What is an oral sunscreens?
Newer technologies like phytochemicals and natural botanical extracts such as polypodium leucotomos have demonstrated strong photo protective properties specifically in the context of photodermatoses, photo aging and sunburn. Fernblock is an all-natural antioxidant extract, which works at a cellular and molecular level when consumed orally. Its anti-oxidant properties help protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by sun exposure. It inhibits generation of reactive oxygen species, prevents damage to the DNA and accelerates removal of UV-induced photoproducts. Some research studies have shown that PL can reduce the sun sensitivity in people who have itchy rashes when the skin is exposed to the sun, also known as polymorphous light eruption
What is a topical sunscreen?
Topical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that reduce the harmful effects of UV rays by deflection, absorption and scattering. UVA is responsible for photo aging of the exposed skin and UVB for sunburn and skin cancer. Topical sunscreens typically have a SPF Sun Protection Factor which helps to determine the protection level. Due to less consumer counselling and knowledge, topical sunscreens are less effectively used in terms of application amount, re-application, time of application, coverage etc.
Pros and cons of oral vs topical sunscreen
- Uniform protection over the entire body area
- No need for multiple reapplications due to sweating, bathing etc.
- No adverse effect and non-toxic
- Powerful anti-oxidant
- No photo allergic reactions which are common with topical sunscreens
- It has ancillary benefits of long-term inhibition of photo aging, anti-tumor properties and carcinogenesis
- They provide UV-protective effect by neutralizing free radicals, which is not seen with topical sunscreens.
- Still under research and development
- Not easily available in the market
- Level of protection uncertain since SPF value cannot be assigned to oral sunscreens.
- Consumers needs to ensure correct product usage in terms of time, dosage etc.
- Difficult to understand the most effective protection time range
However for greater benefits one cannot replace another. Oral and topical sunscreens play their role in different ways and both are beneficial if used for extreme photo damage or photosensitive skin conditions.