When our skin is damaged by UVA & UVB rays from that big yellow ball in the sky, called, the sun. All sorts of bad things all starts to happen to our skin. Some people will react quickly to the UVB rays with a sunburn. But what about the UVA rays? While everyone tries to avoid a sunburn, the UVA rays are doing major damage to our cells.
Collagen and elastin fiber cells are weakened These weakened cells lay deep within the dermis waiting for their turn to come to the surface as lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. Oh my, what to do?
This article is not about sunscreen.
Today’s subject, kiddies is about Lycopene. Evidence has shown lycopene is a potent antioxidant. Lycopene is part of the carotenoid family, free radical-fighting and protective antioxidant with anti-cancer properties. Lycopene is the bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, like red carrots, watermelons and papayas. Sorry ,strawberries and cherry lovers, no such luck. Unlike other carotene, Lycopene does not have any vitamin A activity.
Lycopene The Cell Defender
Lycopene is not a sunscreen, but it does protect the skin against UV environment damage by increasing the skin’s defense.
It inhibits the development a destructive enzyme called collagenase. Now this enzyme goes through your body destroying your collagen fibers, resulting in a gradual loss of your skin’s natural firmness and possibly causing the appearance of age-spots and wrinkles.
Next, Lycopene works as a preventive agent. It inhibits another enzyme that prevents the production of healthy cells.
How does Lycopene, the Cell Defender does all this? I’m glad you asked. Lycopene offers protection to the cellular DNA by blocking the premature aging activity that occurs within the cell after a sunburn has occurred. It also reduces the skin’s inflammatory reaction to UVB rays.
Wow!! That’s a mouthful. Here’s what that statement actually means. Lycopene throws up a roadblock around your cells, to prevent it from the DNA damage caused by a sunburn before lines and wrinkles set in,
Another thing about Lycopene.
It’s a Good Communicator.
Your skin cells have a communicating network through your body. This network tells each cell its job, its function and when it should renew itself. You get the picture. This communication system is very much like our internet. Imagine what would happen if the internet did not function properly.
Lycopene has the capability to improve intracellular connectivity between cells. Why is this important? The intercellular communication between your cells helps maintain your skin's texture and is necessary to keeping it healthy.
Research studies have proven that topical applications of lycopene has a positive effect on skin.
Foods vs Supplements-
Taking Lycopene extract supplements are not recommended because they may not supply the other phytochemicals you get from tomatoes. The phytochemicals are needed to provide optimum protection from cancer. To get the full benefits Lycopene provides, it’s best to eat your fruits and vegetables.
Scientific studies show that lycopene in tomatoes and tomato by-products help prevents some cancers. Dietary sources of lycopene are tomatoes, tomato-based sauces, juices, and ketchup. See list below
When it comes to your skin, foods may not deliver sufficient lycopene to your skin. After lycopene is digested, eventually it is released into your lymphatic system and circulated throughout your body.
The skin, which protects our organs from environmental assault, gets the leftover nutrients supplied by the foods we eat. Your fat-rich organs, such as the adrenal glands, colon and liver are fed first and only a small amount of nutrients actually reach your skin.
Topical application of lycopene can be a useful way to replace antioxidants in skin
that has been reduced by UV radiation, with additional protection against premature aging and cancer. Because of the nature of the skin, Lycopene’s potent anti-aging benefits are easily absorbed when applied topically in a cream or lotion.
Product Serving Size Lycopene
Tomato juice 250 mL (1 cup) 25.0
Tomato ketchup 15 mL (1 tbsp) 2.7
Spaghetti sauce 125 mL (1/2 cup) 28.1
Tomato paste 30 mL (2 tbsp) 13.8
Tomato soup (condensed) 250 mL prepared 9.7
Tomato sauce 60 mL (1/4 cup) 8.9
Chili sauce 30 mL (2 tbsp) 6.7
Cocktail sauce 30 mL (2 tbsp) 5.9
Watermelon 368 g
(1 slice: 25 x 2 cm) 14.7
Pink grapefruit 123 g (1/2) 4.9
Raw tomato 123 g (1 medium) 3.7