California Attorney General Rob Bonta  announced that his office reached a settlement with Dermatology Industry, Inc., resolving allegations that the company misled consumers by marketing a “drinkable sunscreen” product.

The California AG alleged that the company, which did business under the name “UVO,” advertised that its drinkable sunscreen, when ingested, would help protect consumers from the sun.  For example, UVO claimed that its product provided “3-5 hours of sun protection from head to toe including your eyes,” that UVO “is the first drinkable supplement to provide sun protection,” and that “if you drink UVO you will have baseline protection that will help minimize the likelihood of burning even if you forget to use sunscreen.”  The California AG asserted, however, that there is no evidence that the product provides any sun protection.

In announcing the action, Bonta said, “You’ve got to wear your sunscreen, not drink it. Today’s judgment should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks to deceive consumers and endanger their health: my office is watching, and we will hold you accountable.”

During the course of the investigation, UVO stopped marketing and selling the product.  And, as part of the  settlement, UVO agreed to broad injunctive relief, which includes prohibitions on making false, misleading, or deceptive advertising claims in the future, including claims about whether a product provides protection from the sun.  UVO also agreed to pay $42,500 to the State of California.

What’s the lesson here?  Well, in the settlement, UVO said that it “genuinely believed that its UVO product was based on competent and reliable scientific evidence.”  When making claims about the health and safety of consumers, however, just believing that something is true probably isn’t going to be enough.  You’re going to want to make sure that you really do have competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up the claims that you are making.