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In vivo measurement of the photostability of sunscreen products using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy

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Background/Aim:

The issue of the photostability of sunscreens has been frequently raised because of the possible loss of photoprotection, mainly in the UVA range, during sun exposure. Up to now, in vitro techniques have been mainly proposed to evaluate photostability. These techniques have generated controversial debates concerning the predictive value of these in vitro observations in relation to the in vivo reality during sun exposure. Methods:

Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) is a recently developed technique that allows measurement of the UVA efficacy of sunscreen products in vivo on human volunteers. The absorption spectrum of the product is obtained by measuring the change in reflection of the skin with and without product. From this absorption spectrum, the UVA protective efficacy of the test product can be calculated for an appropriate source and a given biological action spectrum. We have used the DRS technique in vivo to determine the photostability of sunscreen products by measuring reflection spectra in the UVA range (320–400 nm) before and after product application and before and after UV exposure of the test products. Comparison between these spectra or between the corresponding calculated UVA protection factors has made it possible to determine the remaining level of protection in the UVA range after exposure. This study was designed to compare in vivo the protective efficiency and the photostability of three marketed sunscreen products (SPF 23–30) after solar-simulated exposure for SPF testing or after actual sun exposure. These in vivo data were then compared to in vitro photoinstability results. Results:

According to the in vitro measurements, one sunscreen product was found photostable and two products photo-unstable. After UVe exposure for in vivo SPF determination, a decrease in UVA absorption and UVA-PF was observed for the two photo-unstable products, while the photostable product did not present any decrease in UVA absorption. These results were confirmed through exposure to actual sun. Conclusion:

Our study confirms the prediction of the in vitro methods previously used to assess the photostability of sunscreen products. In addition, DRS provides a powerful new tool for the in vivo simultaneous evaluation of photostability and estimation of the UVA protection factor of sunscreen products performed during the test for SPF determination.
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Keywords: UVA protection; diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS); in vivo; photostability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: L'Oréal Research, Clichy, France

Publication date: 2002-02-01

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