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Positive photocontact responses are not elicited to sunscreen ingredients exposed to UVA prior to application onto the skin

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Shyamal Wahie, Dr James LloydORCiD, Professor Peter Farr


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Photocontact allergic reactions to sunscreen chemicals are investigated by photopatch testing. It has generally been assumed that for photocontact allergy to be shown, the putative pro-allergen must be in the skin at the time of ultraviolet A (UVA) exposure. However, this assumption has not, to our knowledge, been tested. The objective of this study was to determine whether positive photocontact responses can still be elicited when sunscreen chemicals are exposed to UVA prior to application onto the skin. 3 patients known to have positive photocontact reactions to a total of 6 sunscreen chemicals were studied. For conventional photopatch testing, patch test strips were applied onto the back and removed 1 D later, and the area was irradiated with UVA (5 J/cm(2)). For pre-irradiated testing, patches were exposed to the same dose of UVA immediately before application onto the back and then removed 1 D later. Skin responses were visually assessed by a blinded investigator 1 and 2 D after patch test removal. The same photocontact responses of the same magnitude, as previously documented for each patient, were seen at each of the conventional UVA-exposed patch test sites. However, in no patient was a positive response elicited at any of the sites where pre-irradiated patches had been applied. This study shows that positive photocontact responses to sunscreen chemicals do not occur when the putative pro-allergen is irradiated prior to application onto the skin. This suggests that for a photoallergic reaction to occur, the sunscreen chemical needs to be within the skin when activated by UVA.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wahie S, Lloyd JJ, Farr PM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Contact Dermatitis

Year: 2007

Volume: 57

Issue: 4

Pages: 273-275

ISSN (print): 0105-1873

ISSN (electronic): 1600-0536

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2007.01217.x


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