Posted by PatchMD.com on 2/12/2019
As people become increasingly aware of problems with sunscreen, Polypodium Leucotomos has been suggested as a natural alternative. It might seem counterintuitive to protect your body from the inside out, but there’s growing evidence showing its incredible effectiveness. However, it’s important to take a balanced approach to every aspect of our health and differentiate fact from fiction. So in this article, we look at the issues related to sunscreen and how Polypodium Leucotomos may be able to help.
The Issue with Sunscreen
Applying sunscreen is a daily part of many people’s routine. Its anti-aging and cancer-preventing benefits have been drilled into us from a young age. So, we keep our bathrooms stocked and never head on a summer holiday without it. But over the years, several issues with sunscreen have emerged and made people look for other alternatives.
One key issue is that it completely hinders your ability to absorb vitamin D. We rely on the sun to provide this vitamin as it’s not one that we can get much of from food alone. Nutritionists recommend spending short periods of time in the sun (15-20 minutes) to ensure your body produces enough vitamin D. However, wearing sunscreen prevents the body from absorbing the rays it needs to do so. Without sufficient levels, you may not be able to properly absorb calcium and have a greater risk of both cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Then there’s the environmental issue caused by sunscreen. One of the chemicals that’s commonly found in it (oxybenzone) has been shown to contribute to coral bleaching. Usually contained in spray-on sunscreens, the Environmental Working Group also claims that it causes reef deformity and death. Numerous sunscreen chemicals have also been found in fish worldwide which may have negative knock-on effects for the food chain. For reasons like this, Hawaii is currently trying to ban the use of sunscreen and encourage other less environmentally damaging alternatives.
Some people are also concerned by the chemicals used in sunscreens. Although they’re rigorously tested by the FDA, it’s been claimed that they can degrade over time. Once this happens, they are thought to become less stable and interact in ways that they wouldn’t usually. This includes affecting the behavior of hormones and causing allergies. Both mineral sunscreens using zinc oxide and chemical ones with oxybenzone have been the cause of concern for some people.
However, there’s no question that using sun protection is important. We know that UV rays can cause skin cancer and lead to premature aging. There are certain times of day when we should simply minimize sun exposure by staying in the shade and wearing clothing that covers our skin. But it’s not always feasible to do this, especially if your job involves being outdoors. Plus, many of us enjoy spending time in the sunshine and taking advantage of fine weather. So, is there a safe and effective alternative to sunscreen?
What Is A Good Substitute for Sunscreen?
If you’re looking for an effective alternative to sunscreen, then there are natural compounds that have also been shown to work. Many plants produce phytochemicals that protect them from harsh UV rays and allow them to thrive in sunny environments. These compounds are rich in anti-oxidants which help to protect against ultraviolet radiation. This prevents oxidative damage which is ones of the causes of sunburn and (over a prolonged period) skin cancer. Green tea, vitamin C, vitamin E, and Polypodium Leucotomos have all been suggested as dietary supplement compounds that protect against the sun.
History of Polypodium Leucotomos
Polypodium Leucotomos (PL) has been consumed since Mayan times and used to treat a variety of different health issues. It’s a tropical fern that’s common to regions of Central and South America. The plant is usually found in the rainforest and is particularly popular amongst indigenous people in Honduras. It was supposedly made into a form of tea by the Mayans who drank it thousands of years ago. But it’s remained popular and became available as an over-the-counter product in the 1970s. Historically, the plant has been known by a number of different names, including calaguala, anapsos, fougère, Samambaia Heliocare, Golden Polypody, golden serpent fern, cabbage palm fern, Kalawalla, Polypodiaceae, and most recently, PL.
How Polypodium Works
Polypodium Leucotomos works by increasing your skin’s tolerance to ultraviolet light so that it doesn’t burn as quickly. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, ‘the main understanding is that Polypodium Leucotomos acts as an antioxidant, so it protects the skin from oxidative damage caused by sun exposure’. Because it works from the inside out, it’s thought to be able to penetrate layers of the skin that sunscreens can’t.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of this compound are what give it the edge in terms of sun protection. Because of its high concentration of antioxidants, PL can reduce the number of free radicals caused by UV light. These free radicals are what cause havoc at a cellular level and lead to mutations that can result in cancer. It decreases ultraviolet-induced damage so that fewer free radical are produced in the first place. This also benefits our skin health long-term since it extends the life of DNA which can be beneficial for anti-aging.
Having anti-inflammatory properties also enables Polypodium Leucotomos to support the body’s reaction to sunlight. It has been shown to reduce skin redness which is common after being exposed to sunlight. It is also associated with preventing sunburn which is likely due to its anti-inflammatory characteristics. The cytokines involved in inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases can also be inhibited by PL.
Polypodium Effects at a Cellular Level
The effectiveness of Polypodium Leucotomos is thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. But just how does it work at a cellular level? What are it's mechanisms of action? Although scientists don’t yet fully understand every aspect, it has been discovered how some of the processes happen. Here are a few of the things that are going on deep inside the skin cells:
- The antioxidant compound in Polypodium Leucotomos extract decreases ultraviolet induced free-radicals. It does this by binding to the lone electron so that the free radical can’t attach itself to anything else. This stops it from causing oxidative damage which leads to mutations and sometimes cancer.
- PL stops immune cells from releasing chemicals that directly cause inflammation and suppresses enzymes involved in inflammatory processes.
- It restricts the depletion of Langerhans cells which help to protect against skin infections.
- Clinical trials show that PL is associated with greater P53 gene expression, responsible for suppressing tumors.
- It also prevents UVB rays from causing DNA damage which can lead to mutations.
- Research shows that it increases key enzymes that contribute to the blood’s antioxidant capacity.
- Plus, it stops collagen and other skin tissues from degrading by inhibiting enzymes involved in the process.
Although these are seemingly tiny chemical reactions in our body, they have an exceptionally big impact on our skin. When combined together, it’s clear that this tropical fern holds a great amount of promise for both sun protection and anti-aging. This is supported by scientific research conducted on human subjects. A blind placebo-controlled study carried out by Harvard University found that oral Polypodium Leucotomos was associated with a significant decrease in UV-related skin damage. This is supported by other randomized double-blind placebo studies on healthy volunteers which have looked at its UV protection benefits.
Other benefits for Polypodium
Polypodium has also been linked with several other health benefits. These include reducing sunburn severity, autoimmune disorders, aiding psoriasis treatment, and vitiligo.
- Sunburn severity - research shows that oral Polypodium Leucotomos extract has the potential to reduce the impact of UV radiation so that sunburn and sun damage are less severe.
- Atopic dermatitis - polypodium is often used as a treatment for eczema and other inflammatory skin complaints.
- Autoimmune disorders - tests have shown that the compound can inhibit inflammatory cytokines which are a contributing factor to autoimmune disorders. However, further research is required to prove that it’s effective outside of a lab in real life settings.
- Treatment of Psoriasis - double-blind placebo-controlled studies have shown that taking PL can aid PUVA treatment by diminishing the harmful side effects of skin damage or skin cancer.
- Treatment of Vitiligo Vulgaris - taking the compound in combination with ultraviolet treatment was shown to improve its effectiveness and increase the repigmentation of affected skin.
Scientists are continuing to research the potential benefits of polypodium in the hope that its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties can be harnessed in other ways.
What are Polypodium Leucotomos Side Effects?
You might now be wondering, are there side effects to Polypodium Leucotomos? Well, like most natural compounds, some people may have an adverse reaction. If you have an allergy to ferns, then ingestion or topical application is not recommended. Some people have reported indigestion or an itchy skin condition as side effects of Polypodium. There are other species of fern extract that are associated with low blood pressure and drowsiness. Although these haven’t been observed with Polypodium Leucotomos, it’s not recommended that people with heart conditions take it. It’s also not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, most people do not experience any adverse reaction and PatchMD products are all latex, lactose, gluten, and sugar-free.
Check Out All the Other Ingredients in our Sun Away Patch
There are a number of other nutrients that have antioxidant properties and support healthy skin. We combined them with Polypodium Leucotomos in a topical patch form so the ingredients can be absorbed directly into the skin. These micronutrients include:
- Vitamin B3 - effective in preventing and treating sun spots along with some common skin cancers.
- Vitamin C - a strong antioxidant proven to reduce damage from free radicals.
- Vitamin D - produced in the presence of sunlight but needed in supplement form if you spend a lot of time indoors or live in cloudy climates.
- Vitamin E - another vitamin with antioxidant properties that can protect against damaging rays.
- Vitamin K - works in combination with vitamin D to regulate calcium for strong bones and healthy blood vessels.
- Selenium - protects the skin against UV damage by reducing oxidative stress.
Check Out Our Sun Away Patch
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun causes severe oxidative damage and photoaging to the skin. Sun Away Plus is formulated to help support the resistance of ultraviolet radiation and neutralization of free radicals that lead to premature skin aging. It contains a unique combination of nutrients and natural compounds with proven antioxidant properties. In addition to Polypodium Leucotomos, the Sun Away Plus patch includes your daily requirements of vitamin B3, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, and selenium. These micronutrients support your skin’s natural ability to withstand UV rays, repair surface-level damage, and protect against harmful free radicals.
Our patches are also suitable for people with many different forms of allergies. They’re free from latex, gluten, wheat, casein, milk, egg, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, soy, and corn. They don’t contain any GMOs, MSG, fillers, artificial dyes, sugars, colors, flavorings, or preservatives. So, you can be confident that you’re only consuming the nutrients you need and nothing else.
Each pack contains a 30-day supply of patches to help your skin remain healthy whatever the weather. They can be used as part of an anti-aging skincare regime that supports your body from the inside out. Instead of applying creams and lotions to the outer layer of your skin, patches allow active ingredients to be naturally absorbed. Order a pack today and experience the protective benefits for yourself. For additional information, check out our Sun Away patch here .
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