There’s No Way Gummies Can Replace Your SPF, Right?

There’s No Way Gummies Can Replace Your SPF, Right?

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could just eat your SPF? We’re not talking about eating your regular sunscreen lotion (because gross), but instead, say, a strawberry-flavored gummy that just so happened to also protect your skin from the sun. A few companies are trying to make it happen.

It’s no secret that putting on sunscreen, though a necessity, is a chore. Whether you slather on too much lotion and wind up looking like Casper the friendly ghost or you completely miss a section of your body when using a spray bottle, leaving you burned to a crisp, applying SPF can be a little complicated. So it’s understandable that people are always looking for the next best thing — the next best product, application technique, or alternative altogether.

Brands like Embody have recently launched gummies that claim to help protect skin from UVA/UVB rays, but it sounds too good to be true. It has many people asking, does edible sunscreen actually work? Ahead, we chat with two skin-care experts, Kunal Malik, MD, board-certified general and cosmetic dermatologist, and Jason Thomson, MD, dermatologist specialist at Skin + Me, to pick their brains about whether using edible SPF is safe.

What Is Edible Sunscreen?

“The concept of SPF tablets, or ‘oral photo protection,’ has gained a lot of interest over the past few years, and increasing amounts of research is happening in this field,” Dr. Thomson tells POPSUGAR. “Essentially, they’re antioxidant supplements that work in a completely different way to sunscreens by protecting your skin from the downstream effects of the sun’s UV rays by inhibiting the formation of harmful molecules and protecting the skin’s DNA.”

It works differently than a topical sunscreen that you apply to the surface of the skin. “SPF gummies are ingestible gummies not with SPF in them exactly, but with a photoprotective fern extract called polypodium leucotomos, which has been shown in five published clinical studies to help protect against sunburn and UV-related damage,” Dr. Malik says.

Does Edible Sunscreen Provide Sufficient Sun Protection?

In short: no, you’ll still need to apply a topical SPF. Dr. Thomson and Dr. Malik agree that any form of edible SPF, whether tablets or gummies, should only be used alongside other sun-protection measures, such as sunscreen and sun-protective clothing.

“They need to be used in addition to a fully preventative routine, which includes topical chemical or physical sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher,” Dr. Malik says. “These have been studied with clinical data showing they protect against harmful UVA and UVB radiation consistently. The SPF gummies should only be used as an adjective supplement when exposed to the sun for extended time periods for added protection.”

Both Dr. Malik and Dr. Thomson suggest wearing either a chemical sunscreen (which absorbs harmful rays at the skin’s surface) or a mineral SPF (which scatters harmful UV rays) every time you’re in the sun. Some of Dr. Malik’s favorite chemical SPF picks are the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence ($10, originally $17) and the Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 ($16).

For mineral sunscreen, he suggests the ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica SPF 50 ($60) and the Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50+ ($18).

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In addition to wearing at least SPF 30 daily, Dr. Malik says there are other measures you can take to protect your skin from the sun. “Clothes with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) can provide additional sun protection and can be especially useful in covering areas that may be hard to protect with sunscreen alone.”

When it comes to skin care, Dr. Malik says using antioxidant-rich products that include vitamins C and E can also help avoid free radical damage that UV radiation causes. “Studies support that vitamin C serum used prior to sunscreen can optimize the SPF and address sun and pollutant damage by neutralizing free radicals.”

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