Sunscreen Pill Can Offer Extra Protection

MIAMI — Summer is around the corner, and that means fun in the sun for many Central Floridians.

Most are used to slathering on the sunscreen before heading outdoors, but what if extra protection was able to offer protection from the inside out?

A new pill called Heliocare is being sold as a supplement for the skin.

“That contains polypodium leucotomos, which is an agent that is extracted from a plant native to Central America, and what’s interesting about the supplement is that this agent can help offset some of the damage that occurs in the skin when one is exposed to sunlight,” Dr. Alicia Barba said.

Barba said one thing must be made perfectly clear.

“My concern is that the patient will think that Heliocare is a sunblock. There is no SPF rating to this supplement,” Barba said.

Heliocare is not a substitute for sunscreen. An information pamphlet on the pill stresses that.

Barba insists that her patients use sunscreen of at least 30 SPF reapplied every two hours. But Heliocare offers extra protection.

“This is something that in addition to sunblock can help at the cellular level to decrease the sun damage happening in the skin,” Barba said.

Anyone planning a day at the beach or the pool and will likely get extra exposure to the damaging rays of the sun should listen to Barba’s recommendation.

“You take this supplement the night before, and in the morning of — and actually every two hours — when one is exposed for the maximum effect,” Barba said.

Sandra Brown took Heliocare during a vacation in the sun.

“I noticed that I did not get as pink or red and that my skin recovered much quicker than it had in the past,” Brown said.

The supplement comes with a warning to keep out of the reach of children and pets. It should not be used by pregnant or nursing women.

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LINK:http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Health/story?id=2224053

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