All Categories

Home>News>Healthy Care

What’s the Lycopene?How to apply in cosmetic ?



Lycopene is a substance that has been proven to have good antioxidant properties and has received much attention from consumers. This paper gives a detailed overview of the resources, physical and chemical properties of lycopene and its application in cosmetics.

Keywords:  Lycopene, Natural, Antioxidation,Cosmetic

Introduction to Lycopene

Lycopene (L y c o p e n e ), a kind of carotenoid, The molecular formula is C40H56 and a relative molecular mass is 536.85. The molecular structure is shown in Figure 1. Lycopene is one of the strongest antioxidants found in nature. Its ability to scavenge singlet oxygen is about 100 times that of vitamin E and twice that of beta-carotene. It has the reputation of “plant gold”. In food, pharmaceutical, health care products and cosmetics industries have good application prospects.

Fig.1  the molecular structure of lycopene

Source of lycopene

Lycopene is widely found in higher plants and microorganisms. In higher plants, the lycopene content of tomatoes is higher. It has been reported that the content of mature tomatoes is 8.8 ~ 42 mg/kg, and some mature red fruits also contain lycopene, such as red grapefruit, watermelon, bitter gourd, Papaya and so on. In terms of microorganisms, many types of microorganisms can produce lycopene, including bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi, among which the higher yields are mycete, microzyme and photosynthetic bacteria. At present, there are many studies on the production of lycopene by microorganisms. Liu Qiaoning and others used the genetically modified Escherichia coli to express lycopene with a yield of 102 mg/L. Wang Haibing and others used artificially screened and optimized red yeast to express lycopene. The yield reached 176.97 mg/L. With the development of biotechnology, microbial fermentation will become the main source of lycopene due to higher yield, shorter production cycle, and no seasonal influence.

The physical and chemical properties of lycopene

Lycopene is a polyunsaturated aliphatic hydrocarbon with a red long needle-like crystal. It has a low polarity and is insoluble in water, it is difficult to dissolve in polyols (such as ethanol, glycerin and propylene glycol commonly used in cosmetics). It’s easy to dissolve in vegetable oils, octanoic acid/triglyceride citrate and other fats and oils. The chemical structure of lycopene contains 13 carbon-carbon double bonds, including 11 conjugated double bonds, which are easily oxidized and converted. Therefore, the influence of temperature, ph, surface active agent, reducing agent, ultraviolet and so on is taken into account during the process of extraction, processing, and storage.

Antioxidant Mechanism of lycopene

Lycopene has outstanding antioxidant capacity thanks to its multi-faceted antioxidant mechanism. The first is the direct scavenging effect of lycopene on free radicals. Chen Liping et al found that low concentrations of lycopene (0.4 ~ 3 mg/kg) can effectively remove hydroxyl radicals and superoxide anion radicals. Lycopene also converts the activation energy of singlet oxygen into heat and directly quenches singlet oxygen. Secondly, lycopene plays an indirect role in scavenging reactive oxygen species (ROS) by promoting the activity of endogenous antioxidant enzymes. Researchers have shown that after mice were fed lycopene for 4 hours, the activities of peroxide (pod), (sod) and catalase (cat) in the blood of mice enzyme were increased.

Application of lycopene in Cosmetics

As a natural source of efficacious additives, lycopene has a good application prospect in anti-aging, sunscreen, anti-pollution and other functional cosmetics due to its outstanding antioxidant capacity. At the same time, lycopene has its instability and other problems, and there is a need for application improvement.

Lycopene and anti-aging cosmetic

At present, there are many theories for explaining skin aging, and the theory of free radical aging is a theory of strong persuasiveness. The theory of free radical aging suggests that with the increase of age or the change of constitution, the function of the antioxidant system in the body declines, resulting in excessive accumulation of free radicals attacking the active macromolecules of tissue cells, causing destruction of cell structure and function, which leads to and accelerates the skin senescence. According to the theory of free radical aging, lycopene with high ability to scavenge free radicals can be added to cosmetics. After lycopene is absorbed through the skin, it can inhibit excessive accumulation of free radicals from the source, enhance the skin antioxidant system, and thus delay aging.

Lycopene and sun-screening cosmetic

Excessive ultraviolet radiation can cause a large amount of free radicals in the skin, causing melanocytes to produce excessive melanin, which causes the skin to become dark and long-spotted, and can also cause skin wrinkles, aging and flabby. To prevent UV damage to the skin, it is generally solved by applying sunscreen cosmetics. However, existing sunscreens have some disadvantages, and the cosmetic formula should ensure the sunscreen effect while the sunscreen content should be as low as possible. To solve the above contradictions, lycopene can be introduced as an auxiliary sunscreen component. On the one hand, lycopene can remove excess free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays; on the other hand, lycopene has direct antagonistic effect on UV, and it has been reported that Lycopene can reduce inflammation in the body, maintain normal metabolism of cells, avoid UV rays and reduce DNA damage. Lycopene enhances the skin's resistance to UV light, thereby reducing the amount of sunscreen, which in turn reduces the irritation of sunscreen cosmetics and reduces material costs.

Lycopene and anti-pollution cosmetics

In recent years, due to the intensification of environmental pollution, cosmetics with anti-pollution effects such as “resistance to air pollution” have been welcomed by consumers. The contaminated atmosphere contains phototoxic effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and nitro polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (NPAHs). Under ultraviolet light, the phototoxic effects caused by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons can seriously damage the skin, Including accelerating the formation of free radicals. In response to the above problems, lycopene can be used as a natural source of anti-pollution active ingredients to play the following role: on the one hand, lycopene removes the phototoxic effect of PAHs by scavenging free radicals; on the other hand, lycopene directly eliminates toxic substances in cigarettes and automobile exhaust.

Lycopene is a natural cosmetic colorant

Appearance of color. Many cosmetics on the market add and compound artificial pigments, which have a colorful appearance and attract consumers. However, artificial synthetic pigments are mainly derivatives of aromatic hydrocarbons. Long-term use has certain chronic side effects and even cancer risk. Lycopene itself has bright red color, which can replace some chemically synthesized red pigments, applied to cosmetics such as lipstick, blush, etc. Which the color is more natural and safer.

Lycopene is a natural cosmetic stabilizer

Cosmetics often contain some oxidative and rancid raw materials such as vegetable oil. To prevent oxidative rancidity of oils and fats, stabilizers such as butyl hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are generally added. However, from a safety point of view, long-term use of BHT and BHA has certain toxicity, of which BHA has a carcinogenic risk and BHT has a teratogenic risk. Correspondingly, lycopene is natural, non-toxic, has a strong antioxidant capacity, and can prevent rancidity of oils and fats, so it can replace chemical synthetic stabilizers such as BHA and BHT.

Do you know the application of lycopene in cosmetics? Want to know more, please pay attention to our company!