Meadville Tribune

Our Health

June 3, 2014

Is the idea of drinkable sunscreen worth swallowing?

Tired of greasy, sticky hands after applying sunscreen? Even the spray-on sunscreens leave you inhaling fumes that you shouldn’t breathe. Well, enter a new era of skincare products: drinkable sunscreen.

This new product, The Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare UV Neutralizer Harmonized Water, claims to offer SPF 30 protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. The product claims to provide protection for up to three hours in the sun. A 100 milliliter bottle costs around $30.

The product manufacturers claim that this drinkable sunscreen causes the water molecules just below the surface of your skin to vibrate. That vibration results in frequency emissions that cancel out the frequencies of UVA and UVB radiation — the ones that cause sunburn and potentially melanoma. Oh, and the product comes in tan enhancing and no tan enhancing formulas!

Too good to be true? Maybe.

Dermatologists and many other health professionals are skeptical that an ingestible product will prevent an external event such as sunburn and skin cancers. There is no scientific-based data to support the product’s claims, especially the concept that water can cause vibrations within the body.

According to several news reports, the company itself did little research on the product before rolling it out. There were no independent or clinical trials. The drinkable substance was tested on about 50 people who claimed to stay in the sun for extended periods of time and found they were sufficiently protected. We know nothing about these 50 people — their health status or potential motive for testing the liquid.

Furthermore, there’s another problem with this product: If you’re on certain medications, it may not work. According to the Evergreen, Colorado-based company, “certain medications that have been identified as ‘sun-sensitizing’ may result in little to no sun protection if UV Water is your only form of protection.” The site lists hundreds of medications (including many over-the-counter drugs and supplements) for which this product may not work including acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), St. John’s Wort, Dong Quai, Vitamin A, sertraline HCI (Zoloft) and more. Even saccharin, the artificial sweetener, made the list.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not mention this product or any investigation of this product on its website. However, it may be considered a supplement, thus, it would not require an FDA review or approval. A similar product made by GliSODin Skin Nutrients is also available but by prescription only. It requires consumption at least 15 days before spending time in the sun. Again, if the product is considered a supplement, it would not require FDA scrutiny.

Yet, the likelihood of a drinkable substance for sun protection is not necessarily science fiction. According to many journals on nutrition and food, sun protection can come from your body’s internal mechanism, mainly from nutrients found in foods like the phytochemicals in grapes, berries and walnuts, and sulforaphane in broccoli. In fact, food research found that the traditional Greek-style Mediterranean diet may contribute to the low rates of melanoma in that region.

From an alternative health view, certain herbs can produce antioxidant activities that resist UV rays. Water was not among any of the substances studied. However, research showed that certain herbs only offer supplemental protection to an externally applied product.

Despite the potential help from internal sources that can protect against harmful UV rays, Osmosis’ product is too new to have substantial and conclusive research published for the industry or consumer. Your best bet is to continue your typical regimen and deal with the greasy sunscreens. It has proven to be the best defense against the sun so far.

Nina Bell, Ph.D., MPH, is a public health professor with Ashford University and works in health promotions for the Meadville Family YMCA. She is a co-author of the book “Community and Public Health,” published by Bridgepoint Education Inc. You can email her at nina@w2w4life.com.

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