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February 15, 2008

Beauty Bites: Can a Pill Make You Gorgeous?

Can a pill really zap acne or smooth cellulite? NYC dietitian Keri Glassman evaluates new supplements and sorts the brilliant from the bogus, while brave MC editors test the pills to see what really works.

phyto plage phytosolaire pill in a paper candy cup

Phyto Plage Phytosolaire

Photo Credit: Jeff Westbrook/Studio D

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THE PILL: Phyto Plage Phytosolaire

THE CLAIM: Beta-carotene, carotenoids, and tomato lycopene help protect the skin from UV damage while stimulating and prolonging a perfect tan. Plus, popping a pill before a beach day is easier than eating loads of carrots (a Brazilian old wives' tale).

COST: $38 for a 60-day supply

GLASSMAN SAYS: "Beta-carotene and carotenoids convert to vitamin A in the body, and A makes you look orange. That's not tanning. If you ate a huge bag of carrots each day, in a week or two, you'd see orange palms. And too much vitamin A can cause liver damage and birth defects."

MC EDITORS' VERDICT: Our tester's skin began to deepen in tone a week before her island getaway; once she hit the beach, she didn't burn (of course, she did wear sunscreen and reapplied religiously). Typically, her tan fades as soon as she reaches the Tarmac at JFK, but this golden glow lasted a whole week, even in subzero weather.

BOTTOM LINE: **(out of five)

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