Skip to main content

05-01-2012 | General practice | Article

Resveratrol derivative has protective effect against sun burn


Free abstract

MedWire News: Resveratrate, a stable derivative of the plant antioxidant resveratrol, effectively protects skin against ultraviolet (UV) radiation, show results from an exploratory study.

"Like other plant polyphenols, the application of resveratrol for topical purposes, such as photoprotection against UV-induced skin damage, skin cancer prevention, and skin care, has been examined," explain Yuan-Hong Li (No.1 Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang) and colleagues.

However, previous studies have focused on UVB radiation rather than both UVA and UVB radiation and have been animal or cell-line based.

To evaluate the protective effects of resveratrate against sun burn, Li and team recruited 15 healthy Chinese women (Fitzpatrick skin type III or IV) aged 45-58 years to take part in their study. None of the women had previous skin cancer or photodermatoses and none were taking photosensitizing or anti-inflammatory medication.

The volunteers were exposed to combined UVA and UVB light at 1.5 times the minimal erythema dose at five sites on the upper back on 4 consecutive days.

Immediately after each exposure a test cream (resveratrate, antioxidant, antioxidant plus resveratrate, or placebo) was applied to four of the sites. The fifth site was exposed to the same amount of UVA and UVB, but had no cream applied (positive control), and a sixth site was used as a negative control and was exposed to no UV radiation and had no cream applied.

The researchers measured skin coloration following UV light exposure using a non-invasive instrument-Chromameter.

They found that the smallest change in skin lightness occurred at the UV exposed sites treated with the resveratrate cream alone or in combination with antioxidant. These sites developed very little erythema, with only an insignificant increase in the degree of erythema. The most severe erythema was seen at the positive control and UV plus placebo cream sites, with an intermediate degree of erythema observed at the UV plus antioxidant site.

In addition, cells sampled from the UV-exposed sites that were treated with resveratrate, antioxidant, or resveratrate plus antioxidant all had significantly reduced sun burn cell formation and Fontana-Masson staining, compared with cells from the positive and negative control sites and the UV plus placebo cream site.

"This study showed that resveratrate attenuates UV [radiation]-induced sunburn and suntan in human skin in vivo," say Li and co-workers.

"These facts imply the potential of resveratrate as a promising photochemoprotective agent for the protection of UV radiation-induced skin damage," they conclude in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Helen Albert

Related topics

See the research in context now

with trial summaries, expert opinion and congress coverage

Image Credits