Polypodium leucotomas Extract

Polypodium leucotomas, an intriguing supplement derived from a topical fern, may have a variety of clinical benefits. It is reported to have photoprotective, chemoprotective and antioxidant effects, and may be useful in treating photosensitivity disorders, melasma and vitiligo. It is available in a variety of formulations, including Heliocare from Ferndale Laboratories.

Polypodium leucotomas is classified as a supplement and has not been approved for any specific medical indication. However, some clinical studies and anecdotal reports support its use for:

Photoprotection. Taking Polypodium leucotomas can possible protect against sunburn and photodamage. It should be used in conjunction with sunscreen and sun avoidance. A recommended dose is 240mg to 480mg in the morning and again in early afternoon. It can also be used before an anticipated increase in sun exposure, such as a beach vacation or the start of summer.

Polymorphous Light Eruption (PMLE) and other photodermatoses. Patients with PMLE and other photosensitive disorders may have reduced photosensitivity when taking Polypodium leucotomas. Dosing of 480mg to 960mg divided into two doses in morning and afternoon is advised.

Vitiligo. The combination of Polypodium leucotomas with narrowband UVB phototherapy for vitiligo may result in greater repigmentation compared with phototherapy alone.

Melasma. Polypodium leucotomas in conjunction with sunscreen may help decrease melasma as compared with sunscreen alone.

Polypodium leucotomas is generally well-tolerated with gastrointestinal disturbances and itching the primary side-effects observed. Overall, it seems worthwhile to incorporate its use into clinical treatment of the above conditions.

For further information see: J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016;9(5)37-42

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Choosing a Sunscreen

New FDA rules on sunscreen labels simplify choosing a sunscreen

The Food & Drug Administration in June announced new proposed rules for sunscreen labels that will make claims clearer to consumers.  The key points are:

  • In order to claim protection against both sunburn and skin cancer and photoaging, sunscreens must have an SPF of 15 and a “pass” test on a broad-spectrum UVA test. Sunscreens satisfying these requirements may be termed “Broad Spectrum SPF”.  Previous label schemes focused on SPF for only UVB protection.
  • Sunscreens that do not satisfy the above requirements will require a warning that protection is only afforded against sunburn but not against skin cancer and photoaging.
  • Sunscreens can be labelled as either 40 minute or 80 minute “water resistant”.  More general and vague terms such as “waterproof” will no longer be permitted, nor will the terms “sunblock” or “sweatproof”.
  • The new rules will not be in effect until the summer of 2012, or 2013 for small manufacturers.
  • Regardless of the labels, remember to put on a generous film of sunscreen and to reapply every two hours, or more often when swimming.
  • Keep in mind that sunscreen is only one element of a healthy sun protection program.  You should avoid the sun entirely between the hours of 10AM and 2PM when the sun is strongest, and in general avoid prolonged exposure.  Wear sun-protective clothing, such as a hat and long sleeves.

More Information on Sunscreens from the FDA

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