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Vol. 95. Issue 1.
Pages 108-111 (01 January 2020)
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Vol. 95. Issue 1.
Pages 108-111 (01 January 2020)
Research Letter
Open Access
Transmittance of UVB, UVA, and visible light (blue-violet) among the main Brazilian commercial opaque sunscreens
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4957
Gabriel Peresa, Hélio Amante Miotb,
Corresponding author
heliomiot@gmail.com

Corresponding author.
a Postgraduate Program in Surgical Foundations, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, SP, Brazil
b Department of Dermatology and Radiotherapy, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, SP, Brazil
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Tables (2)
Table 1. Main characteristics of the 44 commercial sunscreens tested.
Table 2. Percentage of ultraviolet A (UVA) and visible light transmittance of the different sunscreens tested (n=44).
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Dear Editor,

Photoprotection is essential in the prevention and treatment of photo-induced dermatoses. Environmental and geographic factors should be weighed in the indication of the photoprotection strategy, such as sunscreens (SSs), mechanical photoprotection (coverings, glasses, clothing), and behavioral aspects.1

SSs use compounds that interfere with the penetration of solar radiation into the skin, minimizing its biological tissue effects. Such substances can be organic or inorganic, and pigments are used to potentiate visible light (VL) blockage.1,2

As different types of radiation trigger characteristic pathological processes, knowledge of SS photoprotection patterns is essential for their indication. The prevention of sunburn is associated with the sun protection factor (SPF), and the persistent pigmentation prevention is associated with persistent pigment darkening (PPD) and the maintenance of immunological surveillance of the skin by the immune protection factor.1,3

The VL spectrum (400–780nm) is below the UVA range, and represents 40% of the incident solar energy, which can promote persistent pigmentation in higher phototypes and free radicals in the stratum corneum. However, VL promotes less tissue interaction and its effects are dozens of times less intense than those promoted by UVA and thousands of times smaller than those induced by UVB.1,4

The most biologically active fraction of VL comprises the blue-violet range (400–500nm), and may be relevant in preventing aging and dyschromia, such as melasma, as well as UVA. However, there is still no universally accepted method to evaluate the photobiological protection against VL, nor any reference to this protection in the SS.5

Topical protection against VL is promoted by opaque SS. In Brazil, there are SSs marketed with a proposed VL block; however, there is no clear picture of the simultaneous protections against the other radiation ranges offered by these products.

A cross-sectional study was conducted to evaluate the in vitro transmittance of UVB, UVA, and blue-violet light (400–500nm) among the major Brazilian commercial SSs. There were 41 opaque SSs with SPF>30 evaluated between September 2017 and September 2018. The characteristics of the SS tested are provided in Table 1.

Table 1.

Main characteristics of the 44 commercial sunscreens tested.

Product/brand  Manufacturer  Lot  SPF  UVA 
Actsun Color FPS 60  FQM  171099  50  VHP 
Anthelios Airlicium FPS 70 – clear  La Roche Posay  58R17M  70  VHP 
Anthelios Airlicium FPS 70 – with color  La Roche Posay  60p2e  70  VHP 
Anthelios Airlicium FPS 70 – morena  La Roche Posay  58R17M  70  VHP 
Anthelios Airlicium FPS 70 – morena mais  La Roche Posay  58R1EM  70  VHP 
Anthelios Alta cobertura FPS 60  La Roche Posay  6ON3F  60  VHP 
Anthelios BB cream FPS 50  La Roche Posay  3605054  50  HP/282.5a 
Blocskin FPS 40 Color  Vitalife  12004171  40 
Cetaphil Sun FPS 70 – with color  Galderma  14190118  70  VHP 
Emulsão Color FPS 70  Avène  1700181  70  VHP 
Emulsão Color FPS 50+  Avène  av196  50  VHP 
Ensoleil Extreme FPS 90+  Ache Profuse  L1513664  90  VHP/31b 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele clara  Mantecorp  b17b2203  70  VHP 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele extra clara  Mantecorp  B18E1465  70  VHP 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele morena  Mantecorp  B16M1847  70  VHP 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele morena mais  Mantecorp  B18F1906  70  VHP 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele negra  Mantecorp  B18E1464  70  VHP 
Filtrum Color FPS 50  Libbs  1701001a  50  19a 
Foto Ultra Active Unify Fusion Fluid color FPS 99  Isdin  50901  99  VHP/49a 
Fotoprotector Gel Cream Dry Touch Color FPS 50+  Isdin  3296100  60  VHP 
FQM-Melora Heliocare® Gel Color Nude Bronze FPS 50  FQM  16L245  50 
Idéal Capital Soleil FPS 50 – com cor  Vichy  60p2b  50  HP 
Idéal Soleil Clarify FPS 60 – clara  Vichy  58R77M  60  VHP 
Idéal Soleil Clarify FPS 60 – media  Vichy  58R79M  60  VHP 
Idéal Soleil Clarify FPS 60 – morena  Vichy  58R79M  60  VHP 
Idéal Soleil Clarify FPS 60 – com cor  Vichy  60P801  60  VHP 
Minesol Actif Unify FPS 60 – light  ROC  1957B01  60  VHP 
Minesol Actif Unify FPS 60 – medium  ROC  3486B01  60  VHP 
Minesol Oil Control FPS 60 – tinted gel creme universal  ROC  2566k  60  VHP 
Moderm Protetor Solar com base FPS 35 – bege claro  Galderma  1651  35  VHP 
Moderm Protetor Solar com base FPS 35 – bege médio  Galderma  1651  35  VHP 
Photoderm M FPS 50+  Bioderma  11761  70  VHP/36c 
Photoderm Max Nude Touch FPS 50+ – claro  Bioderma  N1X85881Q607V  50  VHP/25c 
Photoderm Max Nude Touch FPS 50+ – dourado  Bioderma  N1X85891Q607V  50  VHP/25c 
Photoderm Max Nude Touch FPS 50+ muito claro  Bioderma  N1X85871Q607V  50  VHP/25c 
Photoderm Max Toque Seco FPS 60 – Tinto  Bioderma  33651  60  VHP/37b 
Photoderm Max Toque Seco FPS 90 – Tinto  Bioderma  2961  90  VHP/38b 
Photoprot FPS 99 Color  Biolab  1009319  99  VHP/62a 
Physical Matte UV defense FPS 50  SkinCeuticals  jcp33w  50  HP 
Eucerin Sun creme tinted FPS 60  Eucerin  L6226034  60  VHP 
Sunfresh facial com cor FPS 60  Neutrogena  1377B01  60 
Negative controls
Anthelios XL Protect FPS 70  La Roche Posay  60n7tc3  70  VHP 
Eryfotona AK-NMSC Fluid  Isdin  53461  99  NA 
FotoUltra – Spot Prevent – Fusion Fluid 99  Isdin  5057a  99  VHP/61a 

UVA, ultraviolet A; PPD, persistent pigment darkening; FPS, sun protection factor; NA, not available; +, only mentioned “UVA”; HP, high protection; VHP, very high protection.

a

UVA protection factor.

b

PPD.

c

UVA method not mentioned.

Samples of 500mg of each product were dispersed in 250cm2 of transparent film, in order to reach 2mg/cm2, and submitted to artificial sources of UVB (230μW/cm2), UVA (1270μW/cm2), and blue-violet VL (400–520nm, 729mW/cm2). The values of transmittance were evaluated by the following apparatuses: UVB Digital Ultraviolet Radiometer (ZooMed, San Luis Ubispo, CA, United States), Digital Ultraviolet Radiometer 4.2 UVA (Solarmeter, Glenside, PA, United States), and Radiometer RD-7 (Ecel, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil).

Additionally, three pigment-free SSs were evaluated as controls of the experiment (Table 1).

The calculated transmittance was the percentage of radiation that passes through each SS, being complementary to the value of the sum of the absorbance. For its calculation, multiple measurements were taken on the surface covered with SS, and the mean value was calculated, divided by the irradiation of each source through the transparent film, without SS.

All SS tested showed UVB transmittance <0.1%. The UVA and VL transmittances are shown in Table 2. In general, opaque SSs had higher UVA coverage than the controls. It is noteworthy that, of the opaque SSs, 63% (26/41) blocked >99.9% of UVA and 63% (26/41) blocked >99.9% of blue-violet light. However, this blockade was not concurrent, since 31% (8/26) of the opaque SSs that blocked >99.9% of the VL did not have the same performance for the UVA.

Table 2.

Percentage of ultraviolet A (UVA) and visible light transmittance of the different sunscreens tested (n=44).

Product/brand  UVA  LV 
Actsun Color FPS 60  0.0%  6.0% 
Anthelios Airlicium FPS 70 – clara  0.0%  0.0% 
Anthelios Airlicium FPS 70 – com cor  0.0%  0.0% 
Anthelios Airlicium FPS 70 – morena  0.0%  0.0% 
Anthelios Airlicium FPS 70 – morena mais  0.0%  0.0% 
Anthelios Alta cobertura FPS 60  0.0%  0.0% 
Anthelios BB cream FPS 50  0.4%  7.4% 
BLOCSKiN FPS 40 color  0.0%  6.8% 
Cetaphil Sun FPS 70 – com cor  0.1%  0.0% 
Emulsão Color FPS 70  0.1%  16.7% 
Emulsão Color FPS 50+  0.2%  6.8% 
Ensolei Extreme FPS 90+  0.1%  4.7% 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele clara  0.0%  0.0% 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele extra clara  0.0%  0.0% 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele morena  0.0%  0.0% 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele morena mais  0.0%  0.0% 
Episol color FPS 70 – pele negra  0.0%  0.0% 
Eucerin Sun Creme tinted FPS 60  0.0%  11.4% 
Filtrum Color FPS 50  0.0%  0.0% 
Foto Ultra Age Active Unify Fusion Fluid color FPS 99  0.0%  0.0% 
Fotoprotector Gel Cream Dry Touch color FPS 50+  0.0%  3.2% 
FQM-Melora Heliocare® gel color nude bronze FPS 50  0.1%  3.1% 
Idéal Capital Soleil FPS 50  0.0%  0.0% 
Idéal Soleil Clarify FPS 60 – clara  0.0%  0.0% 
Idéal Soleil Clarify FPS 60 – média  0.0%  0.0% 
Idéal Soleil Clarify FPS 60 – morena  0.0%  0.0% 
Idéal Soleil Clarify FPS 60 com cor  0.0%  0.0% 
Minesol Actif Unify FPS 60 – light  0.1%  0.0% 
Minesol Actif Unify FPS 60 – medium  0.4%  0.0% 
Minesol Oil Control FPS 60 tinted  0.0%  17.7% 
Moderm Protetor Solar com base FPS 35 – bege claro  0.1%  0.0% 
Moderm Protetor Solar com base FPS 35 – bege médio  0.1%  0.0% 
Photoderm M FPS 50+  0.0%  7.1% 
Photoderm MAX Nude Touch FPS 50+– claro  0.5%  0.0% 
Photoderm MAX Nude Touch FPS 50+– dourado  0.8%  0.0% 
Photoderm MAX Nude Touch FPS 50+– muito claro  1.2%  0.0% 
Photoderm MAX Toque Seco FPS 60 Tinto  0.0%  3.9% 
Photoderm MAX Toque Seco FPS 90 Tinto  0.0%  0.0% 
Photoprot FPS 99 Color  0.1%  3.9% 
Physical Matte UV defense FPS 50  0.9%  6.8% 
Sunfresh facial com cor FPS 60  0.0%  26.2% 
Negative controls
Anthelios XL Protect FPS 70  0.0%  75.4% 
Eryfotona AK-NMSC Fluid FPS 99  0.0%  59.5% 
FotoUltra – Spot Prevent – Fusion Fluid 99  0.0%  63.4% 

Note: UVB transmittance <0.1% for all tested products.

Opaque SSs marketed in Brazil showed great variability in UVA and VL transmittance, despite excellent UVB performance. Interestingly, opaque SSs of the same commercial line, but of different shades, did not demonstrate differences in transmittance of VL.

It was observed that 73% (30/41) of the opaque products had no UVA-related values on the label; 7.3% (3/41) used UVAPF and only 7.3% (3/41), PPD.

The transmittance of SS is not perfectly parallel to the biological effect of radiation; however, it is a reasonable way to compare SS performance in vitro. Even the critical wavelength, an indicator of UVA protection, is based on the transmittance curve within the UVA spectrum.1

Moreover, the biological effect of UVA and VL can be reduced by the use of adjuncts such as antioxidants, present in several SSs tested.

Our results do not deprecate the studied opaque SSs, but highlight their intrinsic differences. These results should be confirmed with in vivo methodologies.

In conclusion, SS labels should provide detailed information on SPF and PPD (or another UVA standard) to favor the indication of SS in different clinical settings. This is especially relevant in pigmented dermatoses, more sensitive to UVA, because different opaque SSs with good performance against VL allow a significant passage of UVA, albeit inferior to the transparent SSs tested.

Financial support

None declared.

Author's contribution

Gabriel Peres: Approval of the final version of the manuscript; elaboration and writing of the manuscript; obtaining, analyzing and interpreting the data; critical review of the literature.

Hélio Amante Miot: Approval of the final version of the manuscript; conception and planning of the study; effective participation in research orientation; critical review of the literature; critical review of the manuscript

Conflicts of interest

None declared.

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Efficiency of opaque photoprotective agents in the visible light range.
Arch Dermatol, 127 (1991), pp. 351-355
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Measurement of sunscreen immune protection factors in humans: a consensus paper.
J Invest Dermatol, 125 (2005), pp. 403-409
[4]
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Are there mechanistic differences between ultraviolet and visible radiation induced skin pigmentation?.
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L. Duteil, J. Esdaile, Y. Maubert, A.C. Cathelineau, A. Bouloc, C. Queille-Roussel, et al.
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How to cite this article: Peres G, Miot HA. Transmittance of UVB, UVA and visible light (blue-violet) of the main Brazilian commercial opaque sunscreens. An Bras Dermatol. 2019;95:108–11.

Study conducted at the Department of Dermatology and Radiotherapy, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, SP, Brazil.

Copyright © 2019. Sociedade Brasileira de Dermatologia
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