Table of Contents
ISRN Dermatology
Volume 2012, Article ID 352135, 4 pages
Review Article

In Vitro Evaluation of Sunscreens: An Update for the Clinicians

1Institutes for Photonics and Nanotechnology, National Research Council, Via Trasea 7, 35131 Padua, Italy
2Dermatology Unit, University of Padua, Via Battisti 206, 35128 Padua, Italy

Received 2 October 2012; Accepted 30 October 2012

Academic Editors: E. Alpsoy, G. Chodorowska, F. Kaneko, E. Pasmatzi, and J. F. Val Bernal

Copyright © 2012 Maria Pelizzo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Topical sunscreens contain molecules or molecular complexes that can absorb, reflect, or scatter UV photons. Evaluation of the efficacy of sunscreen products has been made through the Sun Protection Factor (SPF), a mean of quantitatively assessing in vivo the degree of protection offered by sunscreen products against solar radiation. In vivo evaluation of SPF has several drawbacks. First of all, this evaluation method is expensive in terms of money and time. Moreover, it raises several ethical issues concerning the potential damage to skin volunteers. Several in vitro techniques have been developed, but at present there is no broadly accepted method. In this paper, we will discuss some of the recent advances concerning the in vitro evaluation of sunscreens which would be acceptable for replacing in vivo assays.