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Sunblock You Can Drink: Is It Worth The Hype?

    July 5, 2014
    Ashley Olds
    Comments are off for this post.

“I’d like my sunblock shaken – not stirred.”

Actually, shaking is kind of what the drinkable sunscreen called UV Neutralizer Harmonized Water claims to do – shaking your body’s molecules, that is. By sipping a few milliliters before relaxing by the pool, the founder of the company (Osmosis Skincare) Ben Johnson, M.D. says the cocktail makes “the water molecules just below the surface of your skin vibrate, emitting frequencies that cancel out the burn-causing frequencies.”

Hmm. The concept of my subsurface molecules shaking has me stirred a little bit. It sounds like something you might see happen pre-teleportation in a science fiction flick. So, naturally, I decided to see if it works (literally – as in see other people try it out and talk about their experience). Does this elixir provide protection as it purports?

Well, it didn’t hold up so well, according this ABC tale of two twins who took to the beach to test it:

While one sibling slathered on traditional sunscreen, her sister wanted to see if the edible brand imparts an invisible dermal armor against harmful rays. The product gets taken in water form an hour before sun exposure and pledges to provide the same as SPF 30, although you must reapply every few hours (depending on weight) and cannot exercise with it – according the site. As for the results? The O.G. lotion delivered, while the new guy failed as a solar filter.

K. Aleisha Fetters also detailed a personal experience post consumption and after a relaxing weekend by the pool. The final review was that while it wasn’t gross going down, it also didn’t stop sun from coming in: “It didn’t taste bad. It was literally just water. Phew. But that’s all I really have in terms of pros, since my near-transparent skin still burned after a couple of hours spent in the sun. (Well, all of my skin except those parts covered in true sunblock. I wasn’t about to take any chances with my face.)”

Dr. Jayshri Gamoth has also expressed doubt, noting that the fine print indicates you not only cannot exercise while wearing it, but also cannot have eaten anything beforehand.

Then others, still, shared their understandable unwillingness to try it:

People should be free to do what they like – but they also should be provided all the facts.

And currently, some facts provided include that the FDA hasn’t approved it, many everyday-person testimonials outside of the site aren’t supporting that it works, and that companies like Osmosis aren’t new; but after hiring a good PR company, they’re getting more exposure – and so is the scorched skin of the misinformed. Also, there seems to be a disagreement between medical professionals and the creators of drinkable sunscreen as to whether it’s even legitimate – or just based on pseudoscience.

(Meanwhile, some simply want to know if it’ll go well with gin.)

“There’s no evidence-based scientific data to support the product’s SPF 30 claims,” dermatologist Michael Shapiro, M.D., told TIME – referring to the company’s claim to block sun via vibrational frequencies “dubious at best.”

Despite this large lack of support from dermatologists or FDA approval, there are some testimonials (er- on their own website at least) praising the product for its effectiveness. And even though it’s thought to be mumbo-jumbo sans scientific evidence, let’s play devil’s advocate a moment (for the sake of non-biased reporting) by conceding that science itself is a field that is constantly evolving. That means current scientific findings aren’t necessarily the be-all and end-all – indeed many of them are constantly being improved upon or disproved altogether. So, there that is. Maybe this innovation has helpful potential and maybe it doesn’t.

For now, I think I’ll stick with the retro goo, lest I turn into Silence of the Tans in a few years. (“It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the melanoma…”) But, let’s open it up to some actual testimonials and reviews from you guys – for the sake of other interested readers.

Have you tried this stuff?

How has it worked for you?

And no… beer does not count as drinkable sunblock…


Images via Youtube

  • notchakotay

    Selling this hype to people is criminal, and really
    “P’s” me off.

    While I admit I’ve not subjected this stuff to a controlled, double-blind,
    peer-reviewed clinical trial (and I suspect the manufacturers haven’t, either),
    the science in its purveyor’s claims is, to say the least, “shakier” than the molecules they purport to vibrate.

    First, we are all familiar with molecular motion, even if we don’t know it. It’s experienced as heat, and measured as temperature. The warmer something is, the faster its molecules are vibrating. Conversely, the faster its molecules vibrate, the warmer something becomes. The only way this product could increase the rate of vibration of the skin’s water molecules would be to warm the skin, and anything that warms the skin will increase the vibration rate of its water molecules -and all the other associated molecules in the skin, as well. So to the extent this product warms the skin (if it does), it increases the vibration rate of the skin’s water molecules. The sun itself does that, as well, and in the process it also causes sunburn. Anything that increases the rate of molecular vibration in the skin will warm it, and the more it does so, the more likely it is for burning, of some kind, to occur. That, in fact, is what a burn is -damage caused by a harmful increase in the rate of molecular vibration. In my personal experience, having hot skin has never diminished my tendency to burn (again, not a controlled, double-blind, peer-reviewed clinical study).

    If the manufacturers and marketers of this product have evidence that warmed skin reduces the rate of sunburn in human skin, that certainly would be a significant finding and worthy of note in the peer-reviewed literature. If they have found a way to warm only the water molecules, and not the skin itself, that would be a monumental discovery and a published article to that effect in a reputable scientific journal would set the scientific world abuzz. If they published such an article showing that they have found a way to increase the rate of molecular vibration without increasing the temperature of the vibrating molecules, and if that finding were verified by independent researchers, it would upend Newtonian physics, if not establish the basis for an entirely new approach to our understanding of virtually everything scientific.

    As it stands, I think the “science” behind this product is founded not on any principle of Newton or Archimedes, but on that of P.T. Barnum -“There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    The tragedy is that some will be “suckered” in, buy the product (which they may not be able to afford) and suffer sunburns as a result. Some of the burns will be serious; some burns may be acutely dangerous, and some people will eventually get skin cancer as a result of those burns. Caveat emptor (the buyer beware)? No, venditor damnetur (the seller be damned).

    I hereby challenge the product’s manufacturer, promoters, and purveyors to
    respond to my argument and thereby show that they are not charlatans and con
    men (and women). They should be ashamed of themselves. May they also be subject to many lawsuits and to criminal prosecution.

  • Velt

    “Block the sun’s vibrational frequencies” haha. As a physicist, that’s just a marketing company trying to use buzzwords that pray on the public’s average knowledge of light rays.