This review of published in vitro and in vivo studies concerning the biological effects of ultraviolet A (UVA; 320–400 nm) radiation illustrates the evidence for combining UVA and UVB filters in sun-protection products. These data have led to the development of new sunscreens as well as methods to evaluate their efficacy. After listing the UVA filters available and briefly noting the requirements for a high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen, the methods for evaluating the level of UVA protection will be described. This article also summarizes several studies looking at the prevention of erythema, pigmentation, DNA damage, photoimmunosuppression, photoaging and photodermatoses. These data demonstrate in vitro and in vivo that only well-balanced UVA-UVB sunscreens, absorbing over the entire UV spectrum are able to prevent or significantly reduce the associated biological damage.
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