Pills containing one or more of compounds like polypodium leucotomos (PL),beta carotene,lycopene,red orange extracts, vitamin C & E, green tea, nicotinamide, PABA, etc.which have robust sunprotective properties.Thus one can ‘eat their sunscreen’.The most powerful amongst these agents being controlled aqueous extract of the leaves of fern plants (PL)which provide a consistent phenolic content.
The level of protection is not equivalent with that of a topical sunscreen, hence these are solid boosters to topical sunscreen, not a substitute.
There usp as below
a) Convenience of use.It is just like taking a supplement.
b) No need of repeated applications like topical sunscreen.
c) More uniform coverage of the total body surface area and deeper sun protection regardless of factors like potency of creams, amount applied, sweating, or bathing.
d) More broad-spectrum protection against the negative effects of the sun from prevention of sunburn to anti skincancer effects to anti ageing benefits.
e) Excellent safety profile
How is it beneficial?
Reliable studies have shown that these provide:
a) Protection against ultraviolet , visible and infrared radiation
b) Excellent antioxidant – reduces free radicals by up to 50%,
c) Prevent pigmentation caused by UV rays.
d) Protects the entire skin surface, increasing the skin’s resistance against sunburn and redness by up to 300%.
e) Slows down skin aging
f) Repairs sun-damaged DNA in skin cells thus protecting against cancer transformation.
g) Protects from sun allergy, premature graying of hair,improves vitiligo, melasma&psoriasis
1. Comparison of oral vs topical sunscreen
Reapplication every 2 to 3 hrs, after swimming, excessive sweating, etc.,
Twice or once a day tablet
Area of protection
Protects on area where applied
Full body and hair protection
High SPF, easy spreadability, high substantivity, sweat and water resistance, nonoily feel, photostability, cosmetic acceptability, etc., required for consumer compliance
No such requirements
Allergic reactions and acne
Concerns of genotoxicity with Nanoparticle physical sunscreen, andendocrinologic side effects of chemical sunscreens
No such issues, though long term safety unknown
There are no published studies to date that directly compare efficacy of oral to topical sunscreens.
What is the dose?
Consume 2 capsules 30 minutes before sun exposure. Take 1 capsule in midday again if prolonged sun exposure.The capsules should be taken “daily (indefinitely) to provide continuous adjuvant sun protection.”
If someone wants to take a sunscreen pill, they should continue protecting their skin by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying sunscreen. More research needs to be done to know the optimal way of using these pills and their long-term safety.
Why should one take oral sunscreen , indications?
Oral protection can help make up for the limitations of topical sunscreen,andgreater compliance of consumers due to ease of use. The usp has already been mentioned above.
b) Pigmentation disorders like melasma and vitiligo
c) Genetic disorders like xerodermpigmentosum, porphyrias which require strict sun protection
d) Sun related allergies
e) Those allergic to topical sunscreen ingredients
f) Those who get acne due to topical sunscreens
g) Players and people on the go who cannot reapply sunscreen frequently.
By Dr. Rinky Kapoor,Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon,The Esthetic Clinics