Osmosis Skin Care offers what they call "Harmonized H2O" This product is a UV Neutralizer-Tan Enhancing[sic]: Boost your body’s defenses with this innovative new technology utilizing frequencies that work against the damaging effects of the sun.

Specifically, they claim that drinking this water at regular intervals will prevent sunburn while enhancing tanning.

Take 2ml every 4 hours while in the sun (preferably with 2+ oz of water). Wait 1 hour before exposure to the sun. Monitor sun exposure carefully. Take second dose if still in sun 3 hours after first dose.

The active ingredients of this product include: water. (With stored scalar waves.)

enter image description here

Their research claims to show positive results:

This randomized clinical trial was designed to evaluate a new technology, scalar waves, to provide sun protection. ...... 24 patients ranging from 18 to 60 with various ethnic backgrounds and skin types were exposed to one hour of sun to one side of the body between noon and 1pm after ingesting 3ml Osmosis Harmonized Water UV Neutralizer. Paul Ver Hoeve, MD, FACS of Facial Beauty by MD conducted the study and documented the results which showed 16 out of the 24 patients did not experience any burning. This testing provides evidence that UV Neutralizer really works.

QUESTION: Can water store "scalar waves" that when ingested, give human skin the ability to "neutralize" UV rays? Does the study described on the product website support the claim that the product prevents sunburn?

Regarding notability: I have not read the reviews, but the company claims to have been reviewed in several nationally published magazines, including Porter, Flare, Heart and Soul and American Spa.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Sklivvz Apr 17 '17 at 17:46
up vote 214 down vote accepted

The study that the company uses to prove that "scalar waves" give human skin the ability to "neutralize" UV rays is bunk, for a multitude of reasons.


Instead of commenting on the existence of scalar waves and their purported ability to block UV rays, I investigated their own website to determine what their proof of this supposed finding was. Scrolling down to the bottom of the research page on their site provides us with this section.

Osmosis Harmonized Water UV Neutralizer, described as the "world’s first drinkable sunscreen", went viral, attracting record media coverage. To solidify the brand’s clinical and holistic approach to treating the source of skin conditions using non-harmful ingredients with guaranteed results, Osmosis Pür Medical Skincare executed the line’s first clinical trial on June 28, 2014.

This randomized clinical trial was designed to evaluate a new technology, scalar waves, to provide sun protection. Osmosis Harmonized Water UV Neutralizer contains this form of radio-frequencies called scalar waves. When ingested, they vibrate above the skin.

24 patients ranging from 18 to 60 with various ethnic backgrounds and skin types were exposed to one hour of sun to one side of the body between noon and 1pm after ingesting 3ml Osmosis Harmonized Water UV Neutralizer. Paul Ver Hoeve, MD, FACS of Facial Beauty by MD conducted the study and documented the results which showed 16 out of the 24 patients did not experience any burning. This testing provides evidence that UV Neutralizer really works.

To download the clinical trial in its entirety and to access the online press room featuring product images, click here

The people at Osmosis Skin Care provide a link to a box.com account that contains, among other things, a pdf file entitled Evaluation of a Novel Form of Sun Protection, which claims to be a study on the effects of the product noted.

A number of things stood out in the study, including

  1. The study, when removing the pile of citations at the end, is only 2.5 pages long, significantly shorter than most scientific studies
  2. Of the 11 citations, 8 of them are in reference to studies that say that chemical sunscreen may cause skin irritation, one in reference to a single study regarding the effects of SPF-50 sunscreen and malignant melanoma, and two saying that there has never been substantial evidence that these waves can be imprinted on water. There is not a single citation in any part of the study after the introduction
  3. The author seems to want to make very sure that we know that he is skeptical of the science at the beginning, while also making sure to let us know he is a believer at the end.
  4. The sample is statistically very insignificant, only including 24 people, not controlling for race or skin type, only choosing participants who did not have medical conditions that would make them more vulnerable to exposure to sunlight.
  5. The author refuses to perform a double-blind study for ethical reasons, which seems like a convenient excuse to not provide comparison data.

Now while this data is all circumstantial, there is one other major thing to note about this study, that I feel kills this study. In the header, the author is kind enough to point out that this test took place between 12:00 and 1:00 PM on June 28th, 2014 in San Diego, CA.

Looking at the weather reports for San Diego International Airport on Weather Underground gives us some fairly damning evidence. The weather reports for San Diego on that day indicates that the day was very cloudy for the entire day. For only two reports the entire day were the conditions listed as "Scattered Clouds", and for all the reports during our study the conditions were listed as "Mostly Cloudy".

Borrowing from The NOAA Definition of mostly cloudy

When the 6/8th to 7/8ths of the sky is covered by with opaque (not transparent) clouds.

IT WAS VERY CLOUDY ON THE DAY THEY DID THIS TEST! I'm not surprised at their results at all and there is nothing notable about this study at all. They did a test with water on a cloudy day and were excited when only 1/3 of the people got burned. Honestly, I'm surprised the number is that high at all considering the weather.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Sklivvz Apr 17 '17 at 17:46
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    Not performing a double-blind study here actually means not having a control group at all. – Paŭlo Ebermann Apr 18 '17 at 8:41
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    existance -> existence – ErikE Apr 18 '17 at 16:05
  • I was going to agreed with you on the final point -- here in San Diego we talk about "May gray" and "June gloom" due to the heavy marine layer those months -- but then I looked up the UV exposure record for June 28, 2014: darksky.net/details/32.8658,-117.2507/2014-6-28/us12/en – jeffronicus Apr 18 '17 at 16:39
  • That page shows the UV index for 12 noon to 1 p.m. on that date was 11. The EPA says "A UV Index reading of 11 or more means extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Take all precautions because unprotected skin and eyes can burn in minutes." – jeffronicus Apr 18 '17 at 16:45

In addition to the other excellent answers, which already show that the product is not to be trusted, I'd like to point out two more reasons why one should be worried about the "research" being presented.

Firstly I'd like to point out that the article is not published, thus, not peer reviewed. While it might look like actual research, it's just a pdf that anyone can put together, whereas public scientific research is peer reviewed, and thus paragraphs like

While the science being reported is esoteric and theoretical in many respects, such definitive results warrant further evaluation of this product as well as the use of scalar waves in other applications.

would probably be removed in case of publication as their results certainly do not warrant that - in fact, their results have nothing to do with "other applications" for example.

Secondly, I'd like to point out that the authors of the papers are indeed Medical Doctors (see "Facial beauty" and "Doctor Ben"), but not one that ever published any other scientific research (source: Google Scholar searches of "Paul Ver Hoeve", "Ver Hoeve Paul", "Ver Hoeve dermatology", "Ben Johnson dermatology")

In particular, while I support everyone that wants to genuinely help people with cancer, I would certainly not trust and stay away from anything that someone like Mr. Johnson endorses, since on his site he offers embarrassing and frankly hard to believe "complementary cures" for cancer such as "coffee enemas".

a coffee enema speeds up the detoxification process

Also elsewhere he suggest the use of many molecules which are not yet proven to work, or proven not to work, which is also not ethical at all.

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    I was thinking about checking out the doctor's credentials in my answer but you covered it very well. I wouldn't be surprised if these people either were discredited doctors or if their names were stolen in order to present this study. – DenisS Apr 12 '17 at 17:44
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Sklivvz Apr 14 '17 at 20:44
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    Worth noting that "Dr." Johnson appears to have been ordered to stop practicing medicine, with the stated reason being that one of his patients got an infection due to him not adequately sterilizing the equipment beforehand, to which he allegedly responded that such sterilization would've been unnecessary. More here, but my impression's that no one cares about him enough to do anything more. – Nat Apr 15 '17 at 4:18
  • There is a "Published Research Library" at the bottom of the "Research" page. But you need to register to access it (which is a red flag in itself). Did you? – Taladris Apr 15 '17 at 5:23
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    @Taladris no, but all published research is available through other inidices: PubMed, Google Scholar... which is where I do my own checking. They don't have any article on "scalar waves clinical trials" for example. – Sklivvz Apr 15 '17 at 11:28

While anything is possible, there is absolutely no reason to believe these claims, mostly because the claims don't make any sense scientifically.

"Scalar waves" is a meaningless term, as claimed to have been applied here. It is a theoretical construct that exists in quantum theory, and the idea that they could imprint it in some sort of permanent, fixed way has no foundation in theoretical or practical science. It's a fancy-sounding buzzword.

The method of verification is suspect, as well. Any scientific claim would be backed by independent research, or at least research that was conducted in a controlled, randomized fashion with replicable results.

Their "research" was not a "randomized" clinical trial. The use of the term in their press releases suggests either a complete lack of understanding of what that term means, or a desire to deceive. They had 24 people stand outside for an hour and looked at whether they burned or not. I think they called it "randomized" because they weren't all the same person, gender, age.

This blogger filed a complaint about their completely unverified claims with the authorities in New Zealand and the complaint was upheld.

... I complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that this claim wasn't backed up by evidence and the complaint was upheld, now those products have been removed from their New Zealand website as a result.

... When a clinical trial is randomised, that means the participants are allocated into different groups in a way that is determined randomly. These different groups typically consist of an experimental group, which receives the treatment being tested, and a control group, that either receives a placebo or sham version of the treatment, or the standard care against which the experimental treatment is being compared. Randomly allocating participants into the groups helps avoid any systematic differences between groups that could be a source of bias in the results.

... Of course, this necessitates multiple groups for the participants to be included in.....

The actual test (their own press release quoted in the article) described a single group of 24 people of varying ages and ethnic backgrounds, and no control group to compare against.

Honest Universe: Harmonized Water

The makers of Harmonized Water (a.k.a. drinkable sunscreen) do a "clinical trial." Hilarity ensues.

tl;dr- The collection of claims about "Harmonized Water" appear to be incoherent gibberish which prevents us from falsifying them ("not even wrong"). If this were a real product, a common chemistry lab device (UV spectrometer) could've easily demonstrated its ability to block UV rays.

EDIT: Reference (9) from the PDF on "Harmonized Water" appears to contain the most complete explanation of the underlying ideas that I've been able to find; "insane" would seem to be an understatement.

Most of the claims don't make sense

According to the PDF, Evaluation of a Novel Form of Sun Protection, the product works by:

Abstract This randomized clinical trial was designed to evaluate a product that utilizes a purported new technology, scalar waves, to provide sun protection. This examiner was skeptical about the claims of Harmonized Water and their “UV Neutralizer”. Reportedly the product is water (there is no other active ingredient) that contains a form of radio-frequencies called scalar waves. Using a proprietary device, the company claims to be able to imprint hundreds of thousands of specific scalar waves onto water that, when ingested, vibrate above the skin to neutralize UVA and UVB.

From a technical perspective, this doesn't make sense on several levels. Examples:

  • "Scalar waves" aren't a "new technology", but merely a description for one type of solution to the wave equation.

    • Hoax "science" has claimed that scalar waves cure things since 1991.
  • A radio frequency is a property of a radio wave, not a noun that can be "contained". So, claiming that it "contains a form of radio-frequencies" doesn't make any sense.

  • The idea of "imprinting" waves on water is pretty meaningless.

  • Most excess water is released by urination, not transported to the skin.

    • Oddly, the product website states that it's preferable to drink at least 2 ounces of water with it. This should cause even more of the product to be lost to urination.
  • How does the water "vibrate above the skin"?

    • Does the water get sweated out, evaporate, and then follow the user around like their own personal fog?
  • If the water works "above the skin", why drink it?

    • Most water's peed out or exhaled out.

    • Can just pour it over someone's skin, right?

  • "Hundreds of thousands" of "imprinted" water molecules would be about 0.00000000000000003 grams of "imprinted" water.

"Clinical trials" wouldn't be necessary

It's very easy to test for UV absorption in the lab. If you took a Chemistry lab in college, there's a good chance that you played with a UV spectrometer at some point. Wikipedia has a page for water.

Test procedure:

  1. Pour "Harmonized Water" into the UV spectrometer's sample holder and tell it to run.

  2. Repeat with normal water.

  3. Compare the results to see if "Harmonized Water" absorbed more UV radiation.

If "Harmonized Water" could be made to absorb more UV radiation, then its spectrum should show less UV radiation getting through than for normal water. This wouldn't require any math or other complicated analysis; you could tell instantly upon visual inspection because one line would be higher than the other in the UV range.

One of the "doctors" behind this claims that it doesn't affect the body

First, referring to "Dr." Johnson in quotes because at least one source alleges that he was ordered to stop practicing medicine.

Then he's been quoted as saying that drinking this "Harmonized Water" causes UV rays to be stopped before reaching the body. From "The Real Story Behind The New Drinkable Sunscreen":

But the fact that Harmonized H2O is not FDA-approved is not a concern for Dr Johnson. ‘This product is FDA exempt because we are not making SPF claims and we are not affecting the human body,’ he says. ‘The cancellation waves that are contained in the water vibrate at your skin level so the UVA/UVB cancellation actually happens above the skin.’

So I guess he's claiming that "Harmonized Water" causes people to emit radio waves that cancel out UV radiation at a distance?

If so, then that'd mean that the "Harmonized Water" should cause a local field of UV radiation cancellation. And if that's so, then why drink it, or even put it on your skin? Radio waves drop off with the inverse square law, so why not just keep a bottle of it near you, e.g. in your pocket?

A "not even wrong" case

The claims appear to be "not even wrong", as defined by Wikipedia:

The phrase "not even wrong" describes any argument that purports to be scientific but fails at some fundamental level, usually in that it contains a terminal logical fallacy or it cannot be falsified by experiment (i.e., tested with the possibility of being rejected), or cannot be used to make predictions about the natural world.

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    I started reading the references cited by the PDF. They discuss topics like using psychic powers, time travel, flower power, homeopathy, rewriting DNA, "exogenous non-linear energies" allegedly from Nicholas Tesla, generating new types of energies using a wrist watch, creating electromagnetic tornadoes, mind-over-matter regeneration, magnet-based healing, curing diseases with magnets, mind control, new types of quasi-particles, healing with sound, how the mind's state effects the healing properties of magnetic waves, etc.. – Nat Apr 15 '17 at 6:16
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    Overall, I'm really not sure if the authors are writing jokes or they're simply insane, but this stuff has no basis in reality whatsoever. – Nat Apr 15 '17 at 6:17
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    @Sklivvz the issue here is that the company gives a definition of Harmonized Water. However, that definition doesn't match up with the laws of physics or concepts in science. For instance, they claim it to be water imbued with "radio-frequencies". The problem there is that "radio-frequencies" cannot be placed into a substance... they are the rate at which a wave oscillates. If there is no wave then there is no frequency. So even if went and bought a bottle from the company, there's no actual way of testing their hypothesis as the substance they claim to use simply cannot exist to begin with! – The Great Duck Apr 15 '17 at 21:17
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    @Sklivvz I'm referring to your argument against "not even wrong". The reason it is not even wrong is because the Harmonized water physically doesn't even make sense as a description. They're saying they shoved a rate of change into water. What if I said that earlier today I ate joules of work in the form of cereal? It's not an issue of physical impossibility. It's that the term they used isn't even defined to mean a physical substance or quantity. So you can't put it into an object. It's a quality, not an object. The water could be moving as radio frequencies perhaps, but then it couldn't... – The Great Duck Apr 15 '17 at 22:34
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    Also, this would be a great product if it could give people a "personal fog". Fog parties would become an overnight sensation. – Brian Apr 17 '17 at 15:30

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