Affordable Access

The historical aspects of sunscreens.

Authors
  • Urbach, F
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B Biology
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Nov 15, 2001
Volume
64
Issue
2-3
Pages
99–104
Identifiers
PMID: 11744395
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

While there is little literature on the way in which people protected themselves against the sun, evidence from paintings suggest that clothing covering the body, veils and large brim hats were used by ancient Greeks, and that umbrellas existed in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, China and India. Veiel in 1887 (Vierteljahresschr. Derm. Syph. 14, 113-116) was able to protect a patient with eczema solare by the use of a tightly woven red veil. In 1889, Widmark (Uber den Einfluss des Lichtes auf die Haut. Hygiea, Festband #3, Samson and Wallin, Stockholm) used acidified quinine sulfate to absorb UVB, apparently because, since quinine fluoresces when irradiated with UVR, he rightly assumed that it would absorb the short wavelengths. In 1891, Hammer (Uber den Enfluss des Lichtes auf die Haut, Ferdinand Enke, Stuttgart) repeated Widmark's experiments and used quinine prepared in lotion or ointment as the first human sunscreen. Various plant extracts had been used at the turn of the century in folk medicine. One of the most effective was a chestnut extract from which aesculin was derived. Unna (Med. Klinik. 1911;7:454-456) developed several glycosides of aesculin,which were introduced as Zeozon and Ultrazeozon. In 1922, Eder and Freund (Wiener. Klin. Wchnschr. 35, 681-684) introduced 2-naphthol-6,8-disulfonic acid salts (Antilux) which were quite effective in both the UVB and UVA region. Over the next 40 years a number of different chemicals were introduced for sunscreen purposes: tannic acid (1925), benzyl salicylate (1931), para-aminobenzoic acid derivatives and 2-phenylimidazole derivatives (1942), anthranilic acid (1950), various cinnamates (1954), chloroquine (1962), benzophenones (1965) and many more since then. The list of chemical useful for sunscreen formulation is now extensive, the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Community have published compendia of approved chemicals and inorganic filters.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times