Antioxidants beef up broad-spectrum sunscreen

Adding antioxidants to an SPF 25 sunscreen formulation (Clinique Superdefense, Estée Lauder) helped prevent UV-induced immune suppression, according to a recent study. This study, considered with related findings presented elsewhere, furthermore suggests that relying on SPF alone does not guarantee protection against the full extent of UV-induced skin damage, its lead author says.

SPF corresponds primarily to the UVB portion of the solar spectrum and erythema, but not with UVA, UV-induced oxidative stress or immune suppression, says Mary Matsui, Ph.D., executive director, Clinique Laboratories.

Therefore, she says, “Reliance on SPF is not enough to ensure complete protection against the full spectrum of UV radiation. Antioxidants can add protection against ‘unseen’ damage.”

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