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Sun screen pill may be alternative to slathering

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Aug 29 2013 07:16:59 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 30 2013 08:57:29 AM CDT

Sunscreen Pill

More and more ways are emerging to protect yourself from the sun.

One new method?

Taking a pill.

That's right. Slathering on sunscreen may not be your only option these days to protect yourself from the sun's damaging rays.

Now there's clothing, laundry detergent and even a sunscreen pill.

"People now are very busy, they're looking for things that are easy," said Dr. Anthony Gust, a dermatologist.

And what could be easier than taking a pill once a day to protect you from the sun?

"I think the idea is attractive to some people," said Gust, "that they would take a pill and not worry about applying sunscreen or reapplying sunscreen."

These pills are a reality, available online and at some nutrition stores.

They're typically made from a fern extract.

Explained Gust: "It's an antioxidant so, like vitamin C and vitamin E, it absorbs what are called free radicals, which are caused by the sun and cause damage to the skin."

He adds that, so far, results look promising: "There's lots of studies that show that it seems to prevent damage to DNA."
 

Gust said he's had a few patients try the pills with good results, but added it's too soon to draw conclusions.

"I hesitate to make a widespread recommendation at this point because it is fairly new. There's no direct study saying people who took this were less likely to get skin cancer."

Problem is, there's no SPF or UPF rating and these pills aren't regulated.

"As far as we know, there's no harm, but I think we don't know enough about how much protection it gives to abandon other methods of sun protection," said the doctor.

Bottom line advice: take the pills in addition to, not instead of, wearing sunscreen.