Percutaneous absorption of Mexoryl SX in human volunteers: comparison with in vitro data

Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. Nov-Dec 2003;16(6):343-55. doi: 10.1159/000072929.


The potential human health risk of UV filters depends on their toxicity and the human systemic exposure which is a function of the extent of percutaneous absorption of the topically applied substance into the human organism. Using a 'mass balance' approach, a study was designed to investigate the systemically absorbed dose of [(14)C]-Mexoryl SX((R)) in humans after topical application of a typical sunscreen emulsion. In addition, to assess the correlation with in vitro experiments, the percutaneous absorption of this UVA filter through isolated human skin was measured under identical exposure conditions. When applied in vivo for a period of 4 h, 89-94% of the applied radioactivity was recovered from the wash-off samples. In urine samples, the radioactivity slightly exceeded background levels and corresponded maximally to 0.014% of the topically applied dose. No radioactivity was measured in blood or faeces sampled up to 120 h after application. In vitro, 24 h after a 4-hour application, [(14)C]-Mexoryl SX remained primarily on the skin surface. The mean in vitro absorption over 24 h, adding up the amounts found in the dermis and receptor fluid, was 0.16% of the applied dose. It is concluded from the in vivo pharmacokinetic results that the systemically absorbed dose of [(14)C]-Mexoryl SX is less than 0.1%. The order of magnitude of this value correlates well with the corresponding in vitro data which overestimate the in vivo results as previously observed with other hydrophilic compounds. This study demonstrates that, under realistic exposure conditions, the human systemic exposure to this UVA filter is negligible and poses no risk to human health.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Camphanes
  • Camphor / administration & dosage
  • Camphor / analogs & derivatives*
  • Camphor / pharmacokinetics*
  • Diffusion
  • Diffusion Chambers, Culture
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mesylates / administration & dosage
  • Mesylates / pharmacokinetics*
  • Skin Absorption*
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage
  • Sunscreening Agents / pharmacokinetics*


  • Camphanes
  • Mesylates
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • terephthalylidene dicamphor sulfonic acid
  • Camphor