytochrome P450 and other elements. Nevertheless, most natural photoprotective skin defences are inadequate after severe and prolonged UV exposure. Local and systemic photoprotection potentiate the natural skin pool. New data about natural skin photoprotective properties and how to control it are presented. Topical photoprotection studies about tocopherols, cysteine derivates, ascorbate, beta-carotene, taurine and enzyme systems as catalase and superoxydedismutase are described. The interdependence between the different antioxidants makes the modulation of the antioxidant pool possible: the change of one element improves topical therapy. The few studies on humans seem to have interesting therapeutical prospects.

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