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Southland: UVO

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Sun protection for golfers and others on the golf course can be a messy proposition.

Sunscreen that’s good for your health isn’t always so good for your golf grips and shirts. Laguna Beach dermatologist Dr. Bobby Awadalla has a cleaner alternative – UVO, a sun-protection supplement you drink.

This year, UVO has been available at a few Orange County courses, but Awadalla is hoping the product will be more widely available, and possibly national, a year from now.

The product is more prominent in the beach- and ocean-sport communities right now, but Awadalla says UVO is just as much a fit for golf.

“Golf is very right for this product,” he said. “The normal round takes between 3-5 hours, and golfers don’t like to get sunscreen on their hands and gloves so they can drink UVO to provide supplemental protection for the entirety of their game. Golf is an ideal sport for it.”

Monarch Beach Golf Links, Tijeras Creek and Marbella Country Club are some of the courses where the product has been available thus far. The product is best served chilled, so it’s been hosted on beverage carts and snack areas rather than in the pro shop.

The flavor is billed as Orange Peach, but it tastes more like a tangerine-flavored Gatorade.

The idea for a supplement solution for sun protection came to Awadalla after years of seeing people with preventable skin cancer pass through his office due to inconsistent, or lack of, use of sunscreen.

“It just boggled by mind that this was still happening,” he said. “I did some research of the use of topical medicine to treat skin conditions, include psoriasis. I found that people didn’t use it very consistently, even if they had skin disease.

“I thought, maybe we need to rethink this. What we do every day is drink and eat, regardless of what’s happening in our lives, and there’s a lot of evidence that shows vitamins, anti-inflammatories and phytonutrients protect us from the sun.

“After five years of formulation, I came up with scientifically based formula to provide skin protection, and that’s now UVO.”

In essence, Awadalla said, a sun burn is an inflammation, something the body’s immune system can fight. UVO’s special formula bolsters that ability.

In its first test among 15 people, Awadalla said UVO proved to increase sun protection, measured in the amount of UV radiation required to burn, by 40 percent 30 minutes after consumption. Then came a positive result Awadalla hadn’t expected.

“We discovered UVO worked retroactively to stop a burn from happening and worked to heal the burn, so it works proactively and retroactively,” he said.

That made UVO a much more versatile and beneficial product than Awadalla ever expected and give it a major differentiator for sunscreen.

“You can compare sunscreen and UVO this way: Sunscreen does one thing well; UVO does many things well,” he said. “It also stops DNA damage, collagen damage and protects and repairs cell membranes. It also stops free radicals.”

While the drink has many benefits, it also has limits. For instance, it can’t match the maximum protection of a sunscreen.

“UVO will probably never get to the level of a 50 SPF, but even an SPF 5 provides 80 percent UV blockage so having baseline protection makes a difference,” he said. “Overall most people who drink UVO should have a good experience and will receive different levels of protection from it. We encourage people to be conservative in the trial phase while finding out exactly how it works for them.

“We all have different skin types and we all absorb and utilize supplements differently, so there will be variation. That’s why we say 3-5 hours of protection on the bottle.”

You can find more information about UVO, including an FAQ, at drinkuvo.com.