What you eat may reduce your risk of sunburn. Scientists at the University of Manchester investigated the power of lycopene in tomato paste to reduce skin reddening from ultraviolet exposure. Twenty healthy fair-skinned British women were given either 55 g/day of tomato paste in olive oil or plain olive oil as a placebo for 12 weeks. Before the intervention and after 12 weeks, each woman was exposed to ultraviolet light in a controlled manner. The women who got the tomato paste were able to tolerate more ultraviolet exposure without skin damage. Though it is no substitute for sunscreen, a nice sauce of tomato and olive oil would be a good choice for the next beach trip.
[British Journal of Dermatology, Jan. 2011]