A lot of products purport to protect you from the sun. Perhaps you’ve seen ads for pills promising “a simple and natural way to strengthen your skin’s defenses against ultraviolet radiation,” or nutritional supplements that offer “natural anti-ageing sun protection in a capsule.”
With sun damage ranging from burns and wrinkles to skin cancer, these are tempting propositions. Unfortunately, according to federal safety regulators, they’re misleading and potentially harmful.
“There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen,” Scott Gottlieb, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, warned in a Tuesday statement. “We’ve found products purporting to provide protection from the sun that aren’t delivering the advertised benefits. Instead they’re misleading consumers, and putting people at risk.”
The agency has sent letters to four companies that it accuses of “illegally marketing pills and capsules labeled as dietary supplements that make unproven drug claims about protecting consumers from the harms that come from sun exposure without meeting the FDA’s standards for safety and effectiveness.”
The FDA wants the companies to stop giving customers a “false sense of security.”
The companies include: Glisodin, the maker of the Advanced Skin Brightening Formula that promises defense against ultraviolet radiation; Napa Valley Bioscence, the outfit behind the “sun protection in a capsule” Sunsafe Rx pill; Pharmacy Direct, which sells a product called Solaricare; and Sunergized, whose Sunergetic drug is marketed as “basically an oral sunscreen.”
“Consumers should be watchful for unscrupulous companies making unproven claims,” said Gottlieb. “When the FDA sees companies taking advantage of people’s desire to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun, we’ll step in.”
So remember, if you want to protect yourself from the sun this summer, find some shade or put some sun protection on your skin—not in your mouth.