SCIENTISTS are developing a new ‘sun pill’ to help combat the damaging effects of solar rays.
The treatment will provide greater protection than sun cream, using antioxidants from pomegranates, carrots, tomatoes and red wine, to enhance the body’s ability to repair cells.
In doing so, the pills could cut the risk of cancer and wrinkling effects of the sun.
But experts warn the product will not stop surface burning – so those who burn easily should still apply cream when out sun bathing.
Scientists at Newcastle University have been investigating the way ultraviolet (UV) rays effect DNA and causes wrinkles.
During this research they discovered how antioxidants block a chain reaction that leads to cell damage, and later this year they will publish a table which shows the top 25 antioxidants with the most beneficial effects.
Mark Birch-Machin, professor of molecular dermatology at New Castle University, said pills will be heavily used in the future of skin protection, rather than creams and gels which are massaged into the body.
He said: “We have got to find a better way of getting these things into the skin and pills will be an answer.”
Past studies showed that people who ate a daily dose of tomato paste had 33 per cent more protection against UV damage because of the high levels of antioxidant lycopene.
The latest development was published in the British Journal of Dermatology and is to be discussed next month at the Royal Institution in London.
Mr Birch-Machin’s work has been part-funded by Procter & Gamble, a consumer goods company which makes the Olay skincare brand.
They say these so-called “neutraceuticals” could become a part of summer sun protection.