Experts study purple sweet potato leaf extract as potential active material for sunscreen

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – A breakthrough research output produced by Diah Mira Indramaya dr., Sp.KK. and team. She studied “Purple Sweet Potato Leaf Extract as Potential Active Sunscreen Material”. Before reviewing more about purple sweet potato leaf extract, first, she explained about sun exposure known to cause skin damage. Radiation emitted by ultraviolet (UV) rays, she explained, contains free radicals that can trigger premature aging and the even skin cancer.

“The use of sunscreen is very important to protect the skin from the dangers of UV exposure,” she said.

Sunscreen, continued dr. Diah Mira, is generally formulated from chemicals such as amino benzoic acids and their derivatives such as cinnamates and benzophene. The use of these chemicals, she continued, is effective especially at high concentrations, but it has the potential to cause irritation or allergic reactions.

“The addition of natural ingredients such as flavonoids (anthocyanins ) is expected to minimize side effects,” she explained.

For this reason, she and her team conducted a research on purple sweet potato leaves which are known to have high levels of anthocyanins. Ethanol extract from natural ingredients, she explained, has also been shown to have an antioxidant effect of 80.43%, equivalent to pure vitamin C.

“So it is considered to be a potential active material in effective sunscreen with minimal side effects. Even so, clinical trials need to be done to find out whether this material is safe to use on human skin or even potentially cause irritation and allergic reactions, ” she said.

In the end, she said that her research showed that purple sweet potato extract of antin-3 varieties from young leaves with a concentration of 500 mg / kg, 1000 mg / kg, and 5000 mg / kg and old leaves with a concentration of 500 mg / kg did not cause irritation and allergic reactions in humans. Weak irritation and allergic reactions, she explained, occurred in subjects who received old leaf extracts with concentrations of 1000 mg / kg and 5000 mg / kg.

“Old leaves have higher saponin levels than younger leaves, this substance has been known to be irritant.Young leaves have higher levels of flavonoids (anthocyanins ) and lower saponin levels so they are considered more effective and safe to use as potential active material for sunscreens,” she concluded.

Author: Nuri Hermawan

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia


Dipahayu D, Arifiyana D, Indramaya DM, Anggraeni S (2019). Safety Study of Purple Sweet Potatoes Leaves Extract (Ipomoea batatas (l.) Lamk) Antin-3 Variety as a Sunscreen Active Ingredient on Human Skin. International Journal of Drug Delivery Technology, 9(2): 120-4; 

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