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Lycopene: A Natural Dietary
Component That Makes Skin Smoother

Many people are more than willing to go out and spend money on expensive skin creams in hopes of getting smoother skin - but few are willing to change their diet. Designer skin creams do little to change the damage that smoking, too much alcohol, and a poor diet has on the skin � not to mention time spent in the sun without a sunscreen. One vitamin that�s important for smoother skin is vitamin C because it stimulates collagen production which keeps skin looking young and firm. Now a new study shows that another nutrient � lycopene - may help to promote smoother, younger looking skin.

Benefits of Lycopene: Better Skin?

In a study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, researchers gave twenty-five young adults a lycopene rich diet for four weeks followed by a 25 milligram lycopene supplement for another three months. A the end of the four month period, they looked at the participant�s skin using spectroscopy and found they had higher levels of carotenoids, including lycopene and beta-carotene, in their skin. Carotenoids are strong antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation - which may have a positive impact on skin aging. A previous study published in the same journal found that higher skin lycopene levels were associated with smoother skin.

What are Lycopenes?

Lycopenes are a type of carotenoid found naturally in foods that are red. Fresh tomatoes are a source of lycopenes, but the highest levels are found in tomatoes that have been processed into tomato paste, tomato sauce, or ketchup. Red fruits such as watermelon, apricots, pink grapefruits, and guavas are other good sources.

Benefits of Lycopene. How Does It Work?

When skin levels of lycopenes are higher, it helps to reduce oxidative damage that occurs from daily exposure to the sun and other environmental pollutants. As a study showed, higher levels of skin lycopenes reduces skin roughness. Higher levels of lycopene in the skin also block ultraviolet rays to some degree - although not enough to make a sunscreen unnecessary.

How Much Lycopene Do You Need for Better Skin?

Most experts recommend getting between 25 to 75 milligrams of lycopene each day. A half cup of tomato sauce has around 22 milligrams of lycopene and one cup of tomato juice has 20 milligrams. With a little planning, it�s not hard to get at least 25 milligrams of lycopene a day without supplements which was the amount the study participants received during the last three months of this study.

The Bottom Line?

If you want smoother skin, add more processed tomato foods to your diet and supplement them with red fruits such as watermelon and apricots. The secret to better skin? Say goodbye to the expensive skin creams and eat more lycopenes instead.