Could Drinkable Sunscreen Really Work?

If you’re like most people, you hate asking for help getting sunscreen on your back when you’re at the beach. No matter how well-meaning your helpers are, they always miss spots and leave you with streaky tan lines. To solve this problem, sunscreen manufacturers have developed a wide range of products, including roll-on lotions and spray sunscreen. Now, a company called Osmosis Skincare has developed a drinkable sunscreen.

Unfortunately, like so many “revolutionary” products advertised online and on late-night TV, drinkable sunscreen has a distinct “snake oil” aroma. Although extensive scientific testing hasn’t been performed, a Fox News reporter recently purchased and used the Osmosis Skincare drinkable sunscreen. She said that it tasted just like water. She also got a sunburn.

How Drinkable Sunscreen Supposedly Works

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Sunscreen is a crucial tool for preventing skin cancer (to read about preventative care from a program that offers accredited RN-BSN training, visit this page). Osmosis Skincare says that their drinkable sunscreen is actually pure drinking water that contains something called scalar waves. These waves, according to the company, can neutralize UV rays by preventing them from entering the skin. In reality, scalar waves have a limited definition in physics, and they’re also the stuff of conspiracy theories.

Physicists define scalar waves as energy waves that have a magnitude but no specified direction (unlike vector waves, which have both magnitude and direction). Quantum physicists also hypothesize that the Higgs field of the famous Higgs-Boson “god particle” is a scalar field. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of kooky, non-scientific ideas about scalar waves and their effects. For instance, some conspiracy theorists suggest that governments use scalar waves for mind control. Others speculate that Russia had a scalar wave weapon during World War II that could manipulate weather around the world.

A lot of pseudo-scientists mention Nikola Tesla and claim that he almost made a breakthrough with isolating invisible scalar waves. However, it’s important to remember that Tesla, in spite of his genius, also said that he received inspiration by communicating with people from other planets.

Other Sunscreen Conspiracy Theories

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Unfortunately, articles on the Web aren’t always well-researched, and sometimes, they’re written to mislead. For example, a website called RealFarmacy.com recently published an article linking sunscreen to increased rates of skin cancer. This article, along with the drinkable sunscreen claims, highlights some techniques that marketers use to manipulate consumers:

  • Tricky wording. “Women who avoid sunbathing during the summer are twice as likely to die as those who sunbathe every day.” Sadly, everyone is 100 percent likely to die; no one is twice as likely to die as anyone else.
  • Flawed studies. “Higher rates of melanoma occurred in those who used sunscreen versus those who did not,” writes that author, citing a 15-year-old Swedish study. The study participants used sunscreen with SPF 6; the CDC recommends a minimum of SPF 15.
  • False causation. People who wear sunscreen more often are people who spend more time in the sun. As a result of increased sun exposure, they increase their risk for developing skin cancer. Another example of false causation would be to say that “bike helmets cause head injuries.” People who wear bike helmets are more likely to ride bikes, which makes them more likely to experience bike-related injuries.
  • “Quantum woo.” RationalWiki coined the term “quantum woo” to describe how people try to use quantum physics to explain how their “revolutionary” products work. In most cases, consumers should ignore quantum mechanics claims from those without legitimate quantum physics training. Even if the product’s inventor has a legitimate-sounding degree, the person isn’t necessarily fluent in quantum mechanics (and most likely, neither are you).

How Legitimate Sunscreen Works

Sunscreen combines two different ingredients that either block the sun’s rays or absorb them before they penetrate the skin. Organic compounds like oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) can absorb radiation from the sun and then dissipate it in the form of heat energy. Inorganic compounds, including zinc oxide and titanium oxide, either block the sun’s rays or scatter them on contact.

Drinkable sunscreen might seem to offer a solution to the inconvenience of slathering on sunscreen, but unfortunately, it’s based on shoddy science and probably doesn’t work. Purchase a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers at least SPF 15 protection. Then, hope for the least streaky tan possible after someone rubs it on your back.

 

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