Is Polypodium Leucotomos Banned? (7 Fernblock Benefits)


Table of Contents

What is Fernblock?

Fernblock is a standardized natural extract of Polypodium Leucotomos, a plant found in tropical areas like Central and South America. It was created by Cantabria Farmaceutica, and it is the base active ingredient of the HELIOCARE supplement. It’s often used in medicine for its rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which helps in treating several health conditions.

A review study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2011, describes its positive impact on treating skin conditions like sunburn, eczema, and psoriasis and preventing aging. Similarly, another recent study in the Journal of Frontiers in Medicine in 2021, reiterates Fernblock’s function in improving sunscreen protection.

What are the Benefits of Fernblock (Polypodium Leucotomos Extract)?

The benefits of Fernblock (Polypodium Leucotomos Extract) include the following:

  1. Protection against sunburns and reducing damaging effects of ultraviolet rays
  2. Improving inflammatory skin conditions (ex. eczema, psoriasis, sunburns)
  3. Antioxidant properties which help in treating cancer (ex. Skin cancer)
  4. Helps in treating cognitive diseases (ex. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia)
  5. Treats dark skin patches
  6. Improves vitiligo
  7. Has immunoprotective properties

However, there’s a need for further investigations to validate these claims.

In the video below, Dr. Salvador Gonzalez explains the photoprotective properties of Polypodium Leucotomos:

This is our recommended Fernblock Supplement (Amazon’s Choice):

Heliocare Antioxidant Supplement for The Skin 60 Capsules (2 Pack)

Is Polypodium leucotomos Banned?

The FDA hasn’t completely banned polypodium leucotomos, however, they’ve clearly stated that they’re against using oral supplements as an alternative for sunscreens. 

Nevertheless, a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology in 2015, investigated the safety and effectiveness of taking 240 mg of polypodium leucotomos for 60 days in healthy adults. As a result, the researchers concluded that it was both safe and effective and they recommended further investigations should be done.

What are the Side Effects of Fernblock (Polypodium Leucotomos Extract)?

There’s very little research on the side effects Fernblock (Polypodium Leucotomos Extract), these are minor and include:

  1. Occasional Fatigue
  2. Headaches
  3. Bloating
  4. Upset Stomach (Gastrointestinal Complaints)
  5. Itch (Pruritus)

Polypodium Leucotomos is safe in oral doses of up to 480 mg per day or when taken by mouth or applied to the skin, in the short term (up to 5 months). Long-term safety is unknown.

Although further research into the risks and side effects are needed there are some concerns about heart medications interactions. Therefore, you should consult your healthcare professional before taking fernblock to avoid any unwanted side effects. There are no clinical studies on children, pregnant, or breastfeeding women.

Is Polypodium leucotomos effective in treating Melasma?

Polypodium leucotomos has been proven to be effective in treating melasma owing to its antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and photoprotective properties. 

A clinical study published in JAMA Dermatology in 2013, showed that adding polypodium leucotomos oral extract in combination with sunscreen is an easier and more effective regimen to follow for sun protection. Moreover, another research published in 2018, confirmed the safety and effectiveness of using polypodium leucotomos in combination with hydroquinone and sunscreen for melasma.

Aside from treating melasma a study published in 2018, reveals that polypodium leucotomos is also beneficial in treating vitiligo and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation conditions.

Can Polypodium leucotomos be used in Skin Lightening?

Polypodium leucotomos can be used in skin lightening when used with hydroquinone and sunscreen. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2018, shows that it is a very promising treatment for lightening dark skin marks. 

Additionally, another study published in 2021, reveals that the chemical composition of polypodium leucotomos helps treat several skin conditions including vitiligo, and melasma, as well as photoprotective properties and lightening dark skin pigmentations.

Does Polypodium leucotomos have benefits for Hyperpigmentation?

Polypodium leucotomos has benefits for hyperpigmentation, according to a clinical trial published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology in 2019, which showed that it may be used as an adjuvant treatment to traditional means of photoprotection against the effects of visible light-induced pigmentation.

Thus,  this means that it can contribute to the treatment of skin pigmentation disorders such as melasma

Is Polypodium leucotomos good for Vitiligo?

Polypodium leucotomos is good for vitiligo because it can promote the increase of skin color through several patches caused by the disease. 

A study published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology in 2007, concluded that there’s a positive impact on re-pigmenting of vitiligo in light skin types after using NB-UVB phototherapy is combined with oral polypodium leucotomos.

Moreover, another recent study published in 2021, confirms these claims and suggests that oral supplementation of PL and NB-UVB phototherapy enhances the extent of repigmentation.

What’s the effect of Polypodium leucotomos on Hair?

The effect of polypodium leucotomos on hair lies in its antioxidant properties and ability to fight free radicals which in turn detoxifies the hair and boosts its health. Nevertheless, there’s a need for further research studies to be conducted to validate these claims.

Why is Polypodium leucotomos good for Anti-aging?

Polypodium leucotomos is good for anti-aging as a result of its benefits in inhibiting the damage of cell membranes and lipid peroxidation in skin cells, which supports the activity of keratinocytes and fibroblasts (skin components) that maintain its quality and appearance. 

Thus, polypodium leucotomos provides the following anti-aging properties for the skin:

  • Smoothes the skin and provides hydration
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Protects your skin from inside out

A study published in 1991, concluded that PL treatment helped to partially inhibit some of the damage associated with photoaging of the skin.

What are the benefits of Polypodium leucotomos for Rosacea?

The benefits of polypodium leucotomos for rosacea are a direct result of its antioxidant effects that protect the skin from UV radiation, which is an external risk factor for rosacea. 

A review study published in 2018, mentions polypodium leucotomos as one of the therapies that can be included in preventing and treating rosacea. In addition, another recent study published in 2021, concludes that diet significantly impacts the onset of rosacea.

Is Polypodium leucotomos effective for Acne?

Polypodium leucotomos is effective for acne as a result of its anti-inflammatory properties, which help in and boosting skin health by preventing cellular damage associated with UV exposure, sun damage, inflammatory conditions, and oxidative stress — while also stimulating the production of new skin proteins through its antioxidant activity.

Why is Polypodium leucotomos good for Cancer?

Polypodium leucotomos is good for cancer due to its rich chemical antioxidant composition which modulates the expression of cancer and inflammatory genes and inhibits certain pathways responsible for cancer induction.

A study published in 2016, discusses the role of polypodium leucotomos for cancer prevention among other health benefits. Moreover, a pre-clinical study investigates the effect of polypodium leucotomos in increasing the antioxidant activity and gene expression of P53 (a tumor suppressor gene) in lab mice which in turn reduces cancer.

Want to know more?

Click the links below to access the individual topic pages:


This article makes use of information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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  2. Aguilera J, Vicente-Manzanares M, de Gálvez MV, Herrera-Ceballos E, Rodríguez-Luna A, González S. Booster Effect of a Natural Extract of Polypodium leucotomos (Fernblock®) That Improves the UV Barrier Function and Immune Protection Capability of Sunscreen Formulations. Front Med (Lausanne). 2021 Jun 2;8:684665. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.684665. PMID: 34150816; PMCID: PMC8206277.
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  4. Choudhry SZ, Bhatia N, Ceilley R, Hougeir F, Lieberman R, Hamzavi I, Lim HW. Role of oral Polypodium leucotomos extract in dermatologic diseases: a review of the literature. J Drugs Dermatol. 2014 Feb;13(2):148-53. PMID: 24509964.
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  6. Ahmed AM, Lopez I, Perese F, et al. A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Polypodium leucotomos Extract as an Adjunct to Sunscreen in the Treatment of Melasma. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(8):981–983. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.4294
  7. Goh CL, Chuah SY, Tien S, Thng G, Vitale MA, Delgado-Rubin A. Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Polypodium Leucotomos Extract in the Treatment of Melasma in Asian Skin: A Pilot Study. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018 Mar;11(3):14-19. Epub 2018 Mar 1. PMID: 29606995; PMCID: PMC5868779.
  8. Juhasz MLW, Levin MK. The role of systemic treatments for skin lightening. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018 Dec;17(6):1144-1157. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12747. Epub 2018 Aug 21. PMID: 30133125.
  9. Segars K, McCarver V, Miller RA. Dermatologic Applications of Polypodium leucotomos: A Literature Review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2021 Feb;14(2):50-60. Epub 2021 Feb 1. PMID: 34221229; PMCID: PMC8211346.
  10. Mohammad TF, Kohli I, Nicholson CL, Treyger G, Chaowattanapanit S, Nahhas AF, Braunberger TL, Lim HW, Hamzavi IH. Oral Polypodium Leucotomos Extract and Its Impact on Visible Light-Induced Pigmentation in Human Subjects. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019 Dec 1;18(12):1198-1203. PMID: 31859468.
  11. Middelkamp-Hup MA, Bos JD, Rius-Diaz F, Gonzalez S, Westerhof W. Treatment of vitiligo vulgaris with narrow-band UVB and oral Polypodium leucotomos extract: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2007 Aug;21(7):942-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2006.02132.x. PMID: 17659004.
  12. Pacifico A, Damiani G, Iacovelli P, Conic RRZ; Young Dermatologists Italian Network (YDIN), Gonzalez S, Morrone A. NB-UVB plus oral Polypodium leucotomos extract display higher efficacy than NB-UVB alone in patients with vitiligo. Dermatol Ther. 2021 Mar;34(2):e14776. doi: 10.1111/dth.14776. Epub 2021 Feb 5. PMID: 33433041.
  13. Alcaraz MV, Pathak MA, Rius F, Kollias N, González S. An extract of Polypodium leucotomos appears to minimize certain photoaging changes in a hairless albino mouse animal model. A pilot study. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 1999 Jun-Aug;15(3-4):120-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0781.1999.tb00071.x. PMID: 10404722.
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Is Polypodium Leucotomos Banned? (7 Fernblock Benefits)
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