In order to save their skin from the harmful effects of the scorching sun, many people are willing to try any product that boasts of being effective. But beware of ‘sunscreen pills,’ the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned this week.

In a press release May 22, FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned people to be more careful with the kind of products they use this summer, including any pill or capsule available in the market that claims to act as a sunscreen:

“Consumers should be watchful for unscrupulous companies making unproven claims. When the FDA sees companies taking advantage of people’s desire to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun — we’ll step in. There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen.”

“Legitimate sunscreens are made in a wide range of sun protection factor values, also known as SPF values, and are over-the-counter drugs that come in many forms. These include lotions, creams, sticks and sprays. All of these formulations are applied topically over the skin and must pass certain tests before they’re sold. All sunscreens are tested to measure the amount of UV radiation exposure it takes to cause sunburn when using a sunscreen compared to how much UV exposure it takes to cause a sunburn when not using a sunscreen.”

“Over the years, the FDA has updated the labeling requirements placed on sunscreens marketed without approved applications to reflect the latest science on UV exposure. And we’re continuing to work to ensure that sunscreen active ingredients and the FDA’s regulations reflect the most advanced science on determining safety and effectiveness.”

In the announcement, FDA called out companies like Advanced Skin Brightening Formula, Sunsafe Rx, Solaricare and Sunergetic for “putting people’s health at risk by giving consumers a false sense of security that a dietary supplement could prevent sunburn, reduce early skin aging caused by the sun, or protect from the risks of skin cancer.”

Sunscreen Beware of ‘sunscreen pills,’ the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned. In this photo, Sharon Doyle puts sunscreen on the face of 9-year-old Savannah Stidham as they visit the beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 20, 2006. Photo: Getty Images/ Joe Raedle

A warning letter was issued by FDA to the companies mentioned earlier, along with some others, telling them to strictly to adhere to the organization’s safety and effectiveness standards.

It is not difficult for consumers to get duped by companies promoting false information through their online outlets. The website for Sunsafe Rx claims that "just one capsule per day provides natural, healthy, anti-aging protection from UV rays,” while Solaricare claims its pills are used “for treating skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, polymorphic light eruption, and sunburn."

Sun protection cannot be made into a pill because "most [sunscreens] contain physical and/or chemical UV blockers that absorb the sun's harmful rays and protect the skin from DNA damage and premature aging," Gary Goldenberg, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City told Women’s Health Magazine.

Sunsafe Rx told the publication it looks "forward to working with the FDA to figure out how we can best describe the benefits of Sunsafe Rx and continue to offer it to consumers as another tool in their arsenal to help combat the damaging effects of the sun."

So how do you protect yourself from the sun? According to Mayo Clinic, applying and reapplying a broad spectrum SPF sunscreen regularly as well as avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or wearing protective clothing when you do head out into the sun, should do the trick.

FDA also warned that staying away from the fraudulent products was the best way to keep skin cancer at bay, which is the most common form of cancer in the United States.