New in vitro SPF Evaluation Method for Hydrophilic Sunscreen Samples

Kurumi Ikawa, Amiko Aizawa, Taisuke Banno, Miyuki Fujishiro, Shoichi Yahagi, Akihiro Kuroda, Kouichi Asakura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A new method was developed for the in vitro sun protection factor (SPF) evaluation of sunscreen samples. A new type of substrate, a hydroxyalkyl cellulose-coated plate, was also prepared specifically for hydrophilic samples. This new substrate was required because hydrophilic samples would be unlikely to wet the surface of the standard cosmetic PMMA UV evaluation plate. A super-hydrophilic quartz plate was prepared by corona-discharge treatment before an aqueous solution of hydroxyalkyl cellulose was spread on it. A flat and uniform hydroxyalkyl cellulose film was subsequently formed through the evaporation of water. Special care was taken to inhibit the generation of spatial non-uniformity. Six hydrophilic sunscreen samples with in vivo SPF values of 56, 55, 52, 25, 15, and 4, were then applied to the prepared hydroxyalkyl cellulose-coated plate, as well as a super-hydrophilic quartz plate and a flat hydrophobic PMMA plate. The thicknesses of the applied layers were determined using a wheel-shaped wet film thickness gauge immediately after the application, and UV transmission was measured using an SPF analyzer. The value of in vitro SPF was calculated from the UV absorbance and the thickness of the layer. For two out of the six samples, PMMA plate could not be available, as the samples were unable to wet the PMMA surface. Relatively small differences were observed between the in vitro SPF values when the super-hydrophilic and hydroxyalkyl cellulose-coated plates were used. Samples exhibiting higher in vivo SPF were also associated with higher in vitro SPF values, although a linear relationship was not observed. In contrast to the super-hydrophilic plate whose half-life of the super-hydrophilicity is only approximately five days, the hydrophilicity of the hydroxyalkyl cellulose-coated plate scarcely varied during six months of storage. Finally, a simplified evaluation method was also proposed. The validity of the method was verified through a ring test where three researchers employed this method in different laboratories at three independent organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of oleo science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • PMMA plate
  • hydroxyalkyl cellulose coated plate
  • in vitro SPF evaluation method
  • sunscreen
  • super-hydrophilic plate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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