6 Benefits of Fernblock®

Caitlein Hannigan

How it works


Recommended by skin professionals and dermatologists, Heliocare 360° is a science-led sun protection range that protects beyond sunscreen with exclusive, clinically proven Fernblock® antioxidant technology – but what exactly is Fernblock and how exactly does it benefit our skin health? 

Fernblock® is an extract of a tropical fern, native to South America, called Polypodium Leucotomos (P. Leucotomos). Originally an aquatic plant this unique Fern evolved to thrive on land, developing natural protective mechanisms against solar radiation and other environmental free-radicals. 

P. leucotomos has been used for centuries in Central America to treat various skin conditions. In the 1960s, the anti-inflammatory and photoprotective properties of P. leucotomos were discovered. Following an extensive research programme, the optimum extraction process was achieved by Cantabria Labs in collaboration with renowned Dermatologist Dr Fitzpatrick, with Harvard Medical School. This resulted in an incredible ingredient with unique protective and restorative action against daylight when used in both topical and oral formulations. 

There are now over 80 published studies and scientific publications demonstrating and supporting its multiple benefits to skin health.  

1. Protects against daylight

Fernblock® is clinically proven to multiply the skin’s resistance to the sun. This protection has been clinically proven across the whole solar radiation spectrum, including UVA, UVB, visible light and infrared-A.  

Studies have found that Fernblock® significantly reduces the amount of UV radiation that reaches the skin, significantly increasing SPF and UVA protection factor1. These multiple levels of protection against daylight help to prevent both immediate and long-term sun damage, including sunburn, sun allergies, skin ageing, pigmentation and skin cancer. 

2. Enhanced sunscreen activity

New data shows that Fernblock® enables SPF filters to work more effectively, boosting the efficacy of UVB sunscreen filters by up to 14%2. This means Heliocare 360° is therefore more effective than sunscreens that contain only sun filters.  

Fernblock® provides advanced dermatological protection by increasing the photoprotection benefits and activity of formulations, as well as reducing redness, pigmentation and collagen breakdown.

3. DNA protection and repair

Fernblock® has also been clinically proven to help boost the skin’s ability to repair damage to our skin cell’s DNA which has occurred as a result of free-radical damage caused by daylight. 

Continued and excessive sun exposure causes a buildup of damage to our skin cell DNA. When our DNA is damaged, the genetic codes that tell our cells how to behave are compromised. This allows our cells to misbehave and mutate, which can lead to skin cancer. 

Fernblock® technology has been clinically proven to prevent the formation of damage and increase and accelerate the repair of existing damage. This puts a stop to the cumulative effects of sun exposure, helping to protect our skin from DNA damage.

4. Antioxidant activity

Fernblock® is an all-natural antioxidant that is scientifically proven to neutralise and eliminate free radicals.  

UV exposure is considered the biggest trigger of free radicals, contributing to 80% of damage2. The problem with free radicals is that they are single atoms on the hunt for a pair, which means they scavenge the body to steal electrons from other molecules. This is what causes oxidative stress and free radical damage, leading to symptoms including inflammation, pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, and dull skin. 

Our bodies are usually very good at maintaining a delicate balance of oxidants and antioxidants3 to protect us from harmful free radicals. But chronic exposure to free radicals will severely compromise the equilibrium. 

Fernblock® technology contains concentrated antioxidant molecules that fight free radical damage. They do this by donating an electron to unstable molecules, without becoming unstable themselves. This activity is further boosted by the additional antioxidants of vitamin C, vitamin E and green tea extract, which work in collaboration with Fernblock® within every Heliocare 360° product.

5. Preventing premature ageing

Fernblock® is incredibly effective at fighting the signs of premature skin ageing, including fine lines, wrinkles, loss of volume, pigmentation and discolouration. 

As we age, it is normal for the skin’s condition to change. Our skin cell renewal cycle declines, our skin structure deteriorates, and the functions within each layer slow down. But this natural ageing process may be accelerated by environmental aggressors, including sun exposure. 

Fernblock® is clinically proven to prevent premature ageing by protecting our skin cells and maintaining the skin’s structure, helping us to achieve a healthy and youthful complexion. By protecting collagen and elastin production, the skin feels firmer and more flexible, standing up against fine lines, deep wrinkles and sagging. Fernblock® also helps prevent and reduce the intensity and size of sunspots and pigmentation.

6. Immune defence

Fernblock® boosts our skin’s defence system against external aggressors by protecting our Langerhans cells. 

Langerhans cells are present in all layers of the epidermis. They monitor the environment of the skin, alerting the body to any unsafe situations. Our immune system can then send a force of inflammatory cells to fight off attackers and prevent infections.  

Sun exposure is damaging to our Langerhans cells, because it leads to inflammation, forcing them to migrate. Just one dose of sun exposure depletes Langerhans cells for several days, which suppresses our immune responses to allergens, bacteria, viruses, and even tumour antigens4

Fernblock® is clinically proven to protect immunological action via Langerhans cell protection. When taken orally, Fernblock also significantly reduces the depletion of Langerhans cells during sun exposure5

Discover the power of Fernblock®

Backed by over 80 clinical scientific publications, Fernblock® is available exclusively in sun protection products developed by Cantabria Labs and is the key technology use in the Heliocare 360° range that takes it skin protection properties beyond sunscreen. 

All Heliocare 360° daily sunscreens provide high-level, broad-spectrum protection against UVA (PA++++) and UVB (SPF50>) and thanks to Fernblock, also provide protection against damage caused by visible light, infrared-A and environmental free-radicals. As well as Fernblock® they also contain further skin-loving ingredients to help boost skin health including vitamins C&E and DNA repair enzymes.

The range of Heliocare 360° products

Dermatologically tested and non-comedogenic, our daily sunscreen range has been specifically formulated for everyday use. With products suitable for all skin types, with various coverage levels and finishes, as well as formulations designed help prevent and reduce the signs and symptoms of key skin indications, there’s a product for everyone, for every day. 

Fernblock® is also used in our Heliocare 360° Capsules – skin health supplements designed to provide powerful free radical defence from within. Containing high levels of Fernblock® and additional skin-boosting ingredients, the Heliocare 360° Capsules helps to boost skin’s daily defences against free radical damage caused by daylight. Heliocare 360° Capsules are ideal for use as a skin health supplement alongside your Heliocare 360° daily sunscreen to help boost your skin’s protection and health and are particularly beneficial for those with sun-sensitive skin or post-treatment.

Get involved today

New and existing partners can start their campaign journey by registering for one of our group webinars below. These short, informative sessions will take you through everything you need to know about the brand and the campaign, including the Partner-exclusive offers and merchandise that is available to you once you come on board. 

Alternatively, if there are no available dates that suit you, you can choose to request a one-to-one meeting and your dedicated account manager will be in touch to arrange a time that fits in with your schedule. 

Become a Heliocare Partner

Our Introduction to Heliocare 360° webinars are perfect for professional skin clinics who are new to the Heliocare brand, looking to learn more about this  leading range of evidenced-based sun protection products and how to become a Heliocare Partner Clinic.


1 Aguilera, J., Vicente-Manzanares, M., de Gálvez, M.V., Herrera-Ceballos, E., Rodríguez-Luna, A. and González, S. (2021). Booster Effect of a Natural Extract of Polypodium leucotomos (Fernblock®) That Improves the UV Barrier Function and Immune Protection Capability of Sunscreen Formulations. Frontiers in Medicine, 8. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2021.684665.
2 Poljšak, B. and Dahmane, R. (2012). Free Radicals and Extrinsic Skin Aging. Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012, pp.1–4. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/135206.
3 Sharifi-Rad, M., Anil Kumar, N.V., Zucca, P., Varoni, E.M., Dini, L., Panzarini, E., Rajkovic, J., Tsouh Fokou, P.V., Azzini, E., Peluso, I., Prakash Mishra, A., Nigam, M., El Rayess, Y., Beyrouthy, M.E., Polito, L., Iriti, M., Martins, N., Martorell, M., Docea, A.O. and Setzer, W.N. (2020). Lifestyle, Oxidative Stress, and Antioxidants: Back and Forth in the Pathophysiology of Chronic Diseases. Frontiers in Physiology, 11. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.00694.
4 Achachi, A., Vocanson, M., Bastien, P., Péguet-Navarro, J., Grande, S., Goujon, C., Breton, L., Castiel-Higounenc, I., Nicolas, J. – F. and Gueniche, A. (2015). UV Radiation Induces the Epidermal Recruitment of Dendritic Cells that Compensate for the Depletion of Langerhans Cells in Human Skin. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 135(8), pp.2058–2067. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/jid.2015.118.
5 Middelkamp-Hup, M.A., Pathak, M.A., Parrado, C., Garcia-Caballero, T., Rius-Díaz, F., Fitzpatrick, T.B. and González, S. (2004). Orally administered Polypodium leucotomos extract decreases psoralen-UVA-induced phototoxicity, pigmentation, and damage of human skin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, [online] 50(1), pp.41–49. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/s0190-9622(03)02732-4.

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