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Endogenous photosensitizers play a critical role in both beneficial and harmful light-induced transformations in biological systems. Understanding their mode of action is essential for advancing fields such as photomedicine, photoredox catalysis, environmental science, and the development of sun care products. This review offers a comprehensive analysis of endogenous photosensitizers in human skin, investigating the connections between their electronic excitation and the subsequent activation or damage of organic biomolecules. We gather the physicochemical and photochemical properties of key endogenous photosensitizers and examine the relationships between their chemical reactivity, location within the skin, and the primary biochemical events following solar radiation exposure, along with their influence on skin physiology and pathology. An important take-home message of this review is that photosensitization allows visible light and UV-A radiation to have large effects on skin. The analysis presented here unveils potential causes for the continuous increase in global skin cancer cases and emphasizes the limitations of current sun protection approaches.


Erick L Bastos, Frank H Quina, MaurĂ­cio S Baptista. Endogenous Photosensitizers in Human Skin. Chemical reviews. 2023 Aug 23;123(16):9720-9785

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PMID: 37459506

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