Lycopene is a tetraterpene, a carotene, and a major pigment in tomatoes. It is a strong anti-oxidant that scavenges free radicals in our bodies, hair, and skin. (It's a stronger anti-oxidant than Vitamin E.) One study (2) "Lycopene has suitable characteristics to be used successfully in the prevention of cutaneous damage by free radicals. Its antioxidant ability is probably due to its high reductive power."
One study (1) found that: "Our results suggest that topical lycopene is able to exert its protective effects against acute UVB-induced photodamage." Meaning that it might be good to use when we are going into the sun. "Topical application of lycopene is a convenient way to restore antioxidants depleted from the skin by UV radiation and achieve protection against premature aging and cancer."
Another study (3) found "a significant correlation was obtained between the skin roughness and the lycopene concentration (R = 0.843). These findings indicate that higher levels of antioxidants in the skin effectively lead to lower levels of skin roughness..." Application of lycopene might help our skin feel nice. And this study (4) also showed that lycopene could penetrate our skin when incorporated into a microemulsion, so it is a very active ingredient in our products.
The version I'm using is a bioferment extract - INCI: Lactobacillus/Lycopene Ferment Extract - meaning that it has been fermented by adding lactobacillus and letting it sit for a bit to make the active ingredients more available for our usage. Lycopene is normally oil soluble, but this version is water soluble. Its suggested usage is 1% to 5% in skin and hair care products, and I've been using it in the cool down phase. It is described as a hair and skin conditioner.
Join me shortly when I use this awesome ingredient in a hair conditioner!
Evaluation of the stability...
Botanicals in skin care products
(1) Nutrition & Cancer. 2003, Vol. 47 Issue 2, p181-187. 7p.
(2) Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology. Jan2004, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p52-55. 4p (Abstract can be found here.)
(3) European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics Volume 69, Issue 3, August 2008, Pages 943–947 (Abstract can be found here)
(4) Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Volume 99, Issue 3, pages 1346–1357, March 2010 (Abstract can be found here)
Formulator Sample Shop data sheet
Wikipedia entry on cysteine
Wikipedia entry on lycopene
Poucher's Perfumes, Cosmetics & Soaps, 10th edition
*I've said this many times before, but I need to say it again. I get awesome free stuff from the Formulator Sample Shop, but I have not been compensated to write posts about the ingredients. My opinion of the ingredient - good or bad - is mine and mine alone. If you don't see a disclaimer like this on a post, it means I have purchased the ingredient with my wages.