Objective: The objective of the study was to investigate whether a topical antioxidant complex containing vitamins C and E and ferulic acid can protect solar-simulated ultraviolet irradiation (ssUVR)-induced acute photodamage in human skin.
Method: Twelve healthy female Chinese subjects were enrolled in this study. Four unexposed sites on dorsal skin were marked for the experiment. The products containing antioxidant complex and vehicle were applied onto 2 sites, respectively, for 4 consecutive days. On day 4, the antioxidant complex-treated site, the vehicle-treated site, and the untreated site (positive control) received ssUVR (5 times the minimal erythema dose). The fourth site (negative control) received neither ssUVR nor treatment. Digital photographs were taken, and skin color was measured pre- and postirradiation. Skin biopsies were obtained 24 hours after exposure to ssUVR, for hematoxylin and eosin and immunohistochemical staining.
Results: A single, 5 times the minimal erythema dose of ssUVR substantially induced large amounts of sunburn cell formation, thymine dimer formation, overexpression of p53 protein, and depletion of CD1a+ Langerhans cells. The antioxidant complex containing vitamins C and E and ferulic acid conferred significant protection against biological events compared with other irradiated sites.
Conclusion: A topical antioxidant complex containing vitamins C and E and ferulic acid has potential photoprotective effects against ssUVR-induced acute photodamage in human skin.