Reliable and simple spectrophotometric determination of sun protection factor: A case study using organic UV filter-based sunscreen products

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Abstract

Background:

Current in vitro SPF screening method for plant oil body (oleosome)-based SPF products possesses significant inconsistency and low reliability in the SPF rating.

Objectives:

The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the reliability and reproducibility of spectrophotometrically determined sun protection factor (SPF) from oleosome-based SPF products. The secondary objective was the data comparison of the spectrophotometric measurements against in vivo SPF testing to establish a reliable in vitro test method as a screening assay.

Methods:

Octyl methoxycinnamate (UVB filter) and avobenzone (UVA filter) were loaded into safflower oil bodies and formulated into oil-in-water emulsion-based finished products. To evaluate the reliability between in vivo and spectrophotometric test methods, samples were dispatched to a clinical laboratory, and the reported SPF values were compared with spectrophotometric test results.

Results:

The observed SPF from the in vivo and spectrophotometric test results demonstrated a high correlation for SPF 30 products. Proportional correlation between the two evaluation methods was observed for SPF 15 and 50 products with slightly lesser accuracy with a smaller number of population tested in the clinical studies.

Conclusions:

A reliable spectrophotometric screening method for oil body-based SPF formulas has been developed using two broadly used organic UV sunscreen actives as a case study. The results demonstrated a high level of reproducibility and reliability compared to the US FDA-guided in vivo SPF testing method.

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