Infrared A radiation (IRA) from solar sunlight contributes to photoaging of human skin, e.g. by upregulating MMP-1 expression in dermal fibroblasts, indicating the need for photoprotection of human skin against IRA. Up to now, however, there has been no controlled study to show that effective protection of human skin against IRA radiation is possible. Here, we have conducted a randomized, controlled, double-blinded prospective study in 30 healthy volunteers to assess the capacity of an SPF 30 sunscreen versus the same sunscreen supplemented with an antioxidant cocktail containing grape seed extract, vitamin E, ubiquinone and vitamin C to protect human skin against IRA radiation-induced MMP-1 upregulation. As expected, exposure to IRA radiation significantly upregulated MMP-1 expression, as compared to unirradiated skin, and this response was significantly reduced, if the SPF30 sunscreen plus the antioxidant cocktail had been applied prior to IRA radiation. In contrast, treatment of human skin with the SPF30 sunscreen alone did not provide significant protection. These results indicate that topically applied antioxidants effectively protect human skin against IRA radiation and that regular sunscreens need to be supplemented with specific antioxidants in order to achieve IRA photoprotection.
© 2014 The American Society of Photobiology.