Therapeutics in Dermatology
A reference textbook in dermatology
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28 August 2012, by BEANI J.-C.

The term photoprotection refers to the various means at our disposal for the prevention of solar radiation-induced cutaneous damage.

Skin is equipped with natural photoprotection mechanisms for this purpose but these can be insufficient to protect normal but over-exposed skin or photosensitive skin, so additional artificial protective measures need to be used in these cases.

 There are several types of artificial photoprotection and these can be used individually or in combination:

– Endogenous biological processes may be triggered or their efficacy enhanced to ensure natural photoprotection mechanisms match the intensity of exposure. This is known as adaptive photoprotection.

– Radiation from the sun can be blocked before it reaches the skin through passive means, e.g. by wearing protective clothing and using topical sun protection products. This is external photoprotection.

– Drugs that are able to inhibit the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation can be taken orally. This is internal photoprotection.

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