Your days of slathering on sunscreen aren't gone, but you can better protect your skin with the addition of edible sunscreen.

One of the most important skincare tips you hear is to wear sunscreen, whether the sun is visible or not. We know that lathering on sunscreen can be a drag, we know. But what about edible sunscreen? Yes, it’s a thing—otherwise known as an vitamin-rich cocktail made to help prevent sun damage from the inside out.

We went to Dr. Tal Offer, PhD, Carotenoids Category Manager at Lycored, to get everything you need to know about digesting your sunscreen. The most important fact? It isn’t a substitute for topical sunscreen; it should be used at the same time.

How common is edible sunscreen?

Sunscreen is always a smart choice but increasingly, clinicians agree that tackling skin damage from the inside out with ingestible products is more efficient than applying topical creams and sprays alone.

How does it work?

Lycopene is among nature’s most powerful dietary antioxidants, acting not only by scavenging oxidants generated in the skin in response to UV, but also through its activation of the antioxidant defense mechanism of the cell. In addition, a role for lycopene in reducing photo-aging processes and supporting smooth skin has been established. Scientific research has shown that the phytonutrients in Lyc-O-Mato work in synergy with the natural lycopene to offer powerful antioxidant activity and health benefits.

Is edible sunscreen more effective than topical?

Edible supplementation is a complementary approach to topical skin protection that combines UV absorption with intracellular control of oxidative stress, signaling and inflammation.

What should someone consider when choosing which sunscreen to use?

The sunscreen should have broad spectrum protection of both the ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) ranges of the sunlight spectrum.

Why should you never skip sunscreen?

The sun emits three main types of UV rays: UVA and UVB radiation, which penetrate the atmosphere, and UVC radiation, which is almost completely absorbed by the ozone layer and does not reach our skin. Prolonged exposure to sunlight causes spots; premature skin aging (including loss of skin elasticity, drying and wrinkling), inflammation and increased risk of cancer. These forms of photo damage are mediated to a great extent by the formation of oxidants which can harm DNA, lipids and proteins.