These days, it's almost impossible not to know how important it is to protect your skin when you're out in the sun. But what if you're an athlete or you sweat excessively, and you have to spend a lot of time outside? If you can't reapply sunscreen as often as you need to for it to be effective, you may need another option. Well, as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention -- and that's how sunscreen pills came to be.

Sunscreen pills sound way too good to be true, and in a way they are. They can't completely replace sunscreen, and they they're not as effective at blocking the sun's effects as sunblock. But when used in tandem with sunscreen, sunscreen pills may help keep the sun from damaging your skin.

When we spend time out in the sun, we get tan -- it's our body's natural defense against the sun's ultraviolet rays. However, repeated exposure to UV rays can damage your skin and eventually lead to everything from premature aging to cancer. Traditional sunscreens block ultraviolet light before it hits your skin, helping to reduce the amount of damage UV light can do.

While sunscreen protects us from the outside, sunscreen pills help protect us from the inside. They usually contain vitamins and strong antioxidants that we may not get enough of in our day-to-day diet [source: Gunsch]. These ingredients may help protect our bodies against damaging free radicals caused by ultraviolet light's interaction with our cells.

Some sunscreen pills have shown promising effects of easing sunburn pain on top of helping to prevent sunburn. However, at the end of the day, the key phrase to keep in mind is "helping to prevent." So far, there's no pill that can completely take the place of sunscreen and a hat.

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