In vivo SPF from multifunctional sunscreen systems developed with natural compounds-A review

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Jul 10. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13609. Online ahead of print.


Background: The use of sunscreens is mandatory, especially in countries with high ultraviolet (UV) incidence. In consequence, there has been a growing interest in using compounds from natural sources to develop new multifunctional products that protect human skin from the consequences of UV exposition. Even though there are in vitro methods to determine anti-UV efficacy, it is still required to test photoprotection activity on human skin to validate product performance.

Aim and methods: In this review, we summarized all reported clinical studies about sun protection factor (SPF) measurements of sunscreens with natural compounds. We also discussed the probable action mechanism of those actives.

Results: Herein, we provided an overview on recent studies concerning photoprotection activity of compounds from natural sources, for example, rutin, ferulic acid, caffeine, shea butter, and plant extracts, mainly presented in sunscreen systems with efficacy clinically established by SPF.

Conclusion: Our review suggested that even when the in vivo SPF evaluation has inherent difficulties, it is essential to assure the real efficacy of sunscreens. Furthermore, the incorporation of natural compounds could enhance the in vivo SPF values of such sunscreens by different mechanisms. Finally, some compounds derived from natural resources with skin benefits could be used as "green"/natural UV filters that provide broad-spectrum sunscreens with further upgrading of the multifunctional dermocosmetic formulation to enhance aesthetics and even skin health.

Keywords: botanical extracts; in vivo SPF; natural compounds; sunscreens.

Publication types

  • Review