By Kathleen Doheny
Just in time for the Memorial Day summer kick-off, a skin care company is promoting its drinkable sunscreen.
Take a few swigs, head outdoors, and you’ve got sun protection, or so the claim goes. But is it too good to be true? Here’s what you should know about this product:
What does this drinkable sunscreen claim to do?
According to Osmosis Skin Care, its UV Neutralizer Harmonized Water uses ”cellular vibrations” and ”isolates the precise frequencies needed to neutralize UVA and UVB.”
Directions suggest taking 2 milliliters with 2 ounces of water every 4 hours while in the sun. The product neutralizes UV radiation, according to the company, and ”allows for increased sun exposure (30x more than normal).”
Its listed ingredients are distilled water and “multiple vibrational frequency blends.”
A 100-ml bottle of UV Neutralizer, either tan-enhancing or non-tan-enhancing, sells for $30 online. Other formulas of Osmosis harmonized water claim to aid vigor or joint health, and combat hangovers, among other purposes.
The harmonized water “contains frequencies that cancel out UV radiation,” Osmosis Skin Care’s founder, Dr. Ben Johnson, writes on its web site. “If 2 mls are ingested an hour before sun exposure, the frequencies that have been imprinted on water will vibrate on your skin in such a way as to cancel approximately 97% of the UVA and UVB rays before they even hit your skin.”
The water does not work for everyone, Johnson writes, and fails to provide protection for “less than 1% of the population.” He recommends that users test its effectiveness first, and that those taking medication that increases sun sensitivity take extra precautions.
According to the company, the FDA has not reviewed the product.
What do dermatologists say?
“It’s ridiculous,” says David J. Leffell, MD, the David Paige Smith Professor of Dermatology & Surgery at Yale School of Medicine. “It’s scientific jibberish. Unless they are willing to present scientific, peer-reviewed data to support these claims, we have no choice but to dismiss it.”
“You don’t want to take something internally that can be prevented or treated by external means,” says Leffell, who reports scientific work for Coppertone.
The American Academy of Dermatology issued a statement on the product, reading in part: “This drink should not be used as a replacement for sunscreen or sun-protective clothing. There is currently no scientific evidence that this ‘drinkable sunscreen’ product provides any protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays.”
What’s the best plan to protect against cancer-causing sun exposure?
“Use sunscreen every couple of hours while you are active outdoors,” Leffell says. He recommends SPF 30. A brimmed hat can help. Parents should pay special attention to protecting children from the sun.
Wearing sun-protective clothing is another good strategy, according to the academy. “Sunscreen is the only form of sun protection that is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”