Oral Polypodium Leucotomos Extract and Its Impact on Visible Light-Induced Pigmentation in Human Subjects

Tasneem F. Mohammad, Indermeet Kohli, Cynthia L. Nicholson, German Treyger, Suteeraporn Chaowattanapanit, Amanda F. Nahhas, Taylor L. Braunberger, Henry W. Lim, Iltefat H. Hamzavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Visible light (VL) has multiple effects on the skin that currently available sunscreens do not protect against. Polypodium leucotomos extract (PLE) has properties that may offer protection against VL. OBJECTIVES: To determine the effectiveness of PLE in preventing VL-induced effects. METHODS: Twenty-two subjects with Fitzpatrick skin phototype IV-VI were enrolled. On day 0, subjects were irradiated with VL. Clinical Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA) scoring and spectroscopic evaluations were performed immediately, 24 hours, and 7 days after irradiation. Subjects then received a 28-day supply of PLE (480 mg daily). Irradiation and evaluation were repeated. Three 4-mm punch biopsies were obtained for immunohistochemistry analysis: one from normal unirradiated skin and the other two twenty-four hours after irradiation, pre- and post-PLE, from sites irradiated with highest dose of VL. RESULTS: All subjects had immediate pigment darkening, persistent pigment darkening, and delayed tanning both pre- and post-PLE. For the highest VL dose (480 J/cm²) spectroscopic assessments demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in persistent pigment darkening and delayed tanning post-PLE. In addition, there was a significant decrease in cyclooxygenase-2, and a trend towards decreases in the markers for cellular damage post-PLE. While there was a trend towards lower IGA scores post-PLE, statistical significance was not reached possibly due to lack of sensitivity of the visual IGA scoring system in detecting small changes. CONCLUSIONS: Spectroscopic data and immunohistochemistry indicate an effect of PLE on visible light induced effects. As such, PLE may be used as an adjuvant to traditional means of photoprotection to protect against the effects of VL. Clinical trial registration number: NCT02904798. J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(12):1198-1203.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1198-1203
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of drugs in dermatology : JDD
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


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