Summer is in full force and so is our desire to head to cool down by the lake, pool or sea. We’ve heard about the dangers of chemicals in sunscreens, and for many reasons want to avoid them or limit their use. We know sunscreens can cause causing bleaching in corals — another reason to limit their use. They can also transexualize fish. Yuck.
An Israeli company called Lycored that focuses on plant extracts has found an alternate solutions for protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays. Using the help of Mother Nature they’ve developed an extract from the tomato that can protect the skin against harmful UV radiation. The cosmeceutical company Lyc-O-Mato doesn’t turn your skin red, but can prevent you from turning into a tomato.
Available in Europe through Inneov, a joint venture of L’Oreal and Nestle, and by the French company Oenobiol, it is expected to be available in the US shortly, said the company. They also develop a natural red food coloring additive.
Freeing your radicals
The tomato extract oleoresin works magic on the skin to defeat free radicals. Belonging to the carotenoid family, it is extracted from LycoRed’s specially bred tomatoes. Scientific studies have found this extract can “shield” the skin from sunburn and the free radicals that lead to premature aging.
There is a growing amount of scientific evidence that points to the power of antioxidants found in tomatoes. In addition to sun protection, tomatoes may improve the immune system in general, and work to protect us from degenerative diseases such as cancer.
The carotenoid that LycoRed has extracted is made up of several elements: lycopene, phytoene, phytofluene and tocopherols (vitamin E). These natural phytochemicals from the tomato work in harmony to protect the skin from damaging UV radiation, says Zohar Nir, LycoRed’s VP of Scientific Affairs and VP of new product development.
While Lyc-O-Mato is not intended to be a sunscreen replacement, it can be a part of a person’s daily regimen to help maintain their skin beauty and elasticity, he says.
Read deeper on sunscreen tips and research:
The search for new products had started a few years earlier, when Lycored’s mother company Makhteshim-Agan was looking to diversify its portfolio of products. After a long screening process, they focused on the red color found in tomatoes, to be used as both a wide spectrum antioxidant and also as a natural food coloring product.
Beauty and cosmetics companies now use the LycoRed preparation in a capsule, but it could also come as a fortified food supplement or in a beverage. It doesn’t only protect your skin from free radicals on the skin, but from within as well. In Israel, LycoRed’s special fortification as a nutritional supplement, already appears in dairy products.