/ Health, Shopping

A ‘drinkable sunscreen’ that contains just one ingredient

Sun cream on shoulder

Drinkable sunscreen – it sounds great and has had quite a bit of publicity, but when we took a closer look at its ingredients we found a big surprise. Have you seen a product you think will struggle to live up to its claims?

I grew up in New Zealand where the importance of sun safety is really drilled in from childhood. In fact, an animated prawn comes on the television to remind kids to ‘slip, slop, slap and wrap’. Yes, the prawn does get thrown on a barbeque, but it doesn’t mind, honest!

So when I heard about the ‘world’s first drinkable sunscreen’, it piqued my interest. When you’re out and about, it can be a bit of a hassle having to carry sun cream around and regularly reapply it, but we know that the benefits outweigh the bother. But if you could just drink your sun protection… well, that would eliminate the hassle!

Does drinkable sunscreen work?

Drinkable sunscreenThe product, Harmonized H2O UV Neutralizer, costs £25 for a 100ml bottle and is said to offer protection equivalent to a SPF30 sunscreen. However, we looked into this ‘drinkable sunscreen’ and the list of ingredients was a bit surprising. There was only one entry… water. This ‘drinkable sunscreen’ is 100% water.

The makers of Harmonized H2O said that the product works courtesy of ‘vibrational frequencies’ in the water which ‘neutralise’ UVA and UVB, the types of UV radiation that have been associated with skin cancer. Not convinced? Neither is the British Association of Dermatologists, which says ‘it’s complete nonsense to suggest that drinking water will give you a SPF of 30’. The Association adds that it’s best to avoid ‘unproven methods’ and to stick to sun creams, clothing and shade.

Harmonized H2O has told us that it has results of a clinical trial, but we have yet to be shown these results.

So I’ll be sticking with traditional sun creams, like the ones that passed our recent SPF and UVA tests. And I recommend you do too.

Have you come across any products with interesting claims? Have you looked at any and thought ‘there’s no way it can do that’? Or have you ever taken a closer look at a product and been surprised by its ingredients (or the fine print)?

Comments
Member

Why is it legal for a new class of product that makes claims that it will afford protection from the sun to be sold before these claims have been subject to independent scrutiny?

I suggest that every new product that makes health claims should be scrutinised before it is put on sale, rather than involving the Advertising Standards Authority at a later date.

Member

I have often wondered why people buy water in bottles at the extortionate prices charged, when you can fill a bottle with healthier water for next to nothing from your tap. That seems to be down to good marketing. This example, though, takes the biscuit as far as marketing goes – the phrase “spending money like water” springs to mind; you almost have to admire them for attempting to perpetrate such an operation, but also wonder who is prepared to be seduced by it. At the risk of opening a can of worms, it’s a bit like Homeopathy isn’t it, where the cure lies in the belief rather than the fact? Except the fact you get sunburn might easily disprove it.
Some things of course are hard to disprove, but I believe you need to prove something is effective, not prove that it isn’t (apart from religion). Can this be classed as fraud?

Member

I think it is actually an intelligence test. : ) However in fact there are other areas that benefit:

Frequency Enhanced Water for Health:
Remarkable efficacy with many medical conditions
Non-toxic with virtually no side effects
Effective for all ages
Improves your health at the cellular level

Scientific Breakthroughs:
1. Remarkable technology that imprints radio-waves onto
water molecules.
2. Advances in the ability to stack thousands of frequencies
onto one molecule.
3. Revolutionary formula allows us to reverse engineer the frequencies of substances
found in nature and/or the human body.
4. Newly identified frequencies that have beneficial effects on the body.

Key Questions:
What is Harmonized Water?
Harmonized water contains different vibrational frequencies. It describes the frequency messages that water carries in its proton/electron outer shell for extended periods of time.
What does it do inside my body?
It communicates energetically with cells that are imbalanced in an effort to restore a normal vibrational rate.
It reaches all areas of the body within 5-30 minutes. If a cell is balanced, it ignores the frequencies.
What are the side effects?
There are essentially no side effects. Some people with digestive issues or yeast overgrowth may experience
a mild die-off effect that results in loose stools or gas for a day or so.
How much do I take?
Most people take one capfull in 2oz of water. Some will need 2 capfulls for stubborn cases or larger body types.
Can I take too much?
Your body will ignore excess frequencies or frequencies that are not needed … so you cannot overdose.

Member

I thought about posting this ‘information’, which is on a par with a third-rate April Fools joke.

Perhaps ridiculous nonsense like this will help our government and regulators wake up to the need for proper regulation of products for which health benefits are claimed.

Member

Thanks for sharing Diesel. It’s an… interesting read.

Member

I hope you are working something more convincing than this for 32 March next year. 🙂

Member

Worse, this ‘snake oil’ and its claims could cause real and very serious injury should a non critical buyer take the ‘puff’ seriously and, say douse their children in it before a day on the beach.

I have seen the effects of serious sunburn on small children let alone adults and small children have their choices made for them by parents trying to be conscientious but not necessarily knowledgeable enough to question such claims.

The risk of serious harm is, in my view, significant enough for something much tougher than the ASA. Instant enforcement action by Trading Standards / Environmental Health clearing the stuff off the shelves is appropriate. They would if it were lead in the paint on toys, they should in this equally dangerous case.

Member

I agree that prompt action is needed, Martin. One of my friends got skin cancer, which was treated promptly but has suffered a lot of problems which are believed to result from the cancer treatment. He is unable to drive, has had to retire on ill health grounds and is deteriorating fast. He is only 60. Skin cancer is very serious and anyone marketing fake protection should be dealt with severely.

Incidentally, my friend is very fair skinned and has been very careful about protecting himself form the sun.

Member

I agree that this is a very worrying case. There is a real danger that people will be taken in, and will suffer harm as a result.. The product appears to have been developed and marketed by a US firm called Osmosis skincare. The company claims to have conducted clinical trials and provides a link to a non-peer reviewed, non-published paper written by a “Dr Paul Ver Hoeve, MD” who seems to have little understanding of how to conduct clinical trials or how to draw robust conclusions.

The product is discussed on the British Association of Dermatologists website http://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/skin-cancer/drinkable-sunscreen. It is on sale in the UK http://www.facethefuture.co.uk/shop/harmonized-h2o/cat_349.html. Could Which perhaps submit a complaint to the ASA? There’s a clear public interest in doing so.

Member

Addendum. Harmonized H2O has been addressed by the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority. I have just put in a complaint to the UK ASA against a UK retailer of this product. The most concerning specific claim is that the product is “SPF 30 equivalent” which has no basis in fact.

Member

Yvette – This looks like a wonderful opportunity for Which? to highlight the need for looking at the health claims made for new product before they go on sale to the public.

Unless something is done, other ineffective and thus dangerous products will appear on the market.

Member

wavechange, there is also a role for the attributes many (should) have of common sense and scepticism – plus use of the internet – in deciding for themselves whether something is worth buying.
Incidentally, using FutureScience, I have invented a money spinner and am looking for partners to market it – an overnight antisunburn product that you apply when you tuck down and gives protection until you arise next morning. Any takers? Hopefully Which? will give it a “best buy”.

Member

Malcolm – What we need is for everyone to study science, engineering and how to handle their finances. They would be better prepared for life. Until that happens there is a need to protect everyone from rogues.

Perhaps your overnight anti-sunburn product could go on the supermarket shelves alongside the huge number of supplements that most of us don’t need. Don’t publish the details or you won’t be able to patent it. 🙂

Member

Here is a link to correspondence between the British Association of Dermatologists and the person behind putting this product on the market: http://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/skin-cancer/drinkable-sunscreen

I found the link on the Sense about Science website: http://www.senseaboutscience.org
Sense about Science is doing its best to tackle misuse of science, and has featured on Which? Conversation before: https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/ask-for-evidence-sense-about-science/

Member

wavechange, I read the link when this topic arose, more out of interest to see how the BAD (poor acronym) tackled it. The use of the words “invention” and science” are often used to attempt to give something credibility. When there is no proof of efficacy available then the person presenting the information adopts the status of a “superior” being – who has better insight or knowledge than others. It is very difficult to disprove something, so we have to fall back on our own defences – those of common sense.
These sorts of claims should be prosecuted when there is no acceptable supporting evidence. This is just one of many products that claim, without reasonable foundation, to benefit us, particularly in matters of health. The “authorities” should penalise those making such claims. Some of us, however, like to believe in miracles.

Member

I think we agree that fines are likely to be treated as a business expense. I’m still in favour of them, but the priority must be to target those individuals responsible for making these claims and publicly shaming the companies involved.

Member

“Slip slop slap and wrap” resonates as more convincing to me than “harmonised vibrations” although I admit the latter sounds a trifle more gentle on the ear (a clever marketing ploy no doubt).

I think I would have more faith in listening to Brian Wilson and his Beach Boys rendition of their classic hit Good Vibrations to protect me from the effects of the suns rays (and entertain me at the same time) than ingesting this ludicrous rubbish.

Member

The anti-burn water site has now published the results of an (extensive) trial that lasted 1 hour, 24 “patients”, of whom 8 burned. http://www.osmosisskincare.com/Assets/Files/UV_Study_Results-2014-Aug.pdf

According to Dr. Ben Johnson, Founder and CEO of Osmosis Pür Medical Skin
Care, “The definitive results from this trial prove that the scalar wave
technology in Harmonized Water works. This marks the beginning of the
exploration into a new science that will greatly expand our understanding of the
human body.”

A true genius.

An interesting (?) extension of this “new science” is that if you can harmonise the scalar waves in water to neutralise UV radiation (and therefore prevent it from reaching the skin) you could presumably, using different frequencies, prevent visible (light) frequencies from also reaching the skin, thus no reflected light and the person would appear totally black. Useful for would-be night-time thieves or soldiers wishing to avoid detection. The downside is they would have to travel totally naked. Still, it worked for the Emperor…….. Same “science”?

Member
Nape says:
22 August 2014

Personally, I thought this review was remarkably well-balanced and understated. Especially since the subject is bottled water which someone is flogging for £25, spouting some nonsense about it protecting you from sunburn. If it seems incredible that mankind has been drinking water for thousands of years and yet still regularly suffers sunburn, it’s even more incredible that modern educated people should buy into this hokum. The sooner someone puts a law in place that prevents organisations making unsubstantiated claims about products, where someone could be misled and suffer some kind of serious injury (in this case skin damage or cancer), the better.