Beauty Dictionary: L for Lycopene

Found in abundance in fruits and vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, watermelons and papaya, lycopene defends against UV damage and delays skin ageing.

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Lycopene is a type of carotenoid (the pigments that gives tomatoes, carrots and other red fruits its colours) that converts into vitamins A and has great antioxidant properties (twice as good as beta-carotene). It is able to neutralise free radical damage, which in turn protects skin elastin and collagen from being weakened.

Tests have also shown that lycopene has the ability to block out sun’s rays, protecting skin from UV damage. That said, skincare containing lycopene shouldn’t be your only defense against the sun as sunscreen (both mineral and chemical) is your best bet against UVA and UVB rays.

Fruits like tomatoes contain the most amount of lycopene and its cooked derivatives like soup, ketchup and tomato-based pasta sauce release even more lycopene than the fresh fruit. However, it’s simply not economical (or even boring) to consume these foods every day – in this case, try oral supplements like the IDS Lyco-White or skin care products containing lycopene to get your daily fix.

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