Lycopene-rich tomato paste helps skin from within: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Daily consumption of a lycopene-rich tomato paste reduced reddening of the skin after exposure to UV light, says a new study that supports the skin health potential of lycopene.

The tomato paste, giving a daily lycopene dose of 16 milligrams, was also found to reduce damage to mitochondrial DNA, a measure identified as a reliable marker of UV-ray exposure, according to findings published in British Journal of Dermatology​.

“This study supports previous epidemiological, animal and human data reporting protective effects of lycopene and indicates that this agent also protects against UVR-induced tissue damage,”​ wrote researchers from the University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, and Newcastle University.

“Nutritional photoprotection with tomato products is a promising area for research, and further investigative and clinical studies are required to explore these novel findings,”​ they added.

As an antioxidant, lycopene has been shown to have heart, blood pressure, prostate, osteoporosis, skin and other benefits in both natural and synthetic form and it has been commonly used in food supplements and nutricosmetic applications.

Study details

Twenty healthy women with an average age of 33 and skin types defined as phototype I/II were recruited to participate in the study. The women were randomly assigned to receive either 55 grams of tomato paste in olive oil, or just olive oil every day for 12 weeks.

Of the 17 women who completed the study, skin samples taken from the buttocks before and after 12 weeks of intervention showed that, while there were no changes in the control group, the dose of UV needed to cause reddening increased from 26.4 mJ/cm2 at the start to 36.6 mJ/cm2 after lycopene supplementation, a result which shows the improved resistance of the skin to reddening.

Furthermore, lycopene supplementation was associated with a reduction in the UVA-induction of the matrix metalloprotease enzyme MMP-1, which plays a key role in degradation of the extracellular matrix during premature skin aging.

“We anticipate that a range of commonly consumed foods containing highly processed tomato, could have similar effects if ingested in equivalent amounts, but this requires confirmation in further studies. Our data identifies lycopene-rich tomato paste to have properties appropriate for its potential development in systemic photoprotection,” ​stated the researchers.

Exceptional growth

According to data from market analyst Mintel, global food and drink products claiming to enhance beauty increased threefold over the past three years indicating a market ready to take off.

The growth in ‘beauty foods’ by far exceeds that of regular food and drink products, said the market analyst. Between 2005 and 2008, introductions of beauty-enhancing products increased 306 percent, compared to the 35 percent increase registered for the overall food and drink industry.

According to market research company Kline Group, the category was worth around $1.5bn in 2007, and expected to grow to $2.5bn by 2012. Overall, the global market for nutricosmetics grew over 10 percent in 2007.

Beauty from within

CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com and NutraIngredients.com have combined resources to bring you the Beauty From Within 2010​ conference. Taking place in Paris on 11th October this one day event aims to help companies harness the potential of the category.

The conference program will look at the science behind the ingredients and the important issue of marketing claims, as well as exploring how to bring successful products to a highly competitive market. For more information please click here​.

Source: British Journal of Dermatology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.10057.x
“Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans​ in vivo”
Authors: M. Rizwan, I. Rodriguez-Blanco, A. Harbottle, M.A. Birch-Machin, R.E.B. Watson and L.E. Rhodes

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