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Daily consumption of lycopene rich tomato paste reduced reddening of the skin after exposure to UV light.

Conference Report

Daily consumption of lycopene rich tomato paste reduced reddening of the skin after exposure to UV light.

One of the hot topics being discussed at the ‘Beauty from Within’ one day conference in Paris held on 11th October, was the evidence from a new study supporting the skin health potential for tomato lycopene. According to findings recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology, consuming a daily dose of 16 milligrams of lycopene by eating tomato paste with olive oil was found to reduce damage to the mitochondrial DNA, which is a reliable marker of UV radiation exposure.

Researchers from the University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, and Newcastle University wrote, saying:

“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,” and that “Nutritional photo-protection with tomato products is a promising area for research, and further investigative and clinical studies are required to explore these novel findings.”


With an average age of 33, twenty healthy women with 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.

The researchers went on to state:

“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 photo-protection.”

Source: British Journal of Dermatology
Published online ahead of print: 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

LYCOCARD research was completed at the end of March 2011.
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