Definition and evaluation of an optimal sunscreen to influence disease activity of affected outdoor workers according to OD 5103 (Protect UV 5103)

Project No. FF-FB 0278


completed 01/2020


The aim of the research project was to carry out a scientific evaluation of suitable sunscreens for use in the therapy and, if applicable, individual prevention of UV-induced skin cancer in insured persons with the occupational disease 5103 (BK 5103) who still work outdoors, in order to create an objective basis for scientifically based recommendations on UV protection.


By means of a market analysis a group of 38 commercially available sunscreens was identified in Germany, which meet the medical, application and galenical requirement profiles for a sunscreen suitable for outdoor workers with BK 5103 as defined by an expert forum. The 10 sunscreens identified as particularly suitable in accordance with the requirements were then evaluated by a neutral testing institute according to a laboratory test profile previously developed by the expert forum. The effective protective effect of two products that best met the criteria (a medical and a cosmetic product) from the ranking list established by the testing institute was then determined in vivo in a clinical trial using non-invasive exposure markers by means of a UV therapy device.


In distinguishing the efficacy of cosmetic versus medicinal products in the range of sunscreens, the research project did not show any difference in the protective effect against natural UV radiation. This concerns the two altogether most suitable products as well as the 8 other products tested by the testing institute. The claimed UVB SPF 50 (+) was fulfilled by all products. The results achieved by the testing institute of a UV-protective effect could also be proven by biometric tests and were in addition confirmed by the results of the experimental study with determination of the UV dose actually received in the skin.

New suitability criteria for sunscreens, which are much more relevant for the workplace situation of outdoor workers, could be developed. It has been shown that the application tests defined and examined within the framework of the research project can, in addition to the standardised EU mandatory testing methods, determine the suitability of a sunscreen product for the target group in a much more targeted manner.

From the various approaches chosen in the experimental study to objectify sun protection behaviour and intervention measures, the use of tape strips of the stratum corneum has emerged as a promising non-invasive method for the non-invasive (and therefore repeatable as often as desired) determination of exposure markers during natural UV exposure. It could be shown for the first time that UVB radiation influences the content of growth factors in the stratum corneum. The parameter "cis-UCA", determined by non-invasive means, has never been measured at the workplace before, and could represent an innovative approach for the evaluation of sunscreen intervention studies under everyday workplace conditions. However, the observed concentration-time profiles of the investigated exposure markers during the working week and on weekends need to be further confirmed in larger studies.

Last Update:

12 Jun 2020


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Universität Osnabrück

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:



occupational disease, protective measure

Description, key words:

sunscreen, OD 5103