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Background: The skin, particularly the epidermis, is subjected to various external stresses, including ultraviolet [UV] irradiation. UV irradiation, mainly UVB at wavelength of 280-315 nm, can alter several epidermal functions, including cutaneous inflammation, epidermal hyperproliferation, DNA damage, disruption of epidermal permeability barrier and reduction in stratum corneum hydration levels. Because of the negative impacts of UVB irradiation on epidermal functions, great efforts have been made to develop regimens for the protection of alterations in epidermal function induced by UV irradiation. Summary: While sunscreen can provide physical barrier to UV light, some natural ingredients can also effectively protect the skin from UVB irradiation-induced damages. Studies have demonstrated that either topical or oral administrations of some natural ingredients attenuate UVB irradiation-induced alterations in the epidermal function. The underlying mechanisms by which natural ingredients improve epidermal functions are attributable to antioxidation, stimulation of keratinocyte differentiation, increases in the content of epidermal natural moisturizers and inhibition of inflammation. Key Message: Some natural ingredients exhibit protective and therapeutical benefits in photo-induced epidermal dysfunctions via divergent mechanisms.

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