Sunscreen Photobiology in the Era of Molecular Biology


Francis P. Gasparro, Ph.D.


Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Biology

Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, PA 19107


keywords: sunscreen, photobiology, PABA, titanium dioxide, p53, photoaging

(215) 503 3327 phone; (215) 503 3322 fax;


Several issues related to sunscreen and skin photobiology are discussed. While there are few questions about the efficacy of sunscreens (i.e., their ability to prevent sunburn) there are other unanswered questions. What are the effects of sunlight that penetrates sunscreen-protected skin? . Do sunscreens prevent DNA damage and more important mutations in DNA? Recent work in these areas is summarized. The issue of physical and chemical sunscreens and their differences and similarities are briefly summarized. Finally the question of the role of iron deposition in chronically irradiated skin is raised for its possible role as sensitizer for the vast amounts of visible light sunscreen protected skin is exposed to.