Don't ditch your spreadable SPF just yet
Have you heard of the new sunscreen you can drink? Introducing Osmosis Skincare’s UV Neutralizer Harmonized Water, a product that claims to provide the equivalent of SPF 30, protecting you from 97% of UVA and UVB rays for up to three hours. How? By making the water molecules just below the surface of your skin vibrate, emitting frequencies that cancel out the burn-causing frequencies of UVA and UVB radiation, says Ben Johnson, MD, general practitioner and founder of Osmosis Skincare.
If that sounds like science fiction to you, you have good reason to be skeptical.
“How can you drink something that causes a vibrational wave in your skin?,” says Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist based in New York. “When you’re making a big claim like this, you need solid proof.”
And there doesn’t seem to be any. “There’s no evidence-based scientific data to support the product’s SPF 30 claims,” says dermatologist Michael Shapiro, MD, also based in New York. Plus, “Saying that their water is ‘imprinted’ with vibrational waves which ‘isolate’ the frequencies that protect against UV rays is dubious at best,” he says. He also notes that the company’s explanation of how the product works is too vague and too “out there” to allow the public to understand the science behind the claims.
We asked Johnson for the details on the company’s research, and well, there’s very little. No independent or clinical trials have been conducted on the product. Instead, “the UV Neutralizer was tested internally on roughly 50 people for extended stays in the sun before we launched it,” he says. As for what he says to dermatologists who don’t believe the hype, Johnson at least understands the skepticism, but urges them (and the public) to try it for themselves.
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Here’s the thing: Some sun protection can come from the inside out. There’s evidence that key nutrients found in certain foods, like phytochemicals in grapes, berries, and walnuts, and sulforaphane in broccoli, can offer some degree of protection. But these are supplemental. Your best bet is to follow Day’s advice: “You can get extra sun protection from nutritional sources, but it doesn’t replace the need for sunscreen every day and sun-smart behavior.”
Need a refresher on best sun practices? Check out our ultimate guide to sunscreen.