Effect of Simultaneous Administration of Dihydroxyacetone on the Diffusion of Lawsone Through Various In Vitro Skin Models

Daniel J. Munt, Anne Grana, Martin Hulce, Ramon M. Fusaro, Alekha K. Dash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Unprotected sunlight exposure is a risk factor for a variety of cutaneous cancers. Topically used dihydroxyacetone (DHA) creates, via Maillard reaction, chemically fixed keratin sunscreen in the stratum corneum with significant protection against UVA/Soret radiation. When used in conjunction with naphthoquinones a naphthoquinone-modified DHA Maillard reaction is produced that provides protection across the UVB/UVA/Soret spectra lasting up to 1 week, resisting sweating and contact removal. The aim of this study was to examine a simplified version of this formulation for effect on UV transmission and to determine if penetration levels merit toxicity concerns. Permeability was demonstrated for freshly prepared DHA (30 mg/mL) and lawsone (0.035 mg/mL) alone and in combination using a side-by-side diffusion apparatus at 37°C over 48 h across shed snake skin and dermatomed pig skin. These samples were then examined for effectiveness and safety. Concentrations were determined by HPLC and UPLC monitored from 250–500 nm. Lawsone flux significantly decreased across pig skin (20.8 (±4.8) and 0.09 (±0.1) mg/cm2 h without and with DHA, respectively) but did not change across shed snake skin in the presence of DHA. Significantly reduced lawsone concentration was noted in donor chambers of combined solutions. Damage was not observed in any skins. Darker coloration with greater UV absorbance was observed in skins exposed to the combined solution versus individual solutions. This study confirmed that combined DHA and lawsone provided effective blocking of ultraviolet light through products bound in keratinized tissue. DHA permeation levels in pig skin suggest further in vitro and in vivo study is required to determine the safety of this system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1425-1433
Number of pages9
JournalAAPS PharmSciTech
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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