Introduction to photobiology

Dermatol Clin. 2014 Jul;32(3):255-66, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Apr 24.


Photobiology is the study of the local and systemic effects of incident radiation on living organisms. Solar radiation is made up of ultraviolet, visible and infrared radiation. Ultraviolet radiation is made up of UV-C, UV-B, and UV-A. Sun exposure can lead to sunburn, tanning, vitamin D production, photoaging, and carcinogenesis. Phototherapy is the use of nonionizing radiation to treat cutaneous disease. Various types of artificial light sources are used for photo testing and phototherapy.

Keywords: Melanogenesis; Photoaging; Photobiology; Phototherapy; Sunburn; Ultraviolet light; Ultraviolet radiation; Vitamin D production.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Photobiology / methods*
  • Sunburn / prevention & control*
  • Sunscreening Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Sunscreening Agents