Sunscreen Pills … Really?
Summer is finally here! So, logically, we turn to sunscreens to reduce the risk of overexposure and sunburn as we enjoy outdoor fun. Well, which product is best? With sun protection product claims screaming from the internet like: “the most effective systemic sun protector,” and “Shield your skin from sun damage, sun aging, and Polymorphic light eruption PMLE,” what’s not to like? Wait … there’s more!
- “UVB & UVA Protection”
- “Protects your skin from the inside out”
- “Extraordinary photo-aging protection”
- “Dermatologist recommended”
- “100% organic, free of gluten and GMO”
- “2x more powerful than the leading competitor”
Well, here’s what is NOT to like. Sunscreen formulations range from lotions and sprays to creams. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now warning consumers to stay away from one in particular: sunscreen “pills.” In late May, the FDA posted that it had sent warning letters to four companies that claim their dietary supplements offer protection from sun damage, stating, “There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen.” Well-said, for sure.
The FDA announcement specifically calls out four products – GliSODin Skin Nutrients Advanced Skin Brightening Formula, Napa Valley Bioscience Sunsafe Rx, Pharmacy Direct Solaricare, and Sunergized LLC Sunergetic – for giving consumers “a false sense of security that a pill ingested could prevent sunburn, reduce early skin aging caused by the sun, or protect from the risks of skin cancer.” That statement alone should sound very familiar to those of us in the tanning industry. Specifically, claims regarding the relative safety of indoor tanning or any claim that would lessen the impact of the warning statement on tanning systems cannot be made by salon operators. The Federal Trade Commission monitors the our industry for use of such claims. The listed companies have been directed to reverse all violations associated with their products and review their marketing claims. Again, familiar territory for the tan biz.
But you’ll enjoy this reprisal. A representative for Napa Valley Bioscience responded to a TIME magazine inquiry, “Sunsafe Rx is made with ingredients that published clinical studies show protect skin from damage,” and that the product is useful for supplemental protection and for users with sensitive skin. “However, to be abundantly clear: the sun is dangerous, and UV rays damage your skin. We don’t market Sunsafe Rx as a sunscreen.” Huh? I think you just DID market it as a sunscreen!
If and when your salon guests ask you about sunscreen pills, you can certainly set them straight with the facts and always advocate moderate UV exposure with appropriate protection.
“There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen.” -FDA