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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