Can Taking A Pill Replace Sunscreen?
Most people know that sunscreen is the best way to protect against sun damage. But is there a pill that could help prevent sun damage? While topical sunscreen is still the most effective protection against skin cancer, some ingredients in sunscreen pills can help to reduce sun sensitivity. Here’s what patients need to know about preventing sun damage.
More beta-carotene to reduce redness
Pills should not be used alone to prevent sun damage. But some of the ingredients contained in the pills do have effects on promoting healthier skin. For example, one study found that people who took vitamin E and beta-carotene supplements had a significant reduction in redness of skin. Beta-carotene and vitamin E are also important in protecting against other types of cancer. Most people will see improvements in vitamin E and beta-carotene levels by eating a rich variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Fern extract for slower sunburn
One of the most important ingredients of sunscreen pills is Polypodium leucotomos, which is a fern extract that can protect the skin from oxidative damage. The fern extract works by increasing the amount of time skin takes to burn. While this ingredient does decrease sensitivity to the sun, the protection is nowhere near the benefits of applying topical sunscreen. Instead, people taking Polypodium leucotomos may see improvements in eczema, existing sun damage, psoriasis, or vitiligo.
Green tea extract to improve skin
Another key ingredient in sunscreen pills is often green tea extract. Green tea plant polyphenols have been shown to have a wide range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. A green tea supplement may help to protect against sun damage as well as improve the overall appearance of skin. Patients should consult with a healthcare provider or pharmacist before starting any new supplement.
Preventing skin cancer
The best way to protect against sun damage and prevent skin cancer is to reduce exposure to UVA and UVB rays. When going outside this summer, wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every 2 hours. People should also seek shade during the hours of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest, between 10 am and 2 pm.
Decrease sun sensitivity
The best way to prevent sunburn is to wear sunscreen daily and avoid overexposure to the sun. Some pills and supplements may also help decrease sun sensitivity in addition to daily sunscreen use. Speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist to find out what supplements may be most beneficial.