Daily Dose of Lycopene Can Protect Skin Against UV-Induced Free Radicals, According To A New Study

Lycopene supplementation can enhance the natural protective qualities of the skin against UV and visible light.
Researchers are investigating the ability to counteract the free radicals produced when the skin is exposed to UV and visible light. The principal behind Lycopene supplementation, which contains tomato lycopene, beta-carotene, phytoene and tocopherol, is to enhance the natural protection already provided by small levels of lycopene and other phytonutrients in the skin.

“We do obtain these components from the diet but the levels are typically low, with proper supplements, with we are trying to boost levels up,”The mechanism is different from sunscreens which block the UVA and UVB rays as the Lycopene counteracts the free radicals that are produced on exposure, and for this reason, the researchers do not suggest the supplementation as an alternative to topical sunscreens.

“With Lycopene supplementation, we are augmenting the performance of the sunscreen, even if you have an SPF of 50 you will still have some light coming through,” they said.

In addition, the supplement can help protect the skin against the damage of short term sun exposure when people may not think to apply sunscreens.The study looked at the production of sunburn cells, described as cells whose DNA has been so badly damaged by radiation they destroy themselves. Fewer sunburn cells indicate lower levels of damage. The number of sunburn cells after daily supplementation was significantly lower than those found in individuals taking a daily placebo of soy oil.

Fatmah Azam Ali

Fatmah Azam Ali is a writer and editor of this section. She is a certified health specialist. She has written hundreds of articles on health issues for print and online publications worldwide.

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