Potential of Skin Microbiome, Pro- and/or Pre-Biotics to Affect Local Cutaneous Responses to UV Exposure

Nutrients. 2020 Jun 17;12(6):1795. doi: 10.3390/nu12061795.


The human skin hosts innumerable microorganisms and maintains homeostasis with the local immune system despite the challenges offered by environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation (UVR). UVR causes cutaneous alterations such as acute (i.e., sunburn) and chronic inflammation, tanning, photoaging, skin cancer, and immune modulation. Phototherapy on the other hand is widely used to treat inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, polymorphic light eruption and graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), as well as neoplastic skin diseases such as cutaneous T cell lymphoma, among others. Previous work has addressed the use of pro- and pre-biotics to protect against UVR through anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic and/or pro-and contra-melanogenic properties. Herein, we discuss and share perspectives of the potential benefits of novel treatment strategies using microbes and pro- and pre-biotics as modulators of the skin response to UVR, and how they could act both for protection against UVR-induced skin damage and as enhancers of the UVR-driven therapeutic effects on the skin.

Keywords: photobiology; photoimmunology; prebiotics; probiotics; skin inflammation; skin microbiome; ultraviolet radiation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Humans
  • Microbiota*
  • Phototherapy / methods*
  • Prebiotics*
  • Probiotics / pharmacology*
  • Skin / microbiology*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Prebiotics