Written by: Karin L. Hermoni, Ph.D.
Physical and emotional well-being are reflected in the appearance of the skin. The connection between beauty and wellness as well as nutrition and lifestyle creates a transition between these industries. On the one hand, the current beauty industry contains natural ingredients from food. On the flip side, experts and consumers alike believe that diet is as much part of a beauty routine as a moisturizer, and a skin care journey involves more basic stages of life.
As a result, there is increasing interest in harnessing the power of nature and diet with ingestible skin care products such as internally taken supplements. Therefore, it makes sense that the same trends should apply to kitchen sourcing and skin care product sourcing, regardless of whether they are applied externally to the skin or whether nutrients are ingested through food and supplements. When caring for their body and skin, many prefer products that are clean and natural. While many are aware that an unhealthy diet is reflected in the skin, a person can gain more benefit by understanding the direct and mechanistic relationship between healthy, diverse diets and their active skin wellbeing benefits. Healthy phytonutrients, the thousands of natural chemicals found in plant-based foods, serve as the foundation for achieving healthy and beautiful skin that exudes a healthy glow.
At the cellular level, these antioxidants help balance local inflammation and reduce oxidative stress, imbalance, and free radicals and antioxidants in the body that can lead to cell and tissue damage. This can include environmental problems like ultraviolet radiation, pollution and smoke, as well as internal problems like stress and lack of sleep. Ironically, the same internal and external challenges act as catalysts for the breakdown of antioxidants from the skin. Therefore, it makes sense to constantly replenish antioxidants in the skin.
It is important that these phytonutrients, when consumed from the inside through foods or dietary supplements, can best be incorporated into the innermost layers of the skin and complement topical products. Carotenoids, the plant pigments that produce bright red, yellow, and orange hues in fruits and vegetables, and polyphenols, the micronutrients we get from certain plant-based foods, can also help nourish and balance the skin. Examples of spices rich in antioxidants are turmeric, rich in polyphenol curcumin and carnosic acid from the herb rosemary. Both are commonly used in cooking for flavor enhancement and health benefits.
Carotenoids come in different colors. Lycopene is the red pigment that gives tomatoes their vibrant color. Lycopene is also found in watermelon, papaya, and red grapefruit. Beta-carotene is an orange pigment found in both carrots and green vegetables. In the yellow part of the spectrum is another beneficial carotenoid called lutein. Lutein is known for its presence in egg yolks, but actually the best food source for lutein is leafy green vegetables like kale. Astaxanthin is another skin-healthy carotenoid found in colored marine species and mainly obtained from algae. All of these carotenoids are oil soluble and research shows that lycopene absorption is optimal when, for example, tomatoes are cooked in oil (preferably a healthy oil like olive oil). If it’s preferred raw, like in a salad, olive oil or avocado can be added to tomatoes for best results.
As mentioned earlier, lycopene is the main tomato carotenoid that gives the fruit its red color. The tomato also contains colorless carotenoids called phytoene and phytofluene, which have a positive effect on the well-being and longevity of the skin. In addition, the tomato contains skin-healthy vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin E, which contribute to the tomato’s overall synergy and well-rounded nutrition. It is therefore not surprising that the tomato is a key component in various skin-healthy eating habits such as the Mediterranean diet.
For the same reasons, natural tomato extract is a wonderful ingredient for skin care. The antioxidants in tomatoes not only quench free radicals, but can also improve the body’s natural resistance and protection mechanisms and help skin cells better cope with the challenging microenvironment they encounter. The tomato phytonutrients help balance inflammation and reduce free radical damage to the skin.
About the writer
Dr. Karin Hermoni is the scientific director and manager of the nutrient complex at Lycored, the world’s leading supplier of natural carotenoids for food, beverages and dietary supplements. She has a Ph.D. She studied biochemistry at Ben Gurion University in Israel and her research has focused on the effects of phytonutrients, and tomato carotenoids in particular, on various aspects of human health, including skin health. Hermoni oversees Lycored’s preclinical and clinical studies, including the planning of specific studies, scientific writing, and publication.
Presented by Lycored
Lycored is committed to the care of wellbeing and is an international company that is a leader in discovering and combining the nutritional potential of nature with cutting-edge science to develop natural ingredients and products.
Founded in 1995, Lycored is the world leader in natural carotenoids for foods, beverages and supplements. The company develops and supplies natural ingredient formulations in four main business areas: Wellbeing Ingredients; Colorations; Food ingredients to improve taste and texture. Lycored is based in Israel and has sales and production activities in Switzerland, the USA and Ukraine. Please visit www.lycored.com for more information.