Background/Aims: Excessive exposure to UV radiation causes acute adverse effects like sunburn and photosensitivity reactions and is involved in the induction and development of skin cancer. It has been reported that antioxidants have photoprotective effects against solar UV radiation. We investigated the effect of oral epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant in green tea, on the minimal erythema dose (MED) and UV-induced skin damage. Method: Female HWY/Slc hairless rats were fed the normal diet supplemented with 1,500 ppm EGCG for 8 weeks; then, the MED was determined and visual scores and transepidermal water loss were assessed to evaluate the severity of UV-induced skin damage. Results: At week 8 of the study, the use of dietary EGCG significantly increased MED. UV-radiation-induced sunburn severity and alterations in epidermal barrier function were also attenuated by the supplementation of EGCG. Conclusion: Regular intake of EGCG strengthens the skin’s tolerance by increasing MED and thus prevents UV-induced perturbation of epidermal barrier function and skin damage. These results suggest that EGCG is a potent candidate for systemic photoprotection.
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