Sunscreen Pills — Do they really work?

Posted on July 5, 2013


We have blogged a lot in the past couple months about sunscreens due to the scorching Summertime heat. Now we are going off on a tangent and exposing our viewers to Sunscreen Pills. What are they? Sunscreen Pills, orally taken, are supposed to offer sun protection similar to what lotion based sunscreens provide.

Heliocare-sunscreen-pills-full-of antioxidants-for-sun-protection-and-anti-agingOne such brand to market themselves as sunscreen pills is HELIOCARE™ The science behind Heliocare pills is that each capsule is full of naturally derived antioxidants from the extract of Polypodium leucotomos (PLE), a native Central and South American fern that has been used for centuries to treat skin related conditions. This fern originally was an aquatic plant, but then later evolved and adapted to life on land by creating its own protection from the intense UV ray exposure. Antioxidants aid in the elimination of free radical formation caused by sun exposure which results in the preservation of younger looking and more vibrant skin — the key to anti-aging. The antioxidants found in Heliocare are 3,4-Dihydroxybenzoic acid, Chlorogenic acid, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, Vanillic acid, Caffeic acid, 4-Hydroxycinnamic acid, 4-Hydroxycinnamoyl-quinic acid, and Ferulic acid.

So do I still need to use sunscreen if I just pop in a Heliocare pill? The manufacturer says YES…”Helicare is not a sunscreen and should be used in addition to topical sun protection”. The natural question after reading that is “Is this a snake oil pill?” My guess would be yes and no. First off, the FDA has not yet regulated pills which claim to “protect against sun-related effects and aging”. So those claims may not even be accurate. Secondly, we wrote a post about antioxidants and how they are better than sunscreens for anti-aging effects. So consuming antioxidant pills can have a positive effect on your skin but we are not too sure about it preventing sun burn.

Bottom line is this … if you are going to be a proponent of Sunscreen Pills, it’s best to use them as a supplement to traditional sunscreen lotions. There are lone rangers out there who rather use sunscreen pills over traditional sunscreens for protection but we’ll see who gets wrinkled saggy skin first.