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The myth of the sunscreen pill



(CNN) – If you would hear that a dietary supplement would "strengthen your skin's resistance to ultraviolet radiation," "protect your skin and eyes from sun damage," or "basically act like an oral sunscreen," you would think it's too good to be true?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found out at the end of May and sent warning letters to the manufacturers of four of these products. The dietary supplements – Advanced Skin Brightening Formula, Sunsafe Rx, Solaricare and Sunergetic – "put people at risk by giving consumers a false sense of assurance that a dietary supplement will prevent sunburn that reduces or protects skin aging caused by the sun It can reduce the risks of skin cancer, "according to a press release from the FDA.

And in June, US Senator Chuck Schumer urged that these pills be removed from online and retail marketplaces, on the grounds that he said, "Misleading consumers and carelessly putting people at risk endangers health without having to think about the long-term effects which may have unprotected sun exposure to a person. "

These products tend to incorporate antioxidants that, according to manufacturers, protect against free radicals by UVA radiation. At least two of the supplements the FDA has sent warnings of contain lycopene, an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and cancer.

Because these manufacturers refer to their products as dietary supplements rather than drugs, they can sell the products. Kenneth Linden, Professor of Dermatology at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and Co-Director of his Melanoma Center. Because there is not much research on whether these products actually work, these manufacturers make a dodgy practice, he said.

There's also a reason people may rather believe these unproven claims: The majority of Americans do not "Apply sunscreen with at least the recommended SPF of 1

5, and apply sunscreen and reapply after the recommended two Hours are a hassle, "Dr. David Leffell, Head of Dermatological Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology at the Yale School of Medicine [19659002] "Throughout human history, humans have focused on unproven remedies," Leffell said. "In different generations, things could be called snake oil, in other generations they would be called fraudulent, and people's appetite for believing in something too good to be true is limitless."

In In response, Napa Valley Bioscience, makers of Sunsafe Rx responded to criticism: "We do not market Sunsafe Rx as a sunscreen and of course we do not tell consumers that they need no other protection from the sun or that they do not need topical sunscreen "The Sun has reached unprecedented levels in the US and we need all the extra help we can get." The site also claims that the product offers broadband protection that includes both UVA and UVB Radiation protects.

While products like Sunsafe Rx use many ingredients that manufacturers claim are light-protective, the best-researched (and most controversial) is leaf extract from Polypodium leuctomos, a fern native to Central and South America.

Benefits of Polypodium Extract: Fact or Fiction? 19659011] Websites for these supplements often contain links to scientific studies about the benefits of their ingredients. For example, Sunsafe Rx has more than 50 such references for Polypodium extract. However, the jury is still not in its effectiveness.

Dr. Iltefat Hamzavi, a dermatologist and head of research studies at the Henry Ford Medical Center, co-authored a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Association of Dermatology, which showed that Polypodium extract had a measurable effect on redness when taken in tablet form caused by UVB rays, the UV radiation that is typically involved in skin cancer and sunburn.

Although he described the results of his team as promising, Hamzavi claimed that the researchers only tested pills from a particular source, the Ferndale Laboratories, and that it is misleading for other companies to use the results To strengthen credibility of their dietary supplements. He also emphasized that reducing his team's sun damage was significant, but not comparable to protecting topical sunscreen.

Linden said that neither he nor any dermatologist he's known would recommend adding polypodium extract instead of sunscreen

"I think it's probably the most likely candidate for something that will be useful right now but I do not think it's that far in primetime, "he said. First and foremost, Linden says, he would like to see more detailed studies on the ability of the extract to protect against DNA damage, not just redness.

An Injectable Tan

Another manufacturer turned to a housekeeper, a hormone, to give our bodies in response to UV radiation to stimulate melanin production. In other words: a tan.

Clinuvel, an Australian-based company, has launched an injectable product on the market in Europe called Scenesse, which contains an analog of this hormone, and the company has recently filed an application with the FDA to treat a rare condition that is severe Incompatibility of light causes.

The injection is only available in Europe for patients with this rare hereditary disease, but a clinical study on the effect of Scenesse on patients with vitiligo, a common skin disorder, is ongoing in Singapore

Some dermatologists expressed concerns about Scenesse's possible side effects.

"I'm really worried about unpredictable consequences of what else it does in the body," Linden said.

Leffell said all that feels like The pigmentation pathway makes him nervous because the cells that produce melanin are also those that become cancerous in melanoma, a rare but dangerous form of skin cancer.

This concerns me "The darker pigmentation can be a symptom of melanoma and not its cause." Wolgen said that the company hopes to make a current product for wider consumption; In his opinion, a pill or drink would be unnecessary and dangerous because of the risk of overdose. In addition, it will take another six to twelve months for the FDA to review Scenesse for a limited time.

In the meantime, Leffell recommends treating sunscreen products with the same skepticism as hair growth formula or male enhancement pills. 19659002] "Put it this way: If one of these things works, they would not have to spend that much on advertising."


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