Skin Pigmentation Kinetics after Exposure to Ultraviolet A
Mette H. Ravnbak, Peter A. Philipsen, Stine R. Wiegell and Hans C. Wulf
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).