2005 Volume 28 Issue 12 Pages 2302-2307
It has been reported that application of sunscreens prevents the photoaging of skin in animal models and in humans. We irradiated the dorsal skin of hairless mice with ultraviolet-A (UVA), and investigated the effects of sunscreens on skin elastase activity and on skin properties. Six-week-old female HR/ICR hairless mice were used in these experiments. After being treated with either a UVA sunscreen (also containing ultraviolet-B (UVB) sunscreen to eliminate any slight UVB in the UVA lamps; Protection Factor of UVA (PFA)=6, Sun Protection Factor (SPF)=20) or a vehicle, the dorsal skins of mice were irradiated with the UVA lamps at 22.3 J/cm2/d, 5 times a week. At the end of 15 weeks skin properties were evaluated and elastase activities were measured. In the vehicle control group, UVA irradiation increased the brightness and yellowing of the skin, decreased the water content of the stratum corneum, increased skin thickness, decreased skin elasticity, increased skin elastase activity, and decreased the ability of the skin to recover in a pinch test, as compared to an unirradiated group. All these differences were statistically significant. In the UVA sunscreen group, both the UVA induced skin damage and the increase in skin elastase activity were significantly inhibited, as compared to the vehicle group. However, as compared to the unirradiated group, skin elastase activity was significantly increased and immediate extensibility of skin (Ue) was significantly decreased, thereby indicating that the UVA sunscreen did not prevent photoaging to the same level as the unirradiated group. These results suggest the partial efficacy of the topical photoprotection from UVA by the sunscreen in inhibiting elastase activation, and also suggest the possibility of reducing photoaging.