Q. Instead of sunscreen, I take megadoses of vitamin C, which has protected me for over 20 years against sunburn. (Of course, I don’t tan or freckle either.) I take 3 grams of C each day, and once every year or two I might get a little pink on the most sensitive areas (tip of my nose, neck and shoulders early in the summer); otherwise, the C protects me against the radiation of the sun.
A. There is some data to suggest that vitamin C may have some modest effects against ultraviolet radiation. A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Feb. 2005) even demonstrated that a combination of antioxidants like vitamin C and E could reduce DNA damage caused by sun exposure.
Do not assume, however, that taking oral vitamins can protect you against harm from the sun’s rays. We would encourage you to stay out of the midday sun and also use sun blockers that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.