Natural tomato-derived complex helps protect skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation

April 8, 2008
Australia has granted a patent to LycoRed Ltd. for an innovative carotenoid composition of lycopene, phytoene, phytofluene and optional vitamin E to protect skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation. The novelty lies in the fact that it is not a topical application — the natural tomato-derived complex helps prevent sunburn when taken orally, via a fortified food or beverage. While it does not replace topical sunscreen, research shows that, when taken daily, such carotenoid compositions provide a degree of protection from both UVA and UVB light, even during months of the year when one is not likely to apply a topical lotion. Also, natural lycopene is more effective than synthetic in protecting the skin from UV damage, and its efficacy is improved when combined with phytoene, phytofluene and vitamin E  other antioxidants found naturally in the tomato. A health claim is not available for cosmeceuticals in the U.S., but a structure–function claim could possibly be made with appropriate phrasing and required substantiation.