One of the best uses of tomatoes is protecting skin from harmful UV rays. While sunscreen should be applied to skin on a regular basis, tomatoes can provide added protection. “On a daily basis, most people don't apply sunscreen to their arms, shoulders, décolleté, and legs or even to their faces, but these exposed areas are susceptible to UV damage,” says Szilvia Hickman, owner of Szep Elet, exclusive distributor of Ilike Organic Skin Care. “Numerous studies show that not only can lycopene and other carotenoids from tomatoes increase the skin's own ability to fight oxidative stress, lycopene in particular can also absorb UV radiation when applied topically, enable repair of DNA damage, and reduce inflammation.”
According to research published in the British Journal of Dermatology, consuming 55 grams of tomato paste daily for 12 weeks provides protection against acute and potentially longer-term damage to skin from sun exposure. In a study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, tomatoes were found to be beneficial for rapid skin-cell replacement, and tomato juice can be used for healing sunburns. Furthermore, a study conducted by the Department of Dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, which examined topically applied lycopene's ability to protect the skin from harmful effects of UVB rays, found that it offered significant protection to the cellular DNA. It also found that lycopene may reduce inflammation and prevent DNA damage following UVB injury.