A Plant with Substance

Given all their potential today, tomatoes no longer deserve to be relegated to the background, simply to be pecked at the table. No, in some cultures, they are even elevated to the rank of divinity!

The Mayans in the Yucatan utilized tomatoes during ’rainmaking ceremonies’ due to their high-water content, believed to attract rainfalls [1]. What about Mandrake and Belladonna, two cousins from the same botanical family? They were used by witches as ointments under the armpits, the psychotropic compounds of these plants inducing trance-like states when absorbed through the skin [2].

Early European botanists were confounded by this intriguing plant family to the extent that tomato consumption was banned for a long period after its introduction. Fortunately, a few rebels clandestinely introduced it into their recipes, contributing to its rehabilitation. English doctors in the 18th century even prescribed tomatoes to treat burns and itching [3] and in Nigerian traditional medicine, it was recommended to treat oedema [4].

A Bio-inspiring Plant

Today, the tomato is a muse for the most imaginative researchers. Its cuticle, the skin that forms a flexible protective barrier, effective against dehydration and external aggression, intrigues scientists: at INRAE, for example, they are seeking to decipher its structure to develop a new generation of biodegradable rubber.

Regarding active molecules, beyond lycopene, which is famously associated with this plant, there are other classes of compounds such as amyrins. They soothe inflammation, strengthen the skin barrier and even improve emotional well-being. Tomato-based creams for stress relief? Absolutely! Clinically tested formulas containing tomato peel extracts have been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, the ’stress hormone, in volunteers’ saliva, while boosting DHEA, associated with positive emotions [5].

A “yummy” ecological approach

The tomato is also a perfect candidate for adopting a "zero waste" strategy.

Tomato skins and seeds used to be thrown away by the juice industry. Today, the upcycling of this waste in the cosmetic industry represents an eco-responsible solution to soothe sensitive skin. At the very heart of the French tomato from Provence, molecules known as "amyrins" that are upcycled to target skin inflammation. At the same time, tomato hydrosol, which is 100% water removed from the fruit, can replace the aqueous phase of soothing products such as micellar waters or mists.

What about the leftover seeds? They’re pressed to extract an antioxidant oil.

And right to the end, nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed: the final residues of these extractions, known as "tomato pomace", are transformed into biodegradable plastics for eco-friendly packaging.

Tomato peels: towards a cosmetic transformation

With the "In & Out" trend of caring for our skin from the inside out, the tomato has found its new playground. It represents a perfect blend of tradition and modern innovation, offering the cosmetics industry increasingly sustainable perspectives.

In the light of these latest advances, let’s face it: tomato no longer needs to blush at its performance, and deserves a top position in high-performance cosmetic creams!