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FDA warns consumers about sunscreen pills, advises pills don't replace sunscreen

Posted: 9:37 AM, May 31, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-31 15:41:03Z

One in five Americans are at risk of developing skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

The FDA sent out warning letters to companies illegally marketing pills and capsules labeled as dietary supplements that make unproven drug claims about protecting consumers from the harms that come from sun exposure without meeting the FDA's standards for safety and effectiveness. 

The FDA is warning consumers about  GliSODin's Advanced Skin Brightening Formula , Napa Valley Bioscience's Sunsafe Rx, Pharmacy Direct's Solaricare , and Sunergized's Sunergetic

On Sunsafe Rx's homepage , it states: "One capsule per day helps provide natural, healthy…protection from UV rays."

GliSODin Skin Nutrients claims on its brochure for Advanced Skin Brightening Formula that the product "enhances photoprotection."

University of Arizona Assistant Professor of Dermatology Dr. Vivian Shi, M.D. says her patients often ask about using an oral supplement to replace sunscreen.

"As a supplement, it is meant to supplement," she said. "What we don't get enough in nutrition and diet and by law they cannot make claims that can prevent, diagnose or treat any disease conditions so these labelings are false and it creates a false sense of security for our patients. Whether they have some protective effects we don't know but for they do not replace the need to use sunscreen."

KGUN9 reached out to the companies for comment and one company immediately responded stating: "Sunsafe Rx is made with ingredients that published clinical studies show help protect skin from sun damage and aging."

The company goes on to state: "We don't market Sunsafe Rx as a sunscreen" and that it is "working with the FDA to figure out how we can best describe the benefits."

Dr. Shi recommends the best sunscreen to use to protect skin from the sun is SPF 30 or more that has broad-spectrum.