Now that we’re heading into summer, your skin is likely showing the first effects of sun exposure. Achieving the perfect glowing tan can be as tricky as waiting for an avocado to ripen; lounge outdoors for just a little too long, and that golden hue can turn red and irritated.
Sunscreen has been in the news quite a bit in recent years. An ongoing debate is being waged as to the safety of its ingredients — especially Oxybenzone, an agent used in sunscreens to protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays. This ingredient has been rumoured to cause hormonal imbalances and other health problems, though the American Academy of Dermatology argues that no published studies show adverse side effects.
Sunscreen remains an integral part of our fight against skin cancer, premature aging, and other ailments. Natural varieties derived from plants have been in use for thousands of years; according to Shaath Nadim, author of Sunscreens: Regulations and Commercial Development, the ancient Greeks used olive oil to protect themselves from the sun, while the Egyptians used rice, jasmine, and lupine. In North America, sunscreen has been a game-changer ever since L’Oreal brought a synthetic variety to the wide commercial market in 1936. There’s simply no better alternative.
The real problem with sunscreen comes down to how it’s used and its effectiveness. According to an innovative new company called Sundots, “research consistently shows that sunscreen doesn’t get applied or reapplied correctly, lets through too much skin-aging UVA radiation, provides no protection against visible light, and oftentimes just doesn’t have the SPF claimed on the label.” The company stresses that sunscreen is vital, but that when used alone, it isn’t a perfect science; it relies too heavily on even application, and we tend to miss spots. And then there’s perspiration, water from swimming, and contact with our clothing and our surroundings to contend with — it’s a tricky business.
Enter Sundots with a unique, innovative solution: a form of sun protection that you don’t wear on your skin…you eat it!
Sundots has created sun protective supplements that are to be eaten daily, like a vitamin. If it sounds like magic or some feat of technological advancement that an edible could protect our outsides from the harmful sun, it may surprise you to discover that it’s actually a practice that’s been around for some time. Polypodium, a type of plant used as an ingredient in Sundots, has been a known remedy for centuries in Central and South American cultures. According to the company, the first written account of its use dates back to 1788, when Spanish botanist and explorer Hipólito Ruiz noted that the fern could be used to treat inflammatory conditions of the joints and skin. Today, says the company, modern research confirms polypodium’s protective properties when it comes to UV rays. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology backs these claims; “Growing evidence indicates the oral administration of polypodium leucotomos extract can provide effective protection against solar UV radiation.”
Dr. Emilia Javorsky, a dermatology researcher at Harvard Medical School, came across the power of this Ecuadorian fern in her quest to find better ways to combat the sun. She soon discovered, in speaking with colleagues, that it was already being used by the “insider” dermatology community. Inspired to get the word out, she teamed up with Chris Tolles, a health entrepreneur working with research groups at Harvard and MIT, and the two concocted the idea for Sundots. The goal was to make a product as “fun, practical, and accessible as possible.”
That’s a lot of science to ingest (pun intended), but the results are impressive.
Sundots aren’t meant to replace our SPF routines; think of these cute gummies as a complimentary tool in our overall toolkit. Meant to be ingested daily and year-round, they pick up the slack where our external blockers fail. Combined with a high-quality sunscreen and UPF-rated clothing, Sundots work to protect the body with a holistic approach.
So, aside from the sorcery of the polypodium, what other ingredients make this possible? Not much, actually; these gummies are all-natural and super clean, flavoured with organic tapioca syrup, organic cane sugar, apple pectin, and fruit-derived essential oils.
An added bonus is that these gummies are infused with vitamin D. According to the company, a global analysis shows that in most developed countries, 30–50% of adults are deficient in this important vitamin, which can result in poor bone health and other concerns. This additive in Sundots doesn’t interfere with the body’s natural ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight — again, it functions as a tool in the bigger toolkit.
For those who wish to add Sundots to their summer arsenal, good news: they have been shown to start exhibiting protective qualities in as little as two hours. The company also has noted additional beauty benefits; users have reportedly noticed more even-toned, less wrinkly, more radiant skin after 2–3 weeks of daily use.
Interested in equipping yourself with a little added (and delicious) protection from the elements this summer? Shop Sundots here.
All photos via Sundots.