Ultraviolet Exposure, Antioxidant Use and Skin Erythema at Extreme High Altitude

2014-07-24 14:17:34 | BioPortfolio


With the increasing tourism and adventure travel into extreme environments comes the need to reassess the required protection against ultraviolet (UV) radiation and possible other oxidative stresses. This is an observational study of UV radiation exposure and skin erythema while at extreme altitude (Mt. Everest). In addition to UV exposure, skin erythema, antioxidant use (such as vitamins C and E) will be measured.


1. UV radiation at extreme altitude has larger effects on the skin than at sea level; therefore requiring an adjustment of the antioxidant use for adequate protection.

2. The skin is an accurate reflection of UV and oxidative stress exposure

3. The efficacy of oxidatives stress is reflective of the ethnicity of the individual.


The literature widely acknowledges the deleterious effects of UV radiation on skin health, via production of oxidative free radicals. Consequently, there have been numerous studies on the potential dermatological/anti-carcinogenic benefits of anti-oxidants, such as vitamins C and E, melatonin, green tea, zinc, and selenium. There is, however, a limited amount of literature on the quantity of UV exposure in high-risk settings, such as extreme altitude and equatorial zones. Currently, there is no literature on UV exposure on Mount Everest. Additionally, the efficacy of antioxidants (topical or systemic) has not yet been established in this environment.

This will be an observational study where the principal investigator will collect accumulated ultraviolet exposure at different extreme altitudes during a 6 week period of a summit expedition on the north side of Mt. Everest. Included in the data collection will be patient demographics, time, altitude, temperature, use of anti-oxidants, sunscreen (weighed), and skin erythema (spectophotometer).

Study Design

Observational Model: Ecologic or Community, Time Perspective: Prospective




Mount Everest, North side




Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-24T14:17:34-0400

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