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Ultra violet radiation (UVR) is relevant in nature, but despite its importance it has been labeled as a causative agent in skin damage. This study was done to evaluate the antioxidant properties of shea butter and its role in the prevention of skin damage. Six groups of albino rats with three rats per group were used, group 2-5 were exposed to UVR at the dose of 180 mJ/cm2 with group 1 serving as the normal control, group 2 (negative control), group 2-5 (treated groups) and group 6 (normal + treated). The treatment was done by topical application of Vitellaria parodoxa seed extract 5 minutes after exposure to UVR. The in-vitro antioxidant properties determined using DPPH radical scavenging activity revealed that the aqueous extract of Vitellaria paradoxa possesses high antioxidant activity. There was an increase in the concentration of GSH of the treated animals when compared to the negative control (p<0.05). The histopathology result shows the extract had a protective effect on the skin tissue of the experimental animals. This study suggests the extract has the potential to serve as a chemopreventive agent against UV-induced skin damage by neutralizing the effects of free radicals generated by ultraviolet radiation and as such can be recommended for use as UVR screen which could in turn reduce the risk of UVR skin damage.
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