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Supplementation With Carotenoids May Help Reduce Effects of UVA and UVB Rays

UVA and UVB are the ultraviolet rays that reach the earth’s surface. UVA rays play a role in premature skin aging changes such as radiation-induced pigmentation. UVB rays are the main cause of erythema, the reddening of skin after exposure to the sun. A recent study suggests that supplementation with carotenoids may help reduce radiation-induced pigmentation and erythema caused by exposure to UVA and UVB rays.

Fifty-eight participants with an average age of 30 participated in the study. They had Fitzpatrick skin types II-IV, meaning they ranged from fair/burns easily to light brown/burns minimally. They took a supplement containing 4.25 mg of beta-carotene, 1.10 mg of alpha-carotene, 1.12 mg of lutein, and 0.053 mg of zeaxanthin or a placebo 3 times per day for 12 weeks. The researchers measured minimal persistent pigmentation, minimal erythema dose, and antioxidant skin levels 20-24 hours after irradiation with a Dermalight 80 MED Tester. The measurements were taken at baseline, week 4, week 8, and week 12.

Participants in the carotenoid group saw increases in UVA-induced minimal persistent pigmentation dose values, which indicates increased skin protection against UVA radiation and UVA-induced pigmentation. The placebo group saw a decrease in these values.

Carotenoid supplementation also resulted in increases in the UVB-induced minimal erythemal dose, meaning the skin was better protected from UVB-induced erythemal. In addition, participants in the carotenoid group saw statistically significant increases in skin carotenoid levels, compared to the placebo group.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine. It was published online ahead of print on February 18, 2020 in the journal Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, & Photomedicine.

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