Photoprotection by Plant-derived Compounds

Shelton, Hannah
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Current topical sunscreens, although effective, may not be the safest way to prevent UVradiation based skin damage. Active petroleum-derived ingredients may be toxic, and may not be the most cost-effective solution for sunscreen production. The compounds responsible for protecting plants' cellular structures from UV radiation have the potential to be an effective alternative. This project sought to determine the worth of three plant-derived compounds – lycopene, genistein, and astaxanthin – as potential sunscreen ingredients. First, SPF and Boots Star System data from in vitro UV absorption spectra were collected. Second, each compound was exposed over UV-sensitive cyantoype emulsion, in lieu of human skin, in order to determine comparative in vivo properties. While not as effective as petroleum based ingredients, these compounds showed the potential to be safe sunscreen additives, or the primary active ingredients in low SPF lotions. Additionally, the use of cyanotype emulsion was effective at determining the level of UV light permitted through a solution. Although not perfect, it has proved to be a versatile and inexpensive replacement for human skin in this experiment.
Access Rights
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.