Protecting Against Sunburn from the Inside Out

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Excessive sun exposure burns your skin and leads to premature skin aging, which means more wrinkles, discolorations, and risks.

Topical sunscreens still remain the popular choice among consumers, but did you know there’s also an oral solution for protecting your skin? There is, and it’s called Polypodium leucotomos.

Skin Cancer on the Rise

Much has been written about how the sun’s ultraviolet rays harm our health and appearance. Yet despite the warnings, more than two million people in the US will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year alone.

Rates of melanoma — the most dangerous form of skin cancer — have not only doubled over the past 10–20 years, but continue to rise 3% to 7% annually.1

Oral Protection with Polypodium Leucotomos

A recent study found that an oral supplement sourced from the fern, Polypodium leucotomos, could possibly become an important anti-aging ingredient for the skin.2 In fact, extracts from this fern have been used in South America for many years to protect against the damaging effects of excessive sun exposure.

This amazing fern protects skin cells by blocking ultraviolet light, thus reducing sun-induced injury.3 Additionally, it also helps ease skin inflammation and blocks protein-destroying skin enzymes.3,4

Polypodium leucotomos extract also contains a high percentage of potent antioxidants which block the formation of dangerous free radicals stopping the oxidative damage that results from excessive sun exposure.4

A Two-Fold Approach is Best

Remember, for long periods of sun exposure, you should consider both a topical sunscreen and an oral extract from Polypodium leucotomos. This combined approach will help protect you from the inside out, and offers an ideal defense strategy to ward off premature aging and skin cancer.

How are you protecting yourself against harmful UV rays? Have you heard of polypodium leucotomos before? Please share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Available at: Accessed 7/12/11.
  2. Arch Dermatol Res. 2009 Aug;301(7):487-95.
  3. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2006 Mar 1;82(3):173-9.
  4. J Dermatol Sci. 2003 Jun;32(1):1-9.


Anonymous said...

How about vit D if this blocks UV?

Life Extension said...

Hello - and thank you for your comment.

Sun blocks, sun screens, and even oral sun protection products can and will diminish vitamin D supplementation. This is why we suggest supplementing with vitamin D throughout the year.

Let us know if you have any other questions!

Anonymous said...

How after ingestion does it take for the Polypodium leucotomos to start protecting the skin from harmful UV rays?

Life Extension said...

This is a great question. Based on kinetic studies (measurements of absorption, tissue distribution and elimination), the P. leucotomos extract reaches surface skin cells within 30 minutes of ingestion. This is why we suggest taking 2 capsules 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.

Anonymous said...

Is Polypodium leucotomos something that needs to be taken continuously, like most supplements where the benefits are cumulative, or can it just be taken when needed and be just as effective?

Life Extension said...

Thanks for your question. It doesn't have to be taken everyday. You can take it when planning a day in the sun!

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