Study documents DNA damage and aims to aid development of anti-ageing products


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Study documents DNA damage and aims to aid development of anti-ageing products

Related tags Dna damage Ultraviolet

A study into the full range of ultraviolet radiation damage on the skin could help sunscreen and cosmetics manufacturers develop and test better protecting products, as for the first time it documents DNA damage.

In collaboration with Procter & Gamble, scientists from Newcastle University detailed the DNA damage which can occur to skin across the full range of UV radiation in cells derived from both the upper layer (dermis) and lower layer (epidermis) of the skin.

“Because we were able to analyse the full spectrum of UVA and UVB induced sunburnt DNA damage in the batteries of human skin cells this is an invaluable tool for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries and for anti-ageing studies,”​ says Mark Birch-Machin, Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Newcastle University.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded Dr Jennifer Latimer as a CASE PhD Student at Newcastle University for the work alongside a funding award for the collaboration with Proctor and Gamble.

The study was published in The Society for Investigative Dermatology.

“It is satisfying to think that four years of scientific research has resulted in an outcome that is potentially beneficial, not only to the scientific community but also to industry and the general public,”​ says Dr Latimer.


Testing on human skin cell lines, the study documents the spectrum of UV damage in cells of the skin, and the team says it provides ‘an invaluable tool for sun-protection and the manufacturers of sunscreen to develop and test products so that they can provide protection to both layers.

Constant exposure to sunlight can age skin, as UVA and UVB rays from the sun penetrates cells and increase the number of damaging free radicals, especially the reactive oxygen species.

Too many reactive oxygen species can be harmful because they can damage the DNA within skin cells.

Over time, this can lead to the accumulation of DNA damage, particularly in mitochondria, which speeds up ageing and destroys the skin’s supportive fibres, collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles. 

Studies strongly suggest the damage caused by reactive oxygen species may also initiate and exacerbate the development of skin cancers.

Related topics Formulation & Science Skin Care

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