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What are Sunscreen Pills?

By J.Gunsch
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Sunscreen pills that offer sole and complete protection from UV rays are not yet available to the public, but there are pills on the market that are intended for use in addition to lotions and creams. They offer more protection than other products, which the majority users fail to put on properly. The consequences of neglecting to apply sunscreen lotion evenly or as often as necessary are thought to be neutralized with the use of these pills.

The pills that are currently available are designed to protect the skin from sun damage from the inside out. The biggest concern about spending too much time in the sun is that DNA is damaged by exposure to UV rays. When this happens, cells can potentially begin to grow abnormally, resulting in skin caner. Sunscreen pills do not screen or block UV rays as lotions do, but they strengthen and help prevent the skin’s DNA from sun damage at the cellular level.

Sunscreen pills are generally composed of vitamins, organic chemicals and antioxidants that are found in many foods. These ingredients are conveniently concentrated and often include the vitamins A, C, D and E; selenium, which is a photoelectric chemical; para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), a type of folic acid that absorbs ultraviolet light; and antioxidants found in green tea, carrots, beets and pomegranate that are proven to help fight cancer. While it's possible to get all of these nutrients through the diet, that would be very difficult. Each brand of pill contains its own combination and concentrations of various ingredients.

Consumers cannot use these pills to replace sunscreen lotions or creams because their effectiveness when used alone has not been proven. Many people who have tried them believe that they are beneficial in preventing sun burns, which are a sign of skin damage. Taking the pills daily as a dietary supplement may help prevent at least some damage, and the ingredients that they contain are healthful for many body systems other than the skin.

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Discussion Comments
By burcidi — On Jun 17, 2013

@ddljohn-- You can definitely get most of these nutrients from your food. Eating almonds, tomatoes, dark colored fruits and vegetables like cranberries, pomegranates, blueberries, spinach and chard will help protect your skin.

But I have heard great things about fern extract just as @mendocino said. So if you can, eat all these foods, but also take a fern extract supplement to protect yourself from the sun.

By burcinc — On Jun 17, 2013

@ddljohn-- I use sun protection pills and I think it definitely helps. But let me clarify what these pills are supposed to do. These pills are not supposed to prevent you from getting sun-burnt, no pill can do that. The point of sunscreen pills is to protect skin cells from damage. So you may get sun-burnt, but your skin cells will have more protection in the process.

I have been using both sunscreen pills and regular sunscreen lotion for the past two summers and my skin is looking much better than it used to.

By ddljohn — On Jun 16, 2013

Are sunscreen pills really worth it? If all they contain is vitamins and minerals, then technically, I can protect my skin from the sun by eating healthy foods. Am I right?

Has anyone tried sunscreen pills? Did you feel that it helped?

By mendocino — On Apr 01, 2008

A pill made from a Central American fern extract may have the ability to protect against UV rays. Those pills are apparently sold over the counter in some countries and are used for skin conditions such as psoriasis.

Scientists believe that using these pills in addition to sunscreen would provide a more powerful protection against sunburn, and ultimately against skin cancer. More research is needed to confirm the efficacy of these pills.

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