Commercial sunscreen lotions prevent ultraviolet-radiation-induced immune suppression of contact hypersensitivity.J Invest Dermatol. 1995 Sep; 105(3):339-44.JI
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation suppresses certain immunologic responses, such as contact hypersensitivity (CH). Some previous studies, using sunlamps emitting nonsolar-spectrum UV or excessive UV doses, have questioned the ability of sunscreens to prevent UV-induced immune suppression. Our study evaluated the immune protection capacities of commercial sunscreen lotions in relation to the effects of UV spectrum and dose. C3H mice were exposed to a fixed UV dose from Kodacel-filtered FS sunlamps that caused maximum Langerhans cell depletion and suppression of CH. Kodacel film blocks UV energy below 290 nm, thus eliminating immune-suppressive effects of UVC (200-290 nm) not present in sunlight. CH was equally suppressed in unprotected and placebo-lotion-treated, UV-exposed mice. Mice protected with sun protection factor (SPF)-15 and SPF-30 sunscreens mounted normal CH responses. SPF-4 and SPF-8 sunscreen-protected mice had CH responses significantly greater than those of unprotected mice. Direct effects of UV spectral differences on the immune protection value of an SPF-15 sunscreen were determined by exposing mice to UV radiation from unfiltered and Kodacel-filtered sunlamps and a 1000-W xenon lamp solar simulator (UV spectrum nearly equivalent to sunlight). The sunscreen immune protection value was 30 times the minimum immune suppression dose for the solar simulator, while being 7.5 times this dose for Kodacel-filtered and 2 times the dose for unfiltered sunlamps. These results demonstrate that commercial sunscreen lotions prevent UV-induced immune suppression at a level exceeding the labeled SPF when tested with an environmentally relevant UV source.