By Dr. Carlie Biggins, ND

Pearl tomato extract is made from white heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, or Solanum Lycopersicum, and has several benefits for skin health and radiance. Originating in the 20th century, pearl tomatoes, also called great white tomatoes or white beauty tomatoes, come in season from mid-summer to late fall.

Characterized by their large, heavy fruit with a creamy hue, white heirloom tomatoes can weigh up to two pounds. When eaten, they have a sweet flavor with notes of melon and guava, which makes some think they are low in acid, but in fact, they come higher in sugar, which makes them seem less acidic than other tomatoes.

Benefits of Pearl Tomato Extract

When taken as a supplement, pearl tomato extract has many benefits for skin health and appearance.

Helping with Hyperpigmentation Disorders

A clinical trial was done in South Africa at Aura International in 2019 to study the benefits of white tomato extract supplementation in patients with melasma. Melasma, also called chloasma, is a condition where brown patches appear on the face due to either hormonal changes during pregnancy or sun exposure. Women are more likely to develop melasma, the mask of pregnancy, but men can develop the condition also.

The brown patches develop mainly on the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. If melasma develops due to pregnancy, it will typically resolve on its own after giving birth. For those women who do not have a natural resolution or those who have melasma due to sun exposure, taking pearl tomato extract can be a good option for lightening the hyperpigmented facial patches associated with the disorder.

The study found that those who consumed the white tomato extract had improved skin tone and texture with decreased skin dryness and roughness.

Protecting Skin from Free Radical Damage

The colorless carotenes found in pearl tomato extract, including phytoene and phytofluene, remain precursors to colored carotenoids such as lycopene. These colorless carotenes comprise carrots, oranges, and, of course, white tomatoes.

Carotenoids have beneficial antioxidant properties that help protect the body from disease. Skin and eye disease represent two conditions that carotenoids help protect the body from developing.

Antioxidants like carotenoids found in pearl tomato extract protect the skin by reducing free radical production. Free radicals can damage the skin, causing wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and fine lines.

Serving as a Natural Sunscreen

Antioxidants found in pearl tomato extract also help protect the skin from UV radiation. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a naturally occurring carotenoid found in many fruits.

A study conducted on hairless mice given tomato powder for 35 weeks and then exposed to UVB light three times a week found that the mice who consumed the tomato powder developed fewer tumors than the control group.

Lycopene also demonstrates photo-protective properties. Taking pearl tomato extract may provide some protection from UV light-induced sunburn. Although taking pearl tomato extract may reduce your risk of sunburn, it does not replace the need to wear sunscreen to protect your skin. Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when spending significant time outdoors to protect against sunburn and skin cancer.

Benefiting the Skin with Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Several compounds in pearl tomato extract, including carotenoids, possess anti-inflammatory properties. These properties can help reduce skin inflammation while offering additional systemic benefits such as improving cardiovascular and digestive health.

Pearl tomato extract may help improve skin quality from the inside out.

Providing Anti-Aging Properties

Pearl tomato extract is a good source of B vitamins that are essential to skin health. Vitamin B has anti-aging properties that may help reduce wrinkles and age spots. B vitamins may also help reduce hyperpigmentation and sun damage as they play a vital role in cellular repair.

Helping with Skin Hydration

An excellent source of potassium, pearl tomato extract may help with skin hydration. Dry skin associated with eczema and atopic dermatitis may result from decreased potassium levels. Consequences of dry skin include cracking, itching, and flaking of dry skin cells, making the skin irritated and more vulnerable to infection due to scratching and cracking.

Improving Efficacy along with L-Cysteine

Pearl tomato extract is combined with the amino acid L-Cysteine to help improve the efficacy of the supplement. L-Cysteine is a precursor to glutathione, a potent antioxidant found naturally in the body.

Glutathione has many uses and benefits to the skin, including improving psoriasis and reducing oxidative stress. It also is known to help reduce hyperpigmentation from disorders such as melasma. It does this by converting melanin to a lighter color and deactivating tyrosinase, an enzyme that helps produce the pigment.

The Bottom Line

Pearl tomato extract has several skin-related benefits. It can help with hydration, hyperpigmentation disorders, wrinkles, aging, and inflammation in the skin.

Also serving as a natural sunscreen, pearl tomato extract helps protect the skin from the inside out. An increase in collagen production can help with skin elasticity, promoting a more youthful appearance as we age.

Supplying nutrients known to benefit the skin, including vitamins B and C, potassium, and carotenoids, pearl tomato extract can boost skin health and radiance.

Pearl tomato extract is generally safe and well-tolerated. Avoid taking pearl tomato extract if you are allergic to tomatoes. Consult your doctor before starting any new dietary supplement.

References:

  1. Meléndez-Martínez AJ, Mapelli-Brahm P, Benítez-González A, Stinco CM. A comprehensive review on the colorless carotenoids phytoene and phytofluene [published correction appears in Arch Biochem Biophys. 2017 Oct 1;631:30]. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015;572:188-200. doi:10.1016/j.abb.2015.01.003
  2. Cooperstone JL, Tober KL, Riedl KM, et al. Tomatoes protect against development of UV-induced keratinocyte carcinoma via metabolomic alterations. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):5106. Published 2017 Jul 11. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-05568-7
  3. Aust O, Stahl W, Sies H, Tronnier H, Heinrich U. Supplementation with tomato-based products increases lycopene, phytofluene, and phytoene levels in human serum and protects against UV-light-induced erythema. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2005;75(1):54-60. doi:10.1024/0300-9831.75.1.54
  4. Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/
  5. Rembe JD, Fromm-Dornieden C, Stuermer EK. Effects of Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin C on Human Skin Cells: Is the Perceived Effect Measurable?. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2018;31(5):225-233. doi:10.1097/01.ASW.0000531351.85866.d9
  6. Sugawara T, Kikuchi K, Tagami H, Aiba S, Sakai S. Decreased lactate and potassium levels in natural moisturizing factor from the stratum corneum of mild atopic dermatitis patients are involved with the reduced hydration state. J Dermatol Sci. 2012;66(2):154-159. doi:10.1016/j.jdermsci.2012.02.011