Content » Vol 89, Issue 4

Investigative Report

Skin Pigmentation Kinetics after Exposure to Ultraviolet A

Mette H. Ravnbak, Peter A. Philipsen, Stine R. Wiegell and Hans C. Wulf
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-0635


Multiple exposures to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) are the norm in nature and phototherapy. However, studies of the kinetics of pigmentation following UVA exposure have includ­ed only fair-skinned persons. The aim of this study was
to investigate steady-state pigmentation and fading in 12 Scandinavians and 12 Indians/Pakistanis after 6 and 12 exposures on the back using broadband UVA and UVA1 with equal sub-minimal melanogenic doses (individually predetermined). Pigmentation was measured by skin reflectance at 555 and 660 nm. The UV dose to minimal pigmentation was higher in dark-skinned persons after a single broadband UVA exposure, but independent of pigmentation/skin type after single and multiple UVA1 exposures. To elicit minimal melanogenic doses after 6 and 12 exposures, every dose is lowered by a factor of 2 and 3, respectively, but the cumulative dose increases three- and four-fold, respectively. The absolute increase in pigmentation was independent of pre-exposure pigmentation; therefore the percentage increase in pigmentation was higher in fair-skinned subjects. The absolute increase in pigmentation was higher and it took 2–3 days longer to reach steady-state after 12 UV exposures compared with 6 UV exposures. Days to steady-state pigmentation and fading were independent of pre-exposure pigmentation, and fading took 5–6 months. Comparing data from a narrowband UVB source and a Solar Simulator, it was shown that pigmentation built up faster and increased more after 12 UVA exposures (16 days) than with the Solar Simulator (21 days).


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