Lycopene is an antioxidant that belongs to the group of carotenoids, which are plant pigments responsible for coloring fruits and vegetables in red, orange and yellow tones.
It is a chemical compound found in plants and microorganisms. Chemically, lycopene is an organic molecule that belongs to the terpenoid family. Its chemical formula is C40H56, which means that it is composed of 40 carbon atoms and 56 hydrogen atoms.
It is a linear molecule containing a series of conjugated double bonds, which gives it its characteristic red color. These conjugated double bonds are responsible for lycopene’s antioxidant properties, as they can neutralize free radicals in the body, helping to protect cells and tissues from oxidative damage. They neutralize free radicals, donating electrons to them without becoming unstable themselves.
Benefits of lycopene for the skin
Thanks to their antioxidant properties, lycopenes have gained prominence in the field of aesthetics, through skin care products that also help to reduce redness and inflammation of the skin.
Lycopene helps protect skin cells from free radical damage, which can accelerate skin aging and cause damage such as wrinkles and blemishes. It also works for people with sensitive skin or conditions such as acne or rosacea.
To use lycopenes in cosmetic products, it is extracted from food and then undergoes a purification process to remove impurities and other unwanted compounds. It is then incorporated into cosmetic formulations.
Finally, because lycopene is sensitive to light and oxygen, cosmetic products containing lycopene are usually packaged in opaque, airtight containers to protect it from degradation.
Foods rich in lycopene
Lycopenes can be found in a variety of red or similar colored foods. Some of these foods are:
- Red peppers
- To a lesser extent, some varieties of plums and strawberries.
The amount of lycopene can vary according to the maturity and variety of the food, as well as the way it is cooked or processed. Processed foods, such as tomato sauce, are often an important source of lycopene due to the concentration that occurs during processing.
It is important to note that lycopene is a fat-soluble pigment, which means that it dissolves in fats and oils, but not in water. This has implications for its absorption and transport in the body, as it is better absorbed when consumed together with fats in the diet. So to take full advantage of its benefits, it is advisable to consume foods rich in lycopene in combination with sources of healthy fats, such as olive oil. This facilitates its absorption in the digestive tract and its subsequent transport through the circulatory system.
Commitment to quality
This text on lycopene has been prepared by professional writers. In addition, we have relied on experts in medicine, engineering and aesthetics as a source of information, as well as specific studies to maintain the quality of what we publish.
At Sisneo Bioscience we are committed to publish truthful and contrasted information. And to update or correct it as soon as new knowledge becomes available.
Among others, we have used the following sources:
- Cruz Bojórquez, Reyna María, González Gallego, Javier, & Sánchez Collado, Pilar. (2013). «Propiedades funcionales y beneficios para la salud del licopeno» en Nutrición Hospitalaria, 28(1), 6-15. https://dx.doi.org/10.3305/nh.2013.28.1.6302
- Imran M, Ghorat F, Ul-Haq I, Ur-Rehman H, Aslam F, Heydari M, Shariati MA, Okuskhanova E, Yessimbekov Z, Thiruvengadam M, Hashempur MH, Rebezov M. Lycopene as a «Natural antioxidant used to prevent human health disorders» en Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Aug 4;9(8):706. doi: 10.3390/antiox9080706.