What is Heliocare?
Heliocare is an extract from a tropical fern found in South America. This supplement (used both topically and orally) has been used to primarily treat dark spots or pigment for over 30 years.
Over time Heliocare scientifically known as Polypodium leucotomos Extract, has been shown to protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun, generalized oxidation and chemical damage. The only pure and reliable form of the extract is sold as "Heliocare" or "Fernblock" and this is the formulation that has been studied extensively.
Is Heliocare Safe to use?
Heliocare appears to be very safe. Over 40 years of published studies have not revealed any serious side effects. In one of the larger studies the individuals who took this supplement had six times lower chance of getting sunburn. In additional studies positive results were shown on allergic skin conditions, and some results for improving long term sun damage.
Can I use this instead of sunscreen?
NO! You ALWAYS need sunscreen and this supplement will never replace sunscreen. The use application for Heliocare all depends on your skin type.
How do I know how much to take?
If you are white skinned and just generally want to be protected it may be a good idea to take 1 capsule in the morning and 1 at night. If you have Melasma, the chronic brown pigment which usually springs from hormonal issues, it appears to be useful to take 2 capsules twice per day. If you are going on vacation, and are going to have more sun exposure than usual, you may want to increase to 5 capsules/day (maybe 3 in the am and 2 in the pm). You can also just try Heliocare to see how it affects your skin, as the safety of the supplement has been well established.
Normally I'm not a big fan of supplements, as I think that eating real food is far superior to anything you can get out of a pill. However, since South America is pretty far and munching on ferns doesn't seem that appetizing, Heliocare seems like a pretty good bet. It's available on Amazon, and at Walgreens.