Nutraceutical strategies for alleviation of UVB phototoxicity

Exp Dermatol. 2023 Jun;32(6):722-730. doi: 10.1111/exd.14777. Epub 2023 Mar 8.


Ultraviolet B exposure to keratinocytes promotes carcinogenesis by inducing pyrimidine dimer lesions in DNA, suppressing the nucleotide excision repair mechanism required to fix them, inhibiting the apoptosis required for the elimination of initiated cells, and driving cellular proliferation. Certain nutraceuticals - most prominently spirulina, soy isoflavones, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, the green tea catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and Polypodium leucotomos extract - have been shown to oppose photocarcinogenesis, as well as sunburn and photoaging, in UVB-exposed hairless mice. It is proposed that spirulina provides protection in this regard via phycocyanobilin-mediated inhibition of Nox1-dependent NADPH oxidase; that soy isoflavones do so by opposing NF-κB transcriptional activity via oestrogen receptor-beta; that the benefit of eicosapentaenoic acid reflects decreased production of prostaglandin E2; and that EGCG counters UVB-mediated phototoxicity via inhibition of the epidermal growth factor receptor. The prospects for practical nutraceutical down-regulation of photocarcinogenesis, sunburn, and photoaging appear favourable.

Keywords: UVB; ageing; non-melanoma skin cancer; nutraceuticals; photo carcinogenesis; phototoxicity; phycocyanobilin; sunburn.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Isoflavones*
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Sunburn*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects


  • Isoflavones