Many of us love to spend time in the sun, but everyone knows that too much UV light exposure increases our risk of skin cancer. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just take a pill in the morning and get decent sunscreen protection throughout the day? There are a few pills that have been marketed as sunscreen protectors, but are they effective?
Sunscreen pills can be purchased without a prescription to provide additional sunscreen protection. It is important to note that none of the products are intended to be a replacement for topical use of sunscreen but as an adjunct. The pills, which are sold at varying prices, supposedly boost the skin’s resistance to sun damage.
● Heliocare and Sunpill both contain polypodium leucotomos, which is derived from natural fern, and contains antioxidants. There was a small study of nine people that found a decrease in the redness of the skin with people who took polypodium leucotomos and under the microscope their skin showed less sunburn cells. Heliocare costs $35 for 60 pills on Amazon while Sunpill was $14 for 30 pills. Sunpill also contains pomegranate extract, another sun protector supplement, as well as green tea and other antioxidants.
● Murad Pomphenol Sunguard contains large amounts of pomegranate extract in the form of ellagic acid to provide sun protection. It costs $25 for 60 tablets. Ellagic acid is an antioxidant found in many fruits, nuts and pomegranates and is believed to have anti-cancer properties. A small study of 13 women found that ellagic acid inhibited the hyperpigmentation that comes from UV exposure.
● Astaxanthin is a carotenoid and antioxidant, found in marine life and plants, that thought to be more potent that vitamin E or A. It is supposed to help repair damage from free radicals which are thought to damage cells making them more susceptible to skin cancer. According to sciencedaily.com, astaxanthin can also reduce the pain and inflammation of a sunburn and can help those who already have developed skin cancer.
Many people have posted at sites selling sunscreen pills that they find that they can stay out longer in the sun or that their skin quality has improved.