Living Reference Work Entry

Daily Routine in Cosmetic Dermatology

Part of the series Clinical Approaches and Procedures in Cosmetic Dermatology pp 1-12

Date: Latest Version

Photoprotection: Concept, Classification, and Mechanism of Action

  • Luciana Paula SamoranoAffiliated withDepartment of Dermatology, Hospital das Clínicas of the University of São Paulo Medical School Email author 
  • , Vitor Manoel Silva ReisAffiliated withDepartment of Dermatology, Hospital das Clínicas of the University of São Paulo Medical School


The harmful effects caused by sunlight on the skin can be divided into acute, such as erythema and pigmentation, and chronic, as photoaging and photocarcinogenesis. Photoprotection refers to a set of measures aimed to reduce exposure to the sun and to prevent the development of actinic damage. There are different forms of photoprotection, including the use of topical, oral, and mechanical photoprotection, and also the education in photoprotection. It is recommended the implementation of actions focused on children, adolescents, adults, and outside workers. The advertisement in the media is very important and helpful. Topic sunscreens may be physical and chemical. The physical filters are inorganic with mineral origin and promote reflection of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Chemical or organic filters absorb the UV radiation photons, promoting a change in its molecular structure. It is recommended to apply sunscreen on all individual above 6 months old and to use broad-spectrum and water-resistant sunscreens, with a minimum SPF of 30. The association of both oral photoprotection and mechanical sun protection measures, such as clothing, hats, sunglasses, covers for windows, and shadows, seems to bring additional benefit.


Photoprotection Photoaging Photocarcinogenesis SPF Polypodium leucotomos Sunglass UPF UV absorbers Window glass Automobile glass