No Magic Pill Protects Against Sunburn FDA Warns

During these first long weekends of summer, people are heading outdoors in droves to soak up the sun; plant the garden, put the boat in the water or take the bike for a spin.  And while the sun’s rays are good for body and soul, it’s important to protect skin against damage that can lead to skin cancer and prematurely age skin.  But don’t be fooled into believing there’s a pill you can take that will give you protection from UV rays.  The FDA recently issued a statement that warned companies making these kinds of assertions to correct their false product claims that violate federal law.

Products including Advanced Skin Brightening Formula, Sunsafe Rx, Solaricare and Sunergetic  have made claims that their capsule or pill can prevent sunburn, protect against skin cancer and reduce signs of early skin aging caused by sun exposure.  They do no such thing and can put people at increased risk for sun damage by offering a false sense of protection.  Sun protection is important but the old standby methods to avoid skin damage still hold true.

Sun Protection That Works

  • Wear lightweight protective clothing,  wide brimmed hats and sunglasses
  • Seek shade while outdoors
  • Avoid the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher
  • For extended outdoor activity, use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more
  • Reapply after swimming or after two hours

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and an estimated 1 in 5 Americans are at risk for developing skin cancer in their lifetimes.  A recent Australian study has shown that using a sunscreen with an SPF of 16 daily can reduce the risk for developing melanoma by 50 per cent.

Check to see if your sunscreen has receive the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation here.