One of our most commonly asked questions is "How can Sundots protect our skin from sun damage?”
For most of us, the science behind Sundots is totally new. Sunscreen, UPF-rated clothing, and staying inside are our only options, right?
Nope! In Part 1 of our 4-part Sundots 101 Series, we’ll explore how Polypodium leucotomos, the active ingredient in Sundots, can help our bodies ward off damage from UV rays—from the inside out!
Understanding Sun Damage
First, let’s talk about the damage our skin faces every day from the sun. Sure, we know that sunburns are harmful (and painful!). And of course, we’re aware that sun exposure causes cancer. But it turns out that UV radiation is responsible for 80-90% of the visible signs of aging, as well!
Both UVA and UVB light damage our DNA and harm our skin, making sun protection our best defense against aging and scarier outcomes (see our post How Does UV Radiation Harm Our Skin? for more on this topic!)
Since the effects of the sun can be pretty harmful (read about Dr. Javorsky’s lightbulb moment regarding sun damage in How I Went from Sun Worshipper to Sun Protection Advocate in One Unexpected Photograph), it’s important we take every step we can to protect ourselves. We created Sundots to help provide the extra coverage we need in a new form that’s backed by impressive research and historical use.
Poly-what? How A Fern Provides Sun Protection
Sundots use 240mg of Polypodium leucotomos (PLE), a fern extract backed by 30+ years of sun protection science.
While Sundots aren't a substitute for sunscreen, the evidence is clear from over a dozen human studies and decades of use: when taken like a vitamin, this fern can help your body resist the harmful effects of the sun.
Despite this evidence, PLE remains widely unknown. So how did we learn about PLE?
After medical school, our co-founder Dr. Emilia Javorsky spent 7 years as a clinical dermatology researcher at Harvard Medical School. It was there that she undertook a research project looking into oral photoprotective agents, ingredients suspected to have sun protection properties when taken like a vitamin. These ingredients represent a new frontier for sun protection. The quality and quantity of human clinical studies on Polypodium leucotomos (PLE) in particular blew her away.
For example, a strong human study published in The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2017 examined the effect of Polypodium on patients’ skin cells after exposure to high doses of UV radiation.
The study found 76% fewer new sunburned cells in patients who took only a single dose of PLE, leading the researchers to conclude that “growing evidence indicates the oral administration of Polypodium leucotomos extract can provide effective protection against solar UV radiation.” The study design also looked at other biomarkers of sun damage, and across every single measure, PLE provided real protection (see Table II if you’re the type that likes to get into the data with us!).
The body of research backing PLE indicates that its protective properties work through several mechanisms, such as reducing cell damage caused by free radicals and helping to decrease inflammation. Interested in learning more about what’s going on inside this amazing fern? Check out this overview!
After reading and participating in research, Dr. Javorsky knew she had to create Sundots to help others access this incredibly protective ingredient!
Adding Sundots To Your Routine
The science if clear that harmful sun exposure is a risk every day: even in shade, even in winter. And despite what you might think, sunscreen the way we typically apply it isn’t enough (see Sundots Myth Busters: The Real Deal on All Things Sunscreen for more info). Curious about what our favorite all-natural sunscreens are? Check out our roundup here: The Best Organic Sunscreens of 2018 (Non-Toxic & Natural).
The bottom line is that, through a variety of mechanisms, PLE works to minimize visible signs of aging and harmful sun damage. When combined with other protective measures like sunscreen and UPF-rated clothing, Sundots can help protect your skin.
Our customers have reported that they're less likely to be pink after forgetting to re-apply sunscreen, or when they're unexpectedly in the sun for longer than they planned. The key is to build a sustainable sun protection routine, and that starts with your first bottle of Sundots.
We’ll explore more about why we need better sun protection in our next Sundots 101 post. Stay tuned!