By Sarah Kinonen. Photos: Getty Images, Courtesy of Brand.
If slurping down a bottle of water to shield the sun's harmful UV rays sounds too good to be true, well, it probably is. At least, the Iowa Office of the Attorney General thinks so.
On Tuesday, a consumer fraud lawsuit was filed by the Iowa Office of the Attorney General claiming Osmosis Skincare and Harmonized Water—two Colorado-based brands owned by a doctor, Benjamin Taylor Johnson—manufacture "drinkable sunscreen," that are "seriously flawed" and "flat-out dangerous." The lawsuit alleges that the products, which were advertised as being formulated with sun-shielding properties to protect users from UV light, "recklessly gave consumers hollow assurances that they were protected from known health hazards."
The products, dubbed the "world's first drinkable sunscreen," are said to be formulated with a form of radio frequencies, called scalar waves, which, when ingested, "vibrate above the skin to neutralize UVA and UVB [rays], creating protection comparable to SPF 30," according to [Osmosis Skincare and Harmonized Water](http://www.osmosisskincare.com/Assets/Files/UVStudyResults-2014-Aug.pdf). But Iowa's Attorney General, Tom Miller, isn't buying it. "We allege that Johnson and his companies put consumers at considerable risk by claiming that spraying UV Neutralizer into their mouths will provide hours of sun protection," he said in a statement. "It's flat-out dangerous to consumers to make them think without any proof that this water protects them from what we know is proven—potentially cancer-causing exposure to the sun."
If you think that sounds fishy, too, we're right there with you. Which is why, when we reported on the concept a few years back, dermatologists were hesitant—even then—to jump on board with the idea of ingestible sun protection. "Some supplements have been shown in clinical trials to minimize the harmful effects UV light has on the skin," Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, previously told Allure. "They work by helping to boost the skin's ability to fight off damage and by enhancing antioxidant activity. No supplement, however, should take the place of traditional sun-protection measures, like wearing sunscreen, and exercising sun-protective behaviors, such as seeking shade between peak hours of 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. and wearing sun-protective clothing, hats, and glasses."
To add more to the sunscreen saga, Johnson, the doctor behind both drinkable SPF formulas, has been in trouble with the law years prior. As Buzzfeed reports, Johnson surrendered his Colorado medical license after patient complaints and was caught selling Viagra online—without offering medical exams—in 1999. He continues to hold his medical license in the state of California, and told Buzzfeed he believes in his products, and claims the lawsuit is "full of falsities and misleading statements."
"I think it is important to note that we have been selling this remarkable product for about five years," Johnson told Buzzfeed."We have had thousands of re-orders. Surely people understand that as a successful skin-care company it would make no sense that we would sell people a fake sun protection water….and if we did, how long does one think those sales would last?"
Suffice to say, there's a lot happening with this lawsuit. No matter if you believe the drinkable sunscreen products work or not, without having tested the products ourselves, we can't make a full analysis of the success (or lack thereof) of them. We will say, though, you should always wear your daily SPF—broad spectrum SPF 30, at the minimum—whether you're guzzling something extra or not.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
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