It’s sun protection in a bottle, but it isn’t sunscreen – it’s a supplement that you drink.
In short, that’s UVO, the new approach to skin protection developed by Laguna Beach dermatologist Bobby Awadalla. The nutrients and other elements in the 30 ingredients that comprise UVO naturally bolster the immune system to provide 3-5 to hours of supplemental sun protection.
After five years of developing the formula, Dr. Awadalla finally released the product this year. It has found regional success that he’s hoping will be national in the near future.
Dr. Awadalla recently look a few minutes to talk about UVO’s development and share some of its success. I will disclose up front that a golf playing partner and I took UVO before a recent round on an 80-85 degree day, didn’t use sunblock, and a suffered no ill effects.
The formula is promoted as Orange Peach, but it tasted more like a tangerine to me. It’s like Gatorade to drink and can be served warm or chilled. As for a taste, I’ll just say that I like it better than my protein shake.
Here’s my interview with Dr. Awadalla.
How did the idea for the product occur to you, and how did you end up looking for the answer on the supplement side?
It began with my frustration over seeing severely sun-damaged people who had skin cancer due to their lack of application of sunscreen. It just boggled by mind that this was still happening.
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 good formula to provide skin protection, and that’s now UVO.
What’s the biggest challenge to getting people to use or accept UVO?
The difficult part is educating people who think you can only apply something to your skin to protect you from the sun. This is a new concept and that’s why education is part of the promotion.
How and when did you know UVO worked?
I was comfortable with the science right away because I knew all the time and effort that went into creating it, but it wasn’t until we tested 15 people that we had the studies to prove it.
We tested about 15 people and the studies showed that within 30 minutes you had a 40 percent increase in the amount of UV radiation required to burn. Then we discovered something by accident: UVO worked retroactively to stop a burn from happening and worked to heal the burn, so it works proactively and retroactively.
Burns are mostly an inflammation. The anti-inflammatories in UVO help stop the inflammatory process and soothe the symptoms of sunburn.
Wow. Sunscreen can’t do that.
No. It also has other functions that make it a very versatile product. It stops DNA damage, collagen damage and protects and repairs cell membranes. It also stops free radicles.
You can compare sunscreen and UVO this way: Sunscreen does one thing well; UVO does many things well.
What SPF is UVO the equivalent of? Is the protection the same for everyone or does it vary?
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.
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. Overall most people who drink UVO should have a good experience and experience 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.
What groups or demographics have most readily adapted UVO?
We have found that health conscious individuals who live an active outdoor lifestyle love our product. We already have a good following in the skim boarding and beach volleyball communities. We’re just breaking in with the surfers. Beach/water and outdoors sports are huge for us, and we’re already got a following.
We’d really like to see swimmers, paddle boarders – especially stand-up paddle boarders – using it.
Besides your web site – www.drinkuvo.com – where can people expect to find the product at retail?
We want to be distributed within the natural food channels, so Whole Foods, Mother’s Market, Sprouts, Gelson’s Market, places like that.
We want to be in pharmacies, so the sun-protection section of CVS, Walgreens, we’d like to be there as well as surf shops, cycle shops and at golf and tennis clubs. We’re already at some of those places, and are looking to expand further in the near term.
How do you see UVO as a fit with golf?
Golf is very right for this product. The normal round takes between 3-5 hours, and golfers don’t like to get sunscreen on their hands / gloves so they can drink UVO to provide supplemental protection for the entirety of their game. Golf is an ideal sport for it.
What are your hopes for growth and use of the product over the next year?
A year from now, I’d like to see the product be national, beyond just being on our web site and around Laguna Beach. We’re spending the next few months really trying to establish ourselves regionally in SoCal. But we definitely want to be national by next summer.
You can find more info. about UVO and the recommended use if it in an FAQ at the UVO web site: drinkuvo.com/faqs/