The People's Perspective on Medicine

Lycopene Reduces Ultraviolet Skin Damage

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]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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It would be helpful if they mentioned or recommended taking lycopene supplements to reduce sun skin damage. My mother was a redhead and I’m very fair skinned and am experiencing late onset skin cancer. All derm docs say the damage was caused when I was young. I’m now 77.

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