What is lycopene and why should we be using it on our skin?
Lycopene is the bright red carotene pigment and phytochemical found in red fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes & red carrots, watermelons and papayas.
It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory – helping protect skin from environmental agents that can contribute to clogged pores and breakouts. Most importantly for long-term skin health, it can help protect against sun damage. Studies have indicated that lycopene helps protect fibroblasts (skin cells that make collagen) & eliminate skin-ageing free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays, both UVA and UVB.
Lycopene accounts for a whopping 90% of the colour of tomatoes. As an antioxidant it is twice as effective as beta-carotene and 10 times more than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). Our favourite anti-ageing cosmeceutical skin product – Superserum+ by Synergie, contains lycopene sourced from hydrolysed tomato skins.
Lycopene is a relatively new product from a commercial point of view and recently it has been added to fortified foods such as yoghurt and drinks.
Can the lycopene in your diet actually help your skin?
Although the absorption via diet is still being researched, the current evidence indicates that lycopene is absorbed in the intestine and then distributed to the liver and kidneys. It appears to be excreted into the skin via sweat glands, therefore the lycopene from your diet tends to accumulate on specific regions such as forehead, nose, chin, palms etc. A small study on healthy volunteers showed that a 10-week lycopene-rich diet improved the minimal erythemal dose by 40% compared with the control group. (Minimal erythemal dose is essentially the amount of UV radiation needed to turn the skin pink) NB: Watermelons are NOT a substitute for sunscreen!
Could your skincare be delivering more than your diet?
Back to cosmeceutical skincare: Hydrolysation of tomato skins stabilises the lycopene. Once it is stabilised, it can be distributed evenly and homogeneously across the skin. It’s a clever little ingredient, naturally sourced, that boosts our skin’s ability to protect itself. “Clean science” in action. Find it in these Synergie products: SuperSerum+, Practitioner A+, BB-Flawless makeup.
Interesting fact: although lycopene is chemically a carotene, it has no vitamin A activity.
- Synergie Skin Hydrolysed tomato skin (lycopene) clinical data
- Furr HC, Clark RM Intestinal absorption and tissue distribution of carotenoids Nut Biochem 1997 8:364-377
- Fazekas Z et al. protective effect of lycopene against ultraviolet B-induced photo damage. Nut and Cancer 2003 47(2) 181-7
- Stahl W et al. Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light-induced Erythema in Humans J Nutrition 2001