• UV transmission;
  • UV protecton factor;
  • minimal erythema dose;
  • split skin

In this study the ultraviolet (UV) transmission of split skin exposed to UVB radiation and of non-exposed skin was compared in the 280–390 nm wavelength range and quantified. In addition, the correlation between the increase in the minimal erythema dose (MED) associated with a defined exposure to UVB and the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) calculated from the transmission data was investigated. The study population consisted of 12 patients. Two pieces of split skin of the same thickness (0.3 mm) were taken from the right thigh of each patient. One specimen was removed from an area of non-exposed healthy skin and the other from an area which had been exposed to UVB radiation for a period of 12 days in which the initial dose of 1/3 MED was raised by 1/3 MED every 4 days. The split skin specimens were stretched over a special frame; subsequently, the UV transmission was determined with a spectrophotometer. The mean values obtained for UV transmission were all significantly below the initial data for non-exposed split skin. In the UV range of 280–390 nm, the transmission measured in the exposed specimens was 49.1% of the value measured in the non-exposed split skin (P<0.05). The corresponding values for the UVA range (315–390 nm) and the UVB range (280315 nm) were 50.1% and 29.5%, respectively (P<0.05), based on the initial transmission data obtained from non-exposed skin. The clinical determination of MED after 12 days of exposure to UVB yielded mean values that were 3.2 times the initial values. Moreover, the mean UPFs calculated from the transmission data measured at the end of the 12-day exposure period were also about three times the initial values. The present study has thus established a significant correlation between the clinical MED values and the UPFs calculated from the transmission data measured following exposure to UVB.