Within solar ultraviolet (UV) light, the longest UVA1 wavelengths, with significant and relatively constant levels all year round and large penetration properties, produce effects in all cutaneous layers. Their effects, mediated by numerous endogenous chromophores, primarily involve the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The resulting oxidative stress is the major mode of action of UVA1, responsible for lipid peroxidation, protein carbonylation, DNA lesions and subsequent intracellular signaling cascades.
These molecular changes lead to mutations, apoptosis, dermis remodeling, inflammatory reactions and abnormal immune responses. The altered biological functions contribute to clinical consequences such as hyperpigmentation, inflammation, photoimmunosuppression, sun allergies, photoaging and photocancers. Such harmful impacts have also been reported after the use of UVA1 phototherapy or tanning beds.
Furthermore, other external aggressors, such as pollutants and visible light (Vis), were shown to induce independent, cumulative and synergistic effects with UVA1 rays. In this review, we synthetize the biological and clinical effects of UVA1 and the complementary effects of UVA1 with pollutants or Vis.
The identified deleterious biological impact of UVA1 contributing to clinical consequences, combined with the predominance of UVA1 rays in solar UV radiation, constitute a solid rational for the need for a broad photoprotection, including UVA1 up to 400 nm.