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Polypodium Leucotomos Extract (PLE)

is a fern extract that has long been used by indigenous people in Central and South America to protect against the sun.

As patented Fernblock technology, this fern extract is present in all topical and oral Heliocare® products and protects your skin externally and internally against the damaging effects of the sun.

The effectiveness of PLE has been described and published in numerous studies.

The technology

The international pharmaceutical company Cantabria Labs developed a completely new photoimmune protection, Fernblock®, in collaboration with the Harvard Medical School and leading experts in this field worldwide.

Fernblock® technology was developed by Prof. Fitzpatrick and his team during more than ten years of research at the respected Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA.



Thomas B. Fitzpatrick (1919-2003)

Professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston and Senior Consultant in the Dermatology Department at Massachusetts General Hospital (1959-1987)

  • Discovered the melanosome
  • Introduced PUVA therapy
  • More than 250 scientific publications during his 50 years of activity


360° external and internal sun protection

Fernblock®, the topical and oral sun protection with polypodium leucotomos extract, is available worldwide under the name Heliocare®.

Heliocare® protects against the harmful components of sunlight both internally and externally because it is available both for application on the skin and as a food supplement for ingestion.

External protection:
The photo-protective properties of polypodium leucotomos extract are enhanced by using state-of-the-art mineral and chemical filters in the topical products. Its cosmetically elegant formula enables rapid absorption by the skin without leaving an oily or white film. There is a variety of products for different skin types.

Internal protection:
Heliocare® capsules also contain polypodium leucotomos extract and protect the skin from within, providing good protection for areas that are difficult to cream, e.g. the parting.

Further information is available in Germany at www.derma-enzinger.de, and in Austria at www.pelpharma.at.

PLE Advantages of PLE at a glance:

Protects skin tissue

Prevents and repairs damage to DNA

Protects the skin’s own immune system

Prevents and reduces hyperpigmentation

Protects against photo-ageing

Neutralises free radicals


Polypodium leucotomos is a fern indigenous in Central America. This fern originally grew in water. During its evolutionary development the plant adapted to life on land, developing its own natural protection against UV radiation.

Actinic keratosis

Patients with actinic keratosis must protect themselves particularly well against the sun’s harmful rays. For this purpose, Derma Enzinger has placed products on the market to help sufferers.

Reddish, sometimes also skin-coloured, rough areas that no longer heal are gradually caused by excessive UV light on exposed parts of the body – the face, the backs of the hands or men’s bald patches. The risk is considerably increased among those with light skin types or immunosuppression. In addition to correct diagnosis and treatment by dermatologists, particularly good protection is essential.

Heliocare 360° AK Fluid
This is a medical product with a particularly high sun protection factor (SPF 100+) for supporting patients at risk. Potential harm is repaired by three different DNA repair enzymes. The fern extract (PLE) in this product has a particularly high concentration so that even more free radicals can be neutralised before they can cause further harm.
More information

Studies have shown that a supplementary ingestion of nicotinamide (a special form of Vitamin B3) can considerably reduce the recurrence of actinic keratosis.
More information


Our raw materials are grown organically and are produced without pesticides or chemicals. Extraction always takes place under standardised laboratory conditions (pharmaceutical standards) whereby we guarantee consistent high quality and safety.



Publications Journal Author Year
Fernblock (Polypodium leucotomos Extract): Molecular Mechanisms and Pleiotropic Effects in Light-Related Skin Conditions, Photoaging and Skin Cancers, a Review Int. J. Mol. Sci. Parrado C. et al 2016
Safety and Efficacy of
Oral Polypodium leucotomos Extract
in Healthy Adult Subjects
J. of clinical & aesthet. Dermatol. Nestor et al. 2015
Current knowledge in Polypodium
leucotomos effect on skin protection
Arch Dermatol Res Palomino O.M. 2014
Cancer: oxidative stress and dietary antioxidants J. of clinical & aesthet. Dermatol. Parrado C, Juarranz A, Gilaberte Y, Philips N, Gonzales S. 2014
Role of oral polypodium leucotomos extract in dermatologic diseases: a review of literature J Drugs Dermatol Choudhry S. Z, Bhatia N, Ceilley R, Hougeier F, Lieberman R, Hamzavi I, Lim H. W. 2014
PL as an adjunct treatment of pigmentary disorders J. Clin. Aesthet. Dermatol. Nestor M, Bucay V, Callender V, Cohen J. L, Sadick N, Waldorf H 2014
Sun protection in a pill: the photoprotective properties of Polypodium leucotomos extract Internat J of Dermatol El-Haj N.; Goldstein N. 2014
Effect of appearance-based education compared with health-based education on sunscreen use and knowledge: A randomized controlled trial J Am Acad Dermatol Tuong W., Armstrong A.W. 2014
Photoprotection J Am Acad Dermatol Jansen R, Wang S.Q, Burnett M, Osterwalder U, Lim H.W. 2013
Photobilology, photodermatology and sunscreens: a comprehensive overview G Ital Dermatol Venerol Celleno L, Bussoletti C, Arisi M.C, Sala R, Calzavara-Pinton P. 2013
Nutritional clinical studies in dermatology J Drugs Dermatol Liakou A. I, Theodorakis M. J, Melnik B. C, Pappas A, Zouboulis C.C. 2013
The use of botanically derived agents for
hyperpigmentation: A systematic review
J Am Acad Dermatol Fisk W. A, Agbai O, Lev-Tov H. A, Sivamani R. K. 2013
Nutritional Clinical studies in dermatology J. Drugs in Dermatol. Aikaterini I.L, Theodorakis M.J, Melnik B.C, Pappas A, Zouboulis C.C. 2013
Oral administration of a hydrophilic extract of Polypodium leucotomos for the prevention of polymorphic light eruption. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Vol. 66 No. 1 Tanew A. et al. 2012
Fernblock, a Nutriceutical with Photoprotective Properties and Potential Preventive Agent for Skin Photoaging and Phontoinduced Skin Cancers International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 12, 8466-8475 González S. et al. 2011
Current Trends in Photoprotection - A New Generation of Oral Photoprotectors The Open Dermatology Journal, Vol. 5, 1-9 González S. et al. 2011
Oral polypodium leucotomos extract photoprotective activity in 57 patients with idiopathic photodermatoses. Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia, Vol. 146 No. 2, 85-87 Caccialanza M., Recalcati S., Piccinno R. 2011
Mechanistic insights in the use of a Polypodium leucotomos extract as an oral and topical photoprotective agent. Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, 9, 559–563 González S., Gilaberte Y., Philips N. 2010
Polypodium leucotomos extract: A natural antioxidant and photoprotective tool for the management of UV-induced skin damage and phototherapy. Cosmetic Dermatology, Vol. 22, No. 12 González S. 2009
Publications Journal Author Year
Polypodium Leucotomos Extract Decreases UV-Induced Cox-2 Expression and Inflammation, Enhances DNA Repairs, and Decreases Mutagenesis in Hairless Mice The American Journal of Pathology, Vol. 175, No. 5, 1952-1961 Zattra E. et al. 2009
Cancer cell growth and extracellular matrix remodeling mechanism of ascorbate; beneficial modulation by P. leucotomos. Anticancer Research, No.: 10158-P, 29(8):3233-3238 Philips N., Dulaj L., Upadhya T. 2009
Beneficial regulation of matrixmetalloproteinases and their inhibitors, fibrillar collagens and transforming growth factor-b by Polypodium leucotomos, directly or in dermal fibroblasts, ultraviolet radiated fibroblasts, and melanoma cells. Archives of Dermatological Research, Aug, 301(7), 487-95 Philips N. et al. 2009
Polypodium leucotomos inhibits ultraviolet B radiation-induced immunosuppression. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology + Photomedicine, 24, 134–141 Siscovick JR. et al. 2008
Photoprotective activity of oral polypodium leucotomos extract in 25 patients with idiopathic photodermatoses. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology + Photomedicine, 23, 46–47 Caccialanza M. et al. 2007
Treatment of vitiligo vulgaris with narrow-band UVB and oral Polypodium leucotomos extract: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Journal of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 21, 942–950 Middelkamp-Hup MA. et al. 2007
Polypodium leucotomos extract inhibits trans-urocanic acid photoisomerization and photodecomposition. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology, 82, 173-179 Capote R. et al. 2006
Oral Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases ultraviolet-induced damage of human skin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Vol. 51 No. 6 Middelkamp-Hup MA. et al. 2004
Orally administered Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases psoralen-UVA-induced phototoxicity, pigmentation, and damage of human skin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Vol. 50 No. 1 Middelkamp-Hup MA. et al. 2004
Predominant effects of Polypodium leucotomos on membrane integrity,lipid peroxidation, and expression of elastin and matrixmetalloproteinase-1 in ultraviolet radiation exposed fibroblasts, and keratinocytes. Journal of Dermatological Science, 32, 1-9 Philips N. et al. 2003
The antioxidant action of Polypodium leucotomos extract and kojic acid: reactions with reactive oxygen species. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 34, 1487-1494 Gomes AJ. et al. 2001
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 Anticancer Research, 20, 1567-1576 González S. et al. 2000
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. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology + Photomedicine, 13, 50-60 González S. et al. 1997
Inhibition of ultraviolet-induced formation of reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidatio, erythema and skin photosensitization by polypodium leucotomos Photodermatology, Photoimmunology + Photomedicine, 12, 45-56 González S, Pathak MA. 1996

Further information is available in Germany at www.derma-enzinger.de, and in Austria at www.pelpharma.at.

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