Systemic Photoprotection

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Systemic photoprotection is an attractive concept; however, its use has been limited by a lack of robust evidence. We performed a review to evaluate the evidence for systemic photoprotection and skin cancer prevention in humans by vitamins C, D and E, carotenoids, nicotinamide, retinoids, polyphenols, Polypodium leucotomos extract, NSAIDs and afamelanotide.

Recent Findings

In a randomized controlled trial, compared with placebo, a 13% reduction in actinic keratoses and a 23% reduction in keratinocyte carcinoma were found with continued nicotinamide use over 12 months, although the result should be interpreted with caution. A synthetic melanotropin, Nle4-D-Phe7-a-MSH, showed promising results in photoprotection but was limited by its side effect profile.

Summary

Various photoprotective agents have shown promise in the reduction of the acute response to UV radiation, but there is insufficient evidence for their mainstream use presently. There is evidence for keratinocyte skin cancer prevention with the use of retinoids and nicotinamide in certain populations.

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Change history

  • 17 September 2020

    The original version of this article did not include the results from articles showing a more favorable side effect profile with a controlled-release subcutaneous implant of afamelanotide.

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Acknowledgements

Jennifer Taylor is supported by the Krembil Foundation, Canada.

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Correspondence to Cheryl F. Rosen.

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Taylor, J.H., Rosen, C.F. Systemic Photoprotection. Curr Derm Rep 9, 181–188 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13671-020-00306-1

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Keywords

  • Systemic photoprotection
  • Oral photo protection
  • Polypodium leucotomos extract
  • Polyphenols
  • Nicotinamide
  • Retinoids