UVB photoprotection with antioxidants: effects of oral therapy with d-alpha-tocopherol and ascorbic acid on the minimal erythema dose

Acta Derm Venereol. 2002;82(1):21-4. doi: 10.1080/000155502753600830.


Ultraviolet radiation absorption is responsible for the production of free radicals in damaged cells. This side effect may be neutralized using antioxidant substances. It has been reported that ascorbic acid and d-alpha-tocopherol scavenge reactive oxygen species. In a single-blind controlled clinical trial we studied 45 healthy volunteers divided into three groups. Group 1 received d-alpha-tocopherol 1,200 I.U. daily; Group 2 ascorbic acid 2 g daily and Group 3 ascorbic acid 2 g plus d-alpha-tocopherol 1,200 I.U. daily. Treatment was sustained for one week. Before and after treatment, the minimal erythema dose was determined in all participants. The results show that the median minimal erythema dose increased from 60 to 65 mJ/cm2 in Group 1 and from 50 to 70 mJ/cm2 in Group 3. No modifications were observed in Group 2. We conclude that d-alpha-tocopherol prescribed in combination with ascorbic acid produces the best photoprotective effect.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Ascorbic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Probability
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Reference Values
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Skin Absorption / drug effects
  • Skin Absorption / radiation effects
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Sunburn / prevention & control*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • Ascorbic Acid