Is ice cream with lycopene a new acne treatment?

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Could ice-cream with added lycopene help skin conditions such as acne? Pic: ©Getty Images/anskuw
Could ice-cream with added lycopene help skin conditions such as acne? Pic: ©Getty Images/anskuw

Related tags Ice cream Acne Lycopene

Researchers in Russia and the UK have published a study that suggests lycopene-enriched ice cream is a new functional food with clear antioxidant properties.

The study was undertaken by Lycotec Ltd. (Cambridge, UK) in collaboration with the Institute of Cardiology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation (Saratov, Russian Federation) and published in the Journal of Dairy Science.

The health-promoting dietary antioxidant lycopene has limited natural bioavailability, but lycopene-rich functional foods can improve its bioavailability. The researchers assessed a new lycopene-enriched ice cream for systemic antioxidant effects and influence on morphological characteristics of facial skin surface in healthy volunteers.

Although lycopene is a well-known antioxidant with proven health-promoting properties and widely used as a dietary supplement, its lack of solubility in water, high melting point, limited chemical stability, and poor bioavailability present a challenge for successfully preparing new functional foods containing the carotenoid, the authors say. However, as lycopene is fat-soluble, its bioavailability may be increased if the functional food matrix is rich in fat – as is the case with ice cream.

Lycopene is a red, lipid-soluble carotenoid phytonutrient naturally produced in tomato and present in tomato-based products. The researchers point out that it has been proven to possess high antioxidant and antitumor potentials that mitigate the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Consumption of lycopene-rich foods (especially tomatoes) or dietary supplements containing this carotenoid has been repeatedly demonstrated to produce health-promoting and antiaging effects, they add.

Test results

In a randomized crossover study, the authors used four-week dietary interventions with either control or lycopene-enriched ice cream. Samples of serum and residual skin surface components (RSSC) from facial skin were taken before interventions, at two weeks, and at the end of the study.

Lycopene concentration, conventional blood biochemistry, and oxidative stress biomarkers comprising inflammatory oxidative damage and low-density lipoprotein peroxidase proteins were assessed in the serum.

The results show lycopene concentrations in the serum and skin steadily increased during lycopene-enriched ice cream consumption.

The authors said they found no intervention-dependent changes in conventional biochemical parameters, both inflammatory oxidative damage and low-density lipoprotein peroxidase protein values significantly decreased by the end of intervention with lycopene-enriched ice cream, but remained unchanged during control ice cream consumption.

Control ice cream significantly increased corneocyte desquamation and bacterial presence in the RSSC. These adverse effects, which could potentially predispose consumers to acne development, were absent when volunteers consumed lycopene-enriched ice cream.

Acne treatment?

There was also no alteration of the characteristics of the ice cream, such as taste and texture.

The authors concluded that lycopene-enriched ice cream is a new functional food with clear antioxidant properties. In addition, enrichment with lycopene may alleviate pro-inflammatory action of ice cream at the level of facial skin, thus decreasing diet-associated acne development risk in young consumers.

An additional benefit, the authors add, is a previous study showed lycopene-enriched ice cream has a high content of milk fat, and lycopene addition significantly improves milk fat stability during storage.

Systemic and skin-targeting beneficial effects of lycopene-enriched ice cream: A pilot study

Source: Journal of Dairy Science
Authors: Marina P. Chernyshova, Dmitry V. Pristenskiy, Marina V. Lozbiakova, Natalia E. Chalyk, Tatiana Y. Bandaletova, Ivan M. Petyaev


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