The tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is a member of the potato family and the nightshade genus, and it originates from western South America. There are now thousands of varieties, adapted to all sorts of climates across the globe.
It is technically a fruit, as the red tomato can be classified as a berry, but the US Supreme Court labelled it as a vegetable after a dispute on import duties.
Studies suggest that eating tomatoes can lower the risk of developing cancers, as the fruit is rich in lycopene.
Ripe tomatoes contain many ingredients beneficial to the skin, vitamins A and C, potassium and lycopene; however, 93% of this fruit is water.
Vitamin C is vital for our health, aiding the production of collagen (a protein that helps to hold cells together and is needed for wound healing). It is also essential for healthy blood vessels, gums, teeth and bones. It boosts our immune system, acts as an antioxidant, contributes to brain function and assists in the absorption of iron and calcium from the diet.
Taken internally, potassium is important for many body processes, including proper functioning of nerves and muscles.
Lycopene is a carotenoid, an antioxidant that combats the activity of free radicals and protects against sun damage; this also colours tomatoes red.
The combined actions of all the constituents of tomato make it a useful cosmetic ingredient, particularly for the feet. The refreshing, cooling and deodorising action of fresh tomatoes makes them an ideal ingredient for our Volcano foot mask.