Lycopene and Lutein Supplements May Protect Skin against Solar Damage

May 16, 2017

A study1 recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology shows that both oral supplementation with a lycopene-rich tomato nutrient complex (TNC) and lutein may protect skin against UVA/B and UVA1 radiation at a molecular level.

The placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized crossover-design study funded by Lycored (Secaucus, NJ), maker of the TNC complex, and conducted at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (Düsseldorf, Germany) aimed to assess the ability of the two carotenoid antioxidants to decrease the expression of several UVA1- and UVA/B-inducible genes known to participate in the progression of skin damage.

Sixty-five healthy subjects were assigned to four treatment groups and began the trial with either active treatment followed by placebo or vice versa. Each treatment phase lasted 12 weeks and was followed by a two-week washout period. Subjects’ skin was irradiated before and after each phase of the study, and biopsies of untreated and irradiated skin, as well as blood samples, were taken for use in subsequent analysis.

Results showed that supplementation with TNC completely inhibited upregulation of the genes heme-oxygenase 1 (HO1), intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM1), and matrix metallopeptidase 1 (MMP1), regardless of its place in the treatment sequence. Meanwhile, lutein provided complete protection only if taken in the first period; its effects diminished significantly when it came in the second sequence relative to TNC. Writing in the study, the authors conclude, “Assuming the role of these genes as indicators of oxidative stress, photodermatoses, and photoageing, these results might indicate that TNC and lutein could protect against solar radiation-induced health damage.”

The study, a finalist in the university research category at the third annual NutraIngredients Awards, demonstrates “the vital skin co-protection benefits of natural lycopene from lycopene-rich tomatoes and lutein from marigold flowers,” notes Golan Raz, Lycored’s vice president of health and nutrition, in a press release. “As a leader in the research and development of carotenoid-based products, we are elated to have our most recent study on skin health in the running for best university research.”


* 5/17/17: Update, Lycored won the NutraIngredients Award for Best University Research on May 10th during the Vitafoods tradeshow. Golan Raz, head of Lycored's global health divison, said in a press release, "To say we are appreciative of this win would not do justice to how humbled we are. Research and development is the foundation of Lycored's technologies to ensure a successful process of vertical integration from seed to supplement. The study sheds light on a particular niche in this field of research, and to be recognized for it in this category further advances the credibility of our Lycopene-Rich Tomato Nutrient Complex, thereby also advancing our overall skin health and wellness program which has grown tremendously in an effort to support the idea of ingestible skincare as a mainstream concept in the U.S."


Grether-Beck S et al. “Molecular evidence that oral supplementation with lycopene or lutein protects human skin against ultraviolet radiation: results from a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, cross-over study.” British Journal of Dermatology. Published online March 15, 2017.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • Rss