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

J Dairy Sci. 2019 Jan;102(1):14-25. doi: 10.3168/jds.2018-15282. Epub 2018 Nov 15.


The health-promoting dietary antioxidant lycopene has limited natural bioavailability, but lycopene-rich functional foods can improve its bioavailability. We assessed a new lycopene-enriched ice cream for systemic antioxidant effects and influence on morphological characteristics of facial skin surface in healthy volunteers. In a randomized crossover study, we used 4-wk 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 2 wk, and at intervention end. Lycopene concentration, conventional blood biochemistry, and oxidative stress biomarkers comprising inflammatory oxidative damage and low-density lipoprotein peroxidase proteins were assessed in the serum. Lycopene-associated immunofluorescence, lipid droplet size, corneocyte desquamation, and microbial presence were measured in the RSSC. The results show that lycopene concentrations in the serum and skin steadily increased during lycopene-enriched ice cream consumption. Whereas we 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. We concluded that lycopene-enriched ice cream is a new functional food with clear antioxidant properties. In addition, enrichment with lycopene may alleviate proinflammatory action of ice cream at the level of facial skin, thus decreasing diet-associated acne development risk in young consumers.

Keywords: antioxidant effect; ice cream; lycopene; serum; skin surface.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Biological Availability
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet
  • Face
  • Female
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Functional Food* / analysis
  • Functional Food* / standards
  • Humans
  • Ice Cream / analysis*
  • Ice Cream / standards
  • Lycopene / administration & dosage
  • Lycopene / analysis*
  • Lycopene / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pilot Projects
  • Sebum / chemistry
  • Skin* / chemistry
  • Skin* / cytology
  • Skin* / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene