Skin Care and Treatments of Melbourne Dermatology - Heliocare

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Heliocare is an oral dietary supplement with antioxidant properties which buttress the skin's ability to protect itself against photodamage.

Heliocare is used in conjunction with antioxidants, sunscreens and retinoids. May be used daily to prevent photoaging or only at times of direct exposure to help prevent photodamage manifesting as tanning or burning.

Heliocare can reduce the severity of polymorphous light eruption.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Heliocare Sun Protection Supplement Capsules

Heliocare capsules contain an extract of the tropical fern Polypodium leucotomos which has been used in humans for over 20 years.

Polypodium leucotomos is one of the species of tropical ferns found in Central and South America.

The standardised extract of Polypodium leucotomos used in Heliocare (known as "Fernblock") is a rich source of polyphenol compounds, mainly 3, 4-dihydroxycinnamic acid (caffeic acid), 3-methoxy-4-hydroxybenzoic acid (vanillic acid) and 3-caffeoylquinic acid (chlorogenic acid).

Heliocare also contains monosacharides and flavonoids.

The mechanism of action of Polypodium leucotomos extract is fairly complex.

The results of years of research in photobiology at Harvard Medical School and European Universities demonstrates that one of the main actions of Polypodium leucotomos extract is to acts as a scavenger of free radicals and resultant reactive oxygen species, particularly superoxide anions.

Heliocare works to protect skin structure and immune response and provides daily defense against photodamage.

Heliocare is not a sunscreen and should be used in addition to sunscreens for enhanced protection.

Heliocare has been available in Europe for more than 20 years and is not associated with any side effects.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Heliocare Instructions for Photoaging Prevention

Take one capsule daily in the morning and combine use with topical antioxidant and sunscreen.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Heliocare Instructions for Protection Against Direct Sun

Combine with high SPF topical sunscreens and take one capsule daily in the morning.

If intense sunlight exposure is expected during the day, take one additional capsule at noon.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Heliocare's Main Effects

The main effects of Heliocare are to:

  • inhibit the infiltration of mast cells after ultraviolet exposure;
  • protect collagen and elastin by inhibiting the formation of MMPs;
  • protect the epidermal immune system by preserving the cells of Langerhans;
  • protect DNA by inhibiting the formation of thymine dimers.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Heliocare vs. Sunscreen

Heliocare pills are not a substitute for optimal sunscreens and protective clothing.

If used in combination with these products, Heliocare pills will lend added sun protection.

Heliocare is very useful for people with sensitive skin, who have had skin treatments or who wish to lessen photoaging (wrinkles, discoloration or susceptibility to cancer).

Heliocare pills will not reverse sun damage, they will help minimize it.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Extent of Protection from Heliocare

Heliocare works as a potent oral antioxidant. UV [from the sun or from a sun lamp] has many detrimental effects on the skin: it can directly cause DNA damage, and it can create so-called 'reactive oxygen species' (ROS) or 'free radicals'. ROS are high energy molecules that collide with proteins and lipids in the cell and cause direct cellular damage.

This damage is responsible for the effects of UV on skin: premature aging.

Heliocare contains antioxidants which are shown to mop up free radicals before they damage important cellular proteins.

Heliocare is taken daily and is active within half an hour of the first dose (unlike many oral antioxidants which take months to build up sufficient levels).

Also, because Heliocare is taken orally it is effective in protecting cells deep in the skin - topical antioxidants are usually ineffective in protecting cells at this level.

Damage to these deeper cells is responsible for many of the signs of photoaging (e.g. wrinkles).

Monday, 23 March 2009

Heliocare Research

Importantly, over 12 years of research has confirmed the antioxidant and photoprotectant properties of Heliocare.

Research has shown that the agent is effective when taken in capsule form or used on the skin.

Research has also confirmed that the capsule form has no known harmful side effects.

Oral photoprotection is now the focus of much attention, and has been hailed as the 'photoprotection of the future'.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Heliocare Studies

Studies reveal that the antioxidants in Heliocare work against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation to decrease sunburn response, including a significant reduction in the number of ultraviolet induced sunburn cells and DNA damage.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Photoprotective Properties of Heliocare

Photoprotective properties of a hydrophilic extract of the fern Polypodium leucotomos on human skin cells.

Alonso-Lebrero JL, Domínguez-Jiménez C, Tejedor R, Brieva A, Pivel JP.

R&D Department, Industrial Farmaceútica Cantabria S.A., Madrid, Spain.

The effect of a hydrophilic extract of the fern Polypodium leucotomos (PLE) has been investigated in terms of photoprotection against UV-induced cell damage.

PLE efficiently preserved human fibroblast survival and restored their proliferative capability when the cells were exposed to UVA light.

This effect was specific and dose-dependent.

Photoprotection was not restricted to fibroblasts, as demonstrated by its effect on survival and proliferation of the human keratinocyte cell line HaCat.

Finally, treatment of the cells with PLE prevented UV-induced morphological changes in human fibroblasts, namely disorganisation of F-actin-based cytoskeletal structures, coalescence of the tubulin cytoskeleton and mislocalization of adhesion molecules such as cadherins and integrins.

Our in vitro results demonstrate the photoprotective effect of PLE on human cells and support its use in the preventive treatment of sunburning and skin pathologies associated with UV-mediated damage.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Heliocare Limits UV-Induced Free Radical Skin Damage

Inhibition of ultraviolet-induced formation of reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, erythema and skin photosensitization by polypodium leucotomos.

González S, Pathak MA.

Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114, USA.

The acute reactions of human skin to solar ultraviolet radiation (290-400 nm) are recognized as a form of inflammation reactions that are mediated by several possible mechanisms including (a) direct action of photons on DNA, (b) generation of reactive free radicals and reactive oxygen species involving the formation of O2.-, 1O2, H2O2, OH, etc., (c) generation of prostaglandins (PGD2, PGE2, etc.), histamine, leucotrienes, and other inflammatory mediators.

It is conceivable that UV-induced reactions represent oxidative stress mediated by the formation of free radicals, reactive oxygen, lipid peroxidation, liberation of membrane phospholipids, and subsequent formation of prostaglandins by cyclo-oxygenase pathway.

In this study, we examined the role of reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidation in in vitro reactions as well as in vivo skin inflammation reactions induced by (a) UVB radiation (290-320 nm), and (b) skin photosensitization reaction by PUVA treatment involving 8-methoxypsoralen and UVA (320-400 nm) radiation and presented data for the generation of superoxide anion O2.-) and lipid peroxides.

We have also evaluated, both in vitro as well as in vivo systems, the quenching or the inhibition of O2.- by a plant extract known as Polypodium leucotomos.

The P. leucotomos extract was found to exhibit interesting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory as well as photoprotective properties against photo-oxidative stress involving the generation of reactive oxygen, lipid peroxidation under in vitro reactions as well as in vivo experimental conditions.

Significant inhibition of UVB-induced erythemal response, and 8-methoxypsoralen plus UVA-induced phototoxic reaction after topical application or oral administration of the photosensitizer could be demonstrated in guinea pig skin and human skin following the topical application of P. leucotomos extract.

The photoprotective mechanism of P.leucotomos involving interaction with reactive oxygen species or free radicals appears to have potential clinical usefulness in preventing sunburn and inhibiting phototoxic reaction.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Heliocare Decreases UV Damage of Human Skin

Oral Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases ultraviolet-induced damage of human skin

Middelkamp-Hup MA, Pathak MA, Parrado C, Goukassian D, Rius-Díaz F, Mihm MC, Fitzpatrick TB, González S.

Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine, Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

UV radiation induces damage to human skin. Protection of skin by an oral photoprotective agent would have substantial benefits.

We investigated the photoprotective effect of oral administration of an extract of the natural antioxidant Polypodium leucotomos (PL).

A total of 9 healthy participants of skin types II to III were exposed to varying doses of artificial UV radiation without and after oral administration of PL (7.5 mg/kg). At 24 hours after exposure the erythema reaction was assessed and paired biopsy specimens were obtained from PL-treated and untreated skin.

A significant decrease in erythema was found in PL-treated skin (P < .01). Histologically, PL-treated biopsy specimens showed less sunburn cells (P < .05), cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (P < .001), proliferating epidermal cells (P < .001), and dermal mast cell infiltration (P < .05). A trend toward Langerhans cell preservation was seen.

Oral administration of PL is an effective systemic chemophotoprotective agent leading to significant protection of skin against UV radiation.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Heliocare Decreases UVA Damage of Human Skin

Orally administered Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases psoralen-UVA-induced phototoxicity, pigmentation, and damage of human skin.

Middelkamp-Hup MA, Pathak MA, Parrado C, Garcia-Caballero T, Rius-Díaz F, Fitzpatrick TB, González S.

Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine, Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114, USA.

The use of psoralen-UVA (PUVA) in patients of skin phototype I to II is limited by side effects of acute phototoxicity and possible long-term carcinogenesis.

We sought to assess oral Polypodium leucotomos (PL) extract in decreasing PUVA-induced phototoxicity of human skin on a clinical and histologic level.

A total of 10 healthy patients with skin phototypes II to III were exposed to PUVA alone (using 0.6 mg/kg oral 8-methoxypsoralen) and to PUVA with 7.5 mg/kg of oral PL.

Clinically, phototoxicity was always lower in PL-treated skin after 48 to 72 hours (P<.005), and pigmentation was also reduced 4 months later. Histologically, PL-treated skin showed a significant numeric reduction of sunburn cells (P=.05), preservation of Langerhans cells (P< or =.01), decrease of tryptase-positive mast cell infiltration (P<.05), and decrease of vasodilation (P< or =.01). No differences were found in Ki-67+ proliferating cells.

PL is an effective chemophotoprotector against PUVA-induced skin phototoxicity and leads to substantial benefits of skin protection against damaging effects of PUVA as evidenced by histology.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Heliocare Appears to Minimize Photoaging Changes

An extract of Polypodium leucotomos appears to minimize certain photoaging changes in a hairless albino mouse animal model. A pilot study.

Alcaraz MV, Pathak MA, Rius F, Kollias N, González S.

Dept. of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.

Chronic ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure of human or murine skin is known to induce cutaneous photoaging and enhanced carcinogenic risk.

An extract of Polypodium leucotomos (PL), a tropical fern plant, has been known to exhibit interesting antioxidant and photoprotective properties against acute exposure to ultraviolet radiation.

The objective of this preliminary (or pilot) study was to determine the photoprotective role of topically applied Polypodium leucotomos extract in the prevention or amelioration of cutaneous changes of photoaging in hairless mice.

PL-treated mice showed significant reduction of skinfold thickness than those observed in PL-untreated controls.

Additionally, PL-treated mice showed a significantly lower degree of histologic parameters of photoaging damage, including dermal elastosis, compared with positive control mice.

Interestingly, PL treatment also showed reduction in the number of mice showing skin tumors at 8 weeks after the cessation of the UVB exposure protocol.

The results of this preliminary study illustrate that PL treatment helped to ameliorate and to partially inhibit some of the histologic damage associated with photoaging of skin and appeared to contribute to a decrease in the prevalence of UVB-induced skin tumors in mice.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Heliocare May Limit and Reverse Extrinsic and Intrinsic Elastin Destruction

Predominant effects of Polypodium leucotomos on membrane integrity, lipid peroxidation, and expression of elastin and matrixmetalloproteinase-1 in ultraviolet radiation exposed fibroblasts, and keratinocytes.

Philips N, Smith J, Keller T, Gonzalez S.

Departments of Biology and Chemistry/Biochemistry, Georgian Court College, Lakewood, NJ, USA.

Polypodium leucotomos has been reported to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and photoprotective properties.

Exposure of skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation can lead to deposition of excessive elastotic material, reduction in collagen, and increased expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).

The goal of this research was to determine the effects of P. leucotomos in the absence or presence of UVA or UVB radiation on membrane damage, lipid peroxidation, and expression of elastin and MMP-1 in fibroblasts and keratinocytes, respectively.

Fibroblasts and keratinocytes, respectively, were irradiated by a single exposure to UVA (0.6, 1.8 or 3.6 J) or UVB radiation (0.75, 2.5 or 7.5 mJ), and then incubated with, or without, P. leucotomos (0.01, 0.1 and 1%) and examined for membrane damage, lipid peroxidation, expression of elastin (protein levels) and MMP-1 (protein levels or MMP-1 promoter activity).

UV radiation did not significantly alter membrane integrity, lipid peroxidation or MMP-1 expression, but increased elastin expression. P. leucotomos significantly improved membrane integrity, inhibited lipid peroxidation, increased elastin expression, and inhibited MMP-1 expression in both fibroblasts, and keratinocytes.

The effects of P. leucotomos predominated in the presence of UVA or UVB in both fibroblasts and keratinocytes, respectively, with the exception of inhibition of MMP-1 protein levels in fibroblasts only in combination with UV radiation.

Lower concentration of P. leucotomos (lower than 0.1%), may be beneficial in preventing photoaging by improving membrane integrity and inhibiting MMP-1, without increasing elastin expression. Higher concentration (greater than 0.1%) of P. leucotomos may reverse the loss of normal elastic fibers associated with intrinsic aging.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Heliocare Prevents Sunburn, Phototoxic Reactions and Langerhans Cell Depletion in Human Skin

Topical or oral administration with an extract of Polypodium leucotomos prevents acute sunburn and psoralen-induced phototoxic reactions as well as depletion of Langerhans cells in human skin.

González S, Pathak MA, Cuevas J, Villarrubia VG, Fitzpatrick TB.

Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.

Sunburn, immune suppression, photoaging, and skin cancers result from uncontrolled overexposure of human skin to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR).

Preventive measures, including photoprotection, are helpful and can be achieved by topical sunscreening agents.

Polypodium leucotomos (PL) has been used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and has shown some in vitro and in vivo inmunomodulating properties.

Its beneficial photoprotective effects in the treatment of vitiligo and its antioxidant properties encouraged us to evaluate in vivo the potentially useful photoprotective property of natural extract of PL after topical application or oral ingestion.

Twenty-one healthy volunteers [either untreated or treated with oral psoralens (8-MOP or 5-MOP)] were enrolled in this study and exposed to solar radiation for evaluation of the following clinical parameters: immediate pigment darkening (IPD), minimal erythema dose (MED), minimal melanogenic dose (MMD), and minimal phototoxic dose (MPD) before and after topical or oral administration of PL.

Immunohistochemical assessment of CD1a-expressing epidermal cells were also performed.

PL was found to be photoprotective after topical application as well as oral administration.

PL increased UV dose required for IPD (P < 0.01), MED (P < 0.001) and MPD (P < 0.001).

After oral administration of PL, MED increased 2.8 +/- 0.59 times and MPD increased 2.75 +/- 0.5 and 6.8 +/- 1.3 times depending upon the type of psoralen used.

Immunohistochemical study revealed photoprotection of Langherhans cells by oral as well as topical PL.

The observed photoprotective activities of oral or topical PL reveal a new avenue in examining the potentially useful field of systemic photoprotection and suggests that PL can be used as adjunct treatment and can make photochemotherapy and phototherapy possibly safe and effective when the control of cutaneous phototoxicity to PUVA or UVB is a limiting factor in such phototherapies.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Heliocare Exhibits Anti-Angiogenic Activities In Vivo

An extract of the fern Polypodium leucotomos (Difur) modulates Th1/Th2 cytokines balance in vitro and appears to exhibit anti-angiogenic activities in vivo: pathogenic relationships and therapeutic implications.

Gonzalez S, Alcaraz MV, Cuevas J, Perez M, Jaen P, Alvarez-Mon M, Villarrubia VG.

Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

In the present study we show the capacity of an extract of the fern Polypodium leucotomos (PLE) [Heliocare] to partially inhibit the production of cytokines showing a Th1 pattern (IL-2, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha) in human PHA-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

The percentage of inhibition was 24% for IL-2, 72% for INF-gamma and 53% for TNF-alpha.

With regard to Th2 cytokines, the addition of PLE resulted in a significant increase (33%) in IL-10 production.

Surprisingly, the production of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 was completely abolished (100% inhibition) by PLE [Heliocare] at all doses tested. In a second experiment in vivo we show that, the topical application of PLE to the skin of hairless albino mice (Skh-1) significantly diminished the mast cell infiltrate as well as the number of blood vessels triggered by chronic ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation.

These data show that PLE [Heliocare] moderately inhibits the immunological Th1 responses, thus explaining the immunosuppressive as well as the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities reported in other studies carried out with PLE.

The clear inhibitory effect on TFN-alpha and IL-6 production strongly suggest that this may be the mechanism by which PLE: (a) inhibits angiogenesis in vivo in the mouse model described here, and (b) prevents Langerhans' cells depletion caused by solar irradiation in humans.

Taken together, these data suggest that PLE [Heliocare] works through the induction of suppressive/anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10 and/or TGF-beta which in turn appear to allow the partial deactivation of macrophages or other accessory cells.

These features suggest that PLE [Heliocare] could be useful in the treatment of autoaggressive/inflammatory conditions due to an exacerbation of Th1 responses.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Antioxidant Properties of Heliocare and Kojic Acid

The antioxidant action of Polypodium leucotomos extract and kojic acid: reactions with reactive oxygen species.

Gomes AJ, Lunardi CN, Gonzalez S, Tedesco AC.

Departamento de Química, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, 14040-901 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.

Two natural products Polypodium leucotomos extract (PL) and kojic acid (KA) were tested for their ability to scavenge reactive oxygen species (.OH,.O2-, H2O2, 1O2) in phosphate buffer.

Hydroxyl radicals were generated by the Fenton reaction, and the rate constants of scavenging were 1.6 x 10(9) M-1 s-1 for KA and 1.0 x 10(9) M-1 s-1 for PL, similar to that of ethanol (1.4 x 10(9) M-1 s-1).

With superoxide anions generated by the xanthine/hypoxanthine system, KA and PL (0.2-1.0 mg/ml) inhibited.O2-dependent reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium by up to 30 and 31%, respectively.

In the detection of 1O2 by rose bengal irradiation, PL at 1.0 mg/ml quenched singlet oxygen by 43% relative to azide and KA by 36%.

The present study demonstrates that PL showed an antioxidant effect, scavenging three of four reactive oxygen species tested here.

Unlike KA, PL did not significantly scavenge hydrogen peroxide.

Monday, 23 March 2009

PDF: Vitiligo Treatment with UVA and Heliocare

PDF: Vitiligo Treatment with UVA and Heliocare

Monday, 23 March 2009

PDF: Vitiligo Treatment with UVB and Heliocare

PDF: Vitiligo Treatment with UVB and Heliocare

Monday, 23 March 2009

PDF: Photoprotective Properties of Heliocare

PDF: Photoprotective Properties of Heliocare

Monday, 23 March 2009

PDF: Photoprotective Properties of Neutraceutical Heliocare Extract

PDF: Photoprotective Properties of Neutraceutical Heliocare Extract

Monday, 23 March 2009

PDF: Heliocare Inhibits UV-Induced TNF and INOS Expression

PDF: Heliocare Inhibits UV-Induced TNF and INOS Expression

Monday, 23 March 2009

Heliocare News: Suntan Pill Might Help Prevent Skin Cancer

Each Year More Than One Million Skin Cancers Are Diagnosed In The United States

While sunscreen has been your best protection against harmful UV rays, some doctors are now saying you may want to add a little pill to your arsenal.

"We call it kind of a photo modulating pill where it gives us added protection but it's all over since we are taking it orally," explains Dr. Angela Bowers, Dermatologist.

Heliocare® is a dietary supplement Europeans have used for years to treat psoriasis and eczema.

It's not FDA regulated, but Harvard researchers have found it increases your skin's tolerance to the sun and provides an anti-oxidant protective effect on skin cells.

"It helps correct that before it damages the DNA," says Dr. Bowers.

"Like most young women I spent a lot of time in sun trying to get tan" says Sandra Brown, Heliocare Consumer.

Sandra Brown tried Heliocare after a skin cancer scare.

"They were basal skin cells, so they were just surface-based cancer cells. I've since had probably seven removed surgically," says Brown.

She takes one pill a day, and she says she can see the difference.

"Usually, even with sunscreen, if I am out in the sun a lot and I don't re-apply I'll get pink or redish. I have spent a couple of days in the sun where I haven't had the opportunity to re-apply sunscreen and I haven't noticed as much pink or red," explains Brown.

Critics argue that a good sunscreen alone should be enough to protect you, but Dr. Bowers disagrees.

"One thing we know in dermatology, that we've actually studied, is that patients never apply enough sunscreen. So when they think they are getting SPF 15 they are probably only getting about an SPF of 5," says Dr. Bowers. Sandra pays about 0.90 cents a pill for Heliocare. She says she'd rather pay it now, than face another cancer scare later.

Dr. Bowers says Heliocare has no known side effects. It can also be taken by children over twelve and is available online and at some health food stores and pharmacies.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Heliocare News: Sun Protection in a Pill

From Allure Magazine, October 2005.

Even L. Ron Hubbard wouldn’t dispute the merits of these pills — they’re the only oral supplements proven to make skin more resistant to sun damage.

They contain a fern extract called polypodium leucotomos, which, in a 2004 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, was found to significantly reduce the number of sunburned cells in the skin after UV exposure.

A similar product was briefly available online under the name Sun Vitamines.

The extract appears to minimize sun damage by reducing the activity of enzymes that cause collagen breakdown, explains William Eaglstein, president of IVAX Dermatologicals, Heliocare’s distributor.

The effects kick in half an hour after taking a dose. Studies have documented only two and a half hours of sun protection, but the benefits may last much longer.

Salvador Gonzalez, a Harvard University researcher who has studied Heliocare, still advises slathering on broad-spectrum sunscreen for extended or intense exposure to the sun, but says that “when you walk from work to home or engage in basic outdoor activities, the pill would be sufficient.”

“There is strong scientific evidence that this fern extract prevents sunburn as well as the sun damage that leads to both wrinkles and cancer,” says James Spencer, a clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

We took them on a recent Caribbean vacation, along with our usual potent sunscreen, and didn’t turn even the slightest shade of pink.

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New/Notable 2016

Open Pores — Treatment and Prevention

MD Rx Melbourne Dermatology Open Pores Overnight Solution

The Sun



Pentapeptides Ineffective

Asiaticoside vs. Madecassoside for Collagen Synthesis

La Roche-Posay Redermic

Valeant Pharmaceuticals



Azelaic Acid


Avena Sativa


Aster Family of Plants

Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Extract




Salicylic Acid

Capryloyl Salicylic Acid

Open Pores




Ascorbyl Palmitate

Kojic Acid

Algorithm for Optimal Sustained Exfoliation: Glycolic Acid

Comparison of 33 Sunscreens