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Look for the future of skin protection in a tube or tablet

Article-Look for the future of skin protection in a tube or tablet

Key iconKey Points

  • A small study showed that Lyc-O-Mato tomato extract formulation reduced sunburn cell formation and slowed depletion of Langerhans cells.
  • Other emerging super-potent antioxidants such as coffeeberry can be found in blueberries, raspberries, cherries and other highly-colored fruits.

Dr. Nir
As reports in the literature increasingly confirm that antioxidant supplements can impede photo-aging, cosmeceutical developers are leaving no fruit un-thumped in their quest to satisfy the public's hunger for formulations that protect the skin from the environment. One recent study, which examined the effect of an oral lycopene formulation in comparison to a placebo, showed that oral antioxidant supplements can protect against sunburn.

THE WHOLE TOMATO The small pilot study showed that Lyc-O-Mato, a tomato extract formulation, reduced sunburn cell formation and slowed depletion of Langerhans cells after exposure to a UVB/UVA solar simulator. The unpublished study was conducted by the extract's developer, Israeli-based company, LycoRed Ltd.

In the study, 10 male and female subjects over 18 years of age were randomized into two groups of five. For 10 weeks, group 1 consumed 85mg of Lyc-O-Mato 6 percent capsules twice daily, and group 2 consumed a placebo twice daily. Each Lyc-O-Mato capsule contains 5 mg of pure lycopene, as well as a mixture of other tomato-derived phytonutrients, such as phytoene, phytofluene, beta-carotene, tocopherols and phytosterols. At the end of the 10 weeks, subjects were exposed to two minimal erythemal doses (MED) of UV radiation from a solar simulator, and 24 hours later skin cells were biopsied and assessed. The Lyc-O-Mato group showed a sunburn cell count six times lower than that in the placebo group as well as evidence of reduced depletion of Langerhans cells, according to Zohar Nir, Ph.D., Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science in Rohovot, Israel, and vice president of new product development for LycoRed. These findings are important on two fronts, according to Dr. Nir. "First, sunburn cell formation is indicative of photo-damage to the skin, and, second, depletion of Langerhans cells negatively affects the important immune function of the skin." The Lyc-O-Mato mechanism is simple, he says: "The interaction of radiation with the skin creates reactive oxygen species (ROS), and lycopene is the most effective quencher of the ROS free radicals responsible for oxidative stress and hence, damage of the skin."

Dr. McDaniel
ANTI-AGING, P.O. David McDaniel, M.D., director of the Institute of Anti-Aging Research in Virginia Beach, Va., says that, while this is a pilot study with an admittedly small number of subjects, its results are nonetheless impressive. "Our research program has seen significant protection from UV damage from other topically applied super-potent antioxidants. We've also seen anecdotal evidence that oral lycopene supplementation in the 5mg to 10mg daily dose range may reduce the risk of sunburn in very sensitive, fair-skinned individuals," he says, adding that, "The apparent protection of Langerhans cells is also potentially significant." Dr. McDaniel points out that the Lyc-O-Mato product fits well with the popular paradigm of "total environmental protection" or "total body protection."

"Oral supplements such as this mixture of lycopene and related carotenoids need further studies like this one to expand our understanding of how oral antioxidants impact our skin — both for health and beauty," states Dr. McDaniel. "It would be interesting," he adds, "to understand better what biochemical pathways are being impacted by this product. Meanwhile, we already know that carotenoids are some of the most potent antioxidants for interacting with singlet oxygen, one of the important free radicals involved in premature aging and other diseases."

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