Heliocare: oral sun protection from inside out


I bought the Heliocare Oral recently because I thought it might be a good idea to get extra protection from the oppressive sun rays these days.  Since I only apply my sunscreen in the morning and can’t apply another layer of sunscreen in the middle of the day, these oral capsules offer me peace of mind when I have to walk under the hot sun without any form of shading. 

First clinically proven oral sun protectant
Heliocare Oral has been around for awhile and it is apparently the first oral sun protectant with clinically proven ability to prevent free radicals, premature aging and hyperpigmentation caused by harmful UV rays.   The product contains three natural ingredients (beta-carotene, green tea and a natural fern extract) that help protect against the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.  The main ingredient Fernblock, is the patented fern extract of Polypodium leucotomos and is 100% natural. 

Extensively researched at Harvard Medical School
I have had concerns if these oral capsules are safe but according to the NeoAsia website, Heliocare Oral has been researched extensively at Harvard Medical School for more than 12 years by renowned scientists.  In addition, its findings are published in leading medical journals, including the top journal for dermatology – The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.  In Singapore, this product is also classified by HSA as a health supplement and widely recommended by doctors and dermatologists alike. 

There is no known side effects associated with Heliocare Oral. Fernblock has been used safely in the market for over 20 years in Europe without any reported side effects or weight gain. It is also non-toxic, and does not contain iodine, cholesterol, or hormones.  (source: NeoAsia website)

Widely recommended by dermatologists
In fact I decided to try it because Dr Calvin Chan of Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic mentioned it at the Glow Workshop organised by Watsons.  However, his advice is that sunscreen should still be used on top of consuming Heliocare for total sun protection although going by the information at the NeoAsia website, consuming Heliocare Oral alone would be sufficient for casual sun protection. 

Prevent sun damage and skin cancer
Los Angeles dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu also said that the product can protect the skin from sun damage that can lead to skin cancer.  “It gets into your blood stream and works from the inside out, as opposed to sunscreen which works from the outside in,” explained Dr. Wu. “So this pill mops up the damage that gets past the sunscreen you might be wearing. It also repairs damage that is done to your skin that leads to skin cancer.”


Specific benefits of Heliocare Oral
According to the product information from NeoAsia, Heliocare Oral provides the following specific benefits:
– Protects skin from premature aging and sun damage
– Inhibits depletion of collagen caused by UVA by 55%
– Increases skin tissue by up to 66%
– Increases your skin’s resistance against sunburn by 300%
– Excellent antioxidant property, reduces free radicals by up to 50%
– Prevents hyperpigmentation cause by UVA rays

Effective half an hour upon consumption
Heliocare Oral capsules should be taken half to one hour before sun exposure.  Although the packaging suggests two capsules, I gathered that one capsule a day is sufficient for daily sun exposure.  If intense sun exposure is expected, then two capsules (1 in the morning and 1 at midday) is recommended.  Pregnant ladies or those with some form of medical conditions are better off consulting their doctors before consuming such a supplement though.

Great for overall protection inside out
I haven’t used this long enough to say if it is effective.  However, going by some reviews at the forums, Heliocare Oral appears to be quite effective as a sun protection even on its own.  I like the idea that it gives me protection from inside out especially on days when the sun rays are extremely strong or when I’m out having fun at the pool or beach.  In addition, I think the protection is more complete than using sunscreen alone as we’re sometimes unable or forget to apply to some parts of our body.  At least I now don’t have to worry about my feet now.

Price and availability
Heliocare Oral is available at S$75 at a few places including selected Watsons and Guardian pharmacies. I bought mine at S$60 from Living Pharmacy because of a special 20% instore promotion.  And those outside of Singapore can also purchase the supplement online for as low as US$41.

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  1. pf1123 says

    It feels weird to take supplement against the sun. hehe…wouldn’t ppl turn yellow instead from the beta-carotene?

    What do you think about those whitening pills? I dunno how that works…

    pf: Haha…I think the amount isn’t that much to turn us yellow. 😛 Whitening pills I’m not keen. If I’m not wrong, they work to suppress our melanin production.

  2. says

    this is interesting, my first time seeing a sunscreen supplement. LOL. how many caps are there in a bottle? pls review this once u are done with the bottle :)

    prettybeautiful: 60 capsules in one bottle. Not sure if I’ll do a review…see how it goes.

  3. Reese says

    The colouring mentioned in the ingredients will make me think twice though for this supplement.

    Reese: Are they harmful? I have the impression that these are fine for the gelatin capsules as they’re common. I had more concerns on the magnesium stearate but figured out that they are all right as long as I’m not taking in large quantity.

  4. says

    I frequent the Immortality Institute forums and someone brought up the Heliocare supplements in a discussion on sunscreens. There are 2 experts, one a biochemist, who frequently give advice on skincare there and one of them says that supplements offer at most SPF 8 only so never use it alone, always use sunscreen.

    Looks like the topic has been brought up again, see here:

    Ratna: SPF8? Ah interesting…thanks for the info. Yup, that’s why the doc also said we should wear sunscreen on top of taking this particularly if we’re out under the hot sun.

  5. J says

    ok this is my first time posting, but i’ve been reading this blog for leik the whole year. i think it’s conscious kicking in now, so hello sesame :p

    ehm yeah so like somebody mentioned above, the colouring’s abit dodgy :S i only find that when reading junk food label lol. btw shouldn’t a normal spf15 do the job nicely? the company claimed it’s protecting from ‘inside out’ (which is good in most cases) but sun rays come from the outside anyway and a good sunscreen can easily reflect it off :S if you get what i mean, i’m really bad at explaining =( 😀

    J: Hey, good to get your comments. :) I think the coloring used on the capsules are of pharmaceutical grade so I don’t find them dodgy. It’s quite common in capsules.

    The pills are good because they protect at the cell level and provide antioxidant benefits too; particular good for protecting from UVA rays which damage the deeper layers of our skin. In fact chemical sunscreen also work by absorbing the UV rays. It’s only the physical/mineral sunscreen that are said to reflect the UV rays though some experts suggest they absorb too.

    I guess it’s a personal choice if anyone wants to take these oral sun protectant. Personally I like the idea that I can get protection on parts I may not use sunscreen. Plus sunscreens are effective if applied regularly and that is almost impossible so taking this gives me another level of protection.

  6. Faus says

    Heya Sesame :)

    Was wondering which Living Pharmacy you purchased Heliocare from? I’ve been to a few pharmacies but they don’t seem to carry the product..I’m pretty keen to try this, thanks!

    Faus: I got this at Liang Court’s Living Pharmacy. Saw it at the one at Thomson Plaza too. Was told it’s also available at the Tiong Bahru outlet.

  7. panda says

    This really works! I used to take it everytime I have to go under the strong sun. And I never get burnt when I eat this before hand! Not to mention I am under retinol, AHA, BHA and Tretinoin too! But then again, I used sunscreen too! 😀

    Panda: Oh that’s great! I just made my husband take two of it when he went for a tan and he wasn’t burnt too!

  8. Faus says

    Great thanks! Will hurry over to get a bottle before the promo ends :)

    Faus: Great! Hope you’ll like it!

  9. Stefani says

    I’m going to Florida for vacation soon. I am always ready to be skeptical about these kinds of products, but after extensive research on Heliocare I believe the scientific peer-reviewed articles gave me enough confidence to try it out. Sooo..I went and bought 2 bottles online! Should be enough to last me the entire summer + Florida’s hot hot sun ^.~

    Stefani: Oh it’s great. My husband went under the hot sun for a couple of hours and he wasn’t burnt. Not even red. But he had sunscreen too.

  10. jeanna says

    also astaxanthin is known to be a natural sunscreen. i have been taking it for a month but haven’t tried it out yet for that purpose. i’m sure there are studies

    Jeanna: Haven’t heard that one…will check it up soon.

  11. David says

    Hello from Spain. Heliocare is a Spanish brand. The special ingredient in this pills is Polipodium leucotomos, called commercially Fernblock. Life Extension Foundation, http://www.lef.org, has a Fernblock with higher amount of P. Leucotomos, so I prefer LEF product to Heliocare.


    These supplements never substitute sunscreen UVA UVB

    David: Thanks for sending me the link and sharing the info. I was looking for an alternative – cheaper preferable. I’ll check out the product you mentioned. Only problem is I think I have to buy this online whereas Heliocare is readily available for me in the stores with frequent promotions and discounts.

  12. J says

    Hi —
    Have you been using this up until now? At the time of this writing you said you haven’t used it long enough to give it an adequate review. Can you perhaps update us on the performance of these pills? Would it be adequate enough to just consume this and not apply sunscreen? My skin hates sunscreens, and I always break out.

    • sesame says

      Yes, I’m still using it and am happy with it – gives me peace of mind. But because I also wear sunscreen, I can’t tell if this is working for me by itself. My only assurance is that my husband, who swims regularly under the hot sun uses this and doesn’t get overly red or dark even when he doesn’t apply sunscreen. However, he takes 2 of it half an hour prior to swimming. So I think it is effective but I wouldn’t recommend you not to wear sunscreen. Heliocare I was told only provides SPF8. However, if you don’t wear sunscreen. taking this by itself at least helps.

  13. Adeline says

    Hi, i just started on my first bottle of Heliocare oral, im a bit skeptical about the colouring on the pill, do u think it’s better if i just open the pill and consume the powder only? Will this step affect its sunscreen ability? Thanks!

    • sesame says

      It’s okay. You can consume the powder only. That’s what I do when I use this on my son – mix powder in water and let him drink before he runs out under the hot sun to play.

  14. serene says


    i am going on a vacation soon. and will be out in the strong sun.

    i am extremely fearful to get tanned, but will be forced by my colleagues to be out in the sun.

    will heliocare help to PREVENT tanning? i’ll be putting heliocare sunscreen as well, as makeup also. pls advise, thks!!

    • sesame says

      Hmm…if you have Asian skin (although it depends on individual), chances are you won’t get burn easily but still get tan. Heliocare will definitely give additional protection on top of sunscreen you will apply.

      I use Heliocare + sunscreen when I head out under the hot sun and I have to say I don’t get tan. My husband gets slightly tan with this combination but that’s cos he was out when the UV index is highest at midday.

  15. Quennie says

    Hi, I googled and found that getting heliocare oral online, especially australia, is much cheaper. Do you know of a trusted site? Thanks!

  16. Maikel Fist says

    Do you think that the oral sun protectant from Ladival might be good, too? It contains extracts from green tea, melons, red grapes, vitamin C and sodium selenite. Is it healthy to use these the whole year?

    • sesame says

      Not sure…the ingredients look ok but not exception. There are others that are more superior actually eg. Astaxanthin.

      • Maikel Fist says

        Mmh. Never heard of that. Have you written about Astaxanthin before?

        Maybe I’ll just buy Heliocare. Initially, the price deterred me a bit so I wanted a cheaper alternative but then I found German sites that sell them for 20 Euros.

        • sesame says

          I just wrote about Astaxanthin here http://www.vivawoman.net/2011/12/22/10-oral-antioxidants-for-sun-protection/. Going to write a review of a supplement that contains this ingredient in a week or two so come back and check it out. But in terms of sun protection, I seem to find Heliocare better but it’s too expensive!

    • Sesame says

      No, I don’t take them anymore cos they’re ex! I’m taking astaxanthin now. http://www.vivawoman.net/2012/01/17/carotenoids-astaxanthin-as-an-internal-sunscreen/

  17. Ana says

    I would highly recommend anyone who is blocking the sun exposition to take VITAMIN D, as the sun is the best source of it and when you don’t have it enough in your body causes many health issue.
    I do take astaxanthin and vit D as I live in Hawaii. Besides has a natural sun screen, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant.

  18. Vivian says

    Are these Heliocare supplements even effective, though? Meaning, have they undergone peer-reviewed, control group, placebo-controlled studies? It seems most commenters here who say this supplement has been “effective” are those who simultaneously use sunscreen, so it’s difficult to judge its effectiveness.
    Looking at the ingredients, it seems this Heliocare supplement is comprised of herbal antioxidants — nothing of which would seem to result in direct “sun protection”, per se. You could just as well insure regular antioxidant supplements from your local health food store, and you’d get the same effect.

  19. sesame says

    I find Heliocare great! It gives me peace of mind and when I force my husband who swims under the hot sun to take 2 prior to swimming, he doesn’t burn and tan so much. I can’t do without it. But of course, you should still wear sunscreen.


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