Responses of Normal Skin to Ultraviolet Radiation

  • J. L. M. Hawk
  • J. A. Parrish
Part of the Photobiology book series (PB)


The skin of humans is frequently exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, either during everyday activity or during intentional exposure to achieve tanning. Exposure may also occur from any of a number of artificial sources which emit UV radiation. These include the increasingly popular commercial sunlamps and solaria used in an attempt to produce year-round tanning, the therapeutic UVB and UVA lamps used in the treatment of psoriasis and other skin ailments, welding arcs, gas discharge arc lamps, fluorescent lamps, and lasers used in industry or research. Physiologic mechanisms exist to deal with the absorbed energy, but they are not totally efficient. Sufficient damage at tissue, cellular, subcellular, and molecular levels invokes an inflammatory response, repair processes, and an increase in the function of protective processes. If no further exposure occurs, these processes run a short course and then cease to act. If multiple exposures occur, the processes continue and intensify. Since neither repair nor protective process is perfect, continuing exposure leads to long-term damage as discussed in Chapter 9. In this chapter, unless otherwise stated, only the effects of single, short UV exposures sufficient to produce a discernible response will be considered.


Stratum Corneum Normal Skin Hairless Mouse Horny Layer Minimal Erythema Dose 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. L. M. Hawk
    • 1
  • J. A. Parrish
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Photobiology, Institute of DermatologySt. John’s Hospital for Diseases of SkinLondonEngland
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical SchoolMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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