The Food and Drug Administration is making it clear: sunscreen pills are largely unproven, and is definitely not an alternative for regular sunscreen.

With 20 percent of Americans at risk of developing skin cancer, it is understandable that people would want to take every precaution that they possibly can. Since ultra violet exposure is a major cause of melanoma, sun protection is an important aspect of preventing the disease.

However, FDA wants consumers to be more discerning of the products they reach for. According to the agency, a number of companies are falsely advertising the benefits of their sunscreen pills, all of which are still unproven and fail to meet the standards of the administration.

FDA Speaks Out Against Sunscreen Pills

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. released a statement slamming the companies who are misleading people about the sun-protecting capabilities of their pills and capsules.

"We've found products purporting to provide protection from the sun that aren't delivering the advertised benefits. Instead they're misleading consumers, and putting people at risk," Gottlieb says, adding that the agency has already sent warning letters to various companies that are making claims about their products that are unproven.

The commissioner specified a couple of products such as Advanced Skin Brightening Formula, Sunsafe Rx, Solaricare, and Sunergetic.

"These companies ... are 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," he continues, calling these companies unscrupulous and advising people to be careful of buying such products.

Gottlieb wants consumers to know in no uncertain terms that sunscreen is still an important product with no alternative.

"There's no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen," he states. He also said that sunscreens should be applied not just at the beach, but whenever people are outside and under the sun.

So, What Now?

Sunscreen may be a pain to apply — and reapply — but it's still the best way to protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Fortunately, there are a lot of great lotions and sprays in the market.

Consumer Reports recently released their annual list of most effective sunscreen products, which they did after comprehensive laboratory testing. In the report, the group also specified that mineral products are less effective in sun protection than chemical ones.

This is blow to Hawaii's move to ban the distribution of sunscreen products that contain certain chemicals that are known to be harmful to coral reefs.