We have previously shown that skin reconstructed in vitro is a useful model to study the effects of UVB and UVA exposure. Wavelength-specific biological damage has been identified such as the formation of sunburn cells (SBC) and pyrimidine dimers after UVB irradiation and alterations of dermal fibroblasts after UVA exposure. These specific effects were selected to evaluate the protection afforded by two sunscreens after topical application on the skin surface. Simplified formulations having different absorption spectra but similar sun protection factors were used. One contained a classical UVB absorber, 2-ethylhexyl-p-methoxycinnamate. The other contained a broad-spectrum absorber called Mexoryl® SX, characterized by its strong absorbing potency in the UVA range. Both filters were used at 5% in a simple water/oil vehicle. The evaluation of photoprotection on in vitro reconstructed skin revealed good efficiency for both preparations in preventing UVB-induced damage, as shown by SBC counting and pyrimidine dimer immunostaining. By contrast, only the Mexoryl® SX-containing preparation was able to efficiently prevent UVA-specific damage such as dermal fibroblast disappearance. Our data further support the fact that skin reconstructed in vitro is a reliable system to evaluate the photoprotection provided by different sunscreens against specific UVB and UVA biological damage.
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Vol. 71 • No. 3