Sunscreen Pills Are Bogus, According To Recent Crackdown By The FDA

The agency said supplement products claiming to protect consumers from the harmful effects of the sun's rays just do not work.

Sunscreen pills do not work per FDA.
Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock

The agency said supplement products claiming to protect consumers from the harmful effects of the sun's rays just do not work.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demanded kratom herbal supplement manufacturers stop making outlandish health claims about their products or face being shut down. Shortly thereafter, the watchdog agency turned its sites on companies that make sunscreen pills, declaring the products are completely fake.

According to an NBC News report, numerous health supplement companies are currently selling products that claim a pill can protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun. The marketing of these products distinctly claim taking a daily pill is a “simple and natural way” to reinforce the skin’s ability to protect against ultraviolet radiation.

The FDA doesn’t believe it. In response, the agency sent warning letters to many of these companies demanding they stop making health claims that are still unproven.

In a recent statement about sunscreen pills, the FDA chief, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, did not hold back.

“There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen. 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.”

Gottlieb is worried that sunscreen pills only put people more in danger by promising benefits that simply do not exist. He is convinced these supplements give a “false sense of security” by claiming they can prevent sunburn and even reduce the chances of developing skin cancer.

The head of the FDA says only “legitimate” sunscreens can offer protection from the sun’s radiation. Lotions, sticks, creams, and sprays with SPF ratings should be used.

“All of these formulations are applied topically over the skin and must pass certain tests before they’re sold.”

Sunscreen pills will not protect from the sun's radiation.
The FDA recommends using traditional sunscreen when out in the sun. ratmaner / Shutterstock

The FDA specifically targeted four sunscreen pill supplements – Advanced Skin Brightening Formula, Sunsafe Rx, Solaricare, and Sunergetic. The makers of these products were told directly by the agency to evaluate and review their products’ marketing claims, or further action may be taken by the federal regulator.

“Sunsafe Rx is made with ingredients that published clinical studies show protect skin from damage,” a representative of sunscreen pill maker Napa Valley Biosciences told Time magazine. “We don’t market Sunsafe Rx as a sunscreen, and we certainly don’t tell consumers that they don’t need any other protection from the sun or that they don’t also need to use a topical sunscreen.”

The other supplement companies have yet to comment on the FDA’s warning.

As people are now using sunscreen more frequently, the FDA plans to take a closer look at the ingredients used to make traditional sunscreen products. There is growing evidence that some of the chemicals used may be absorbing into the skin, and the agency wants to determine all the risk factors involved in the use of any sunscreen products.