The internet is full of natural skin care products. Some people claim that tomatoes can be used as a natural remedy for various skin concerns. But should you rub tomato on your skin?

Tomatoes are healthy, after all. They contain antioxidants and vitamin C, which may help strengthen your immune system. They’re also a dietary source of:

But there’s little scientific evidence to support the claim that you can get these or other benefits from applying tomatoes to your skin.

Read on to learn more about the claims and what science says (or doesn’t say).

Some people claim that tomatoes can offer benefits for various skin concerns, such as uneven skin tone or signs of aging. Here are a few possible benefits of incorporating tomatoes into your skin care routine.

May help protect against skin cancer

Sun exposure is a risk factor for nonmelanoma skin cancers, which include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid found in different types of fruits. This naturally occurring compound gives tomatoes their red color.

According to researchers, lycopene also has a powerful anticancer effect, though studies have revolved around dietary lycopene.

There’s little to no evidence to support anticancer effects from topical application.

In one animal study, hairless, healthy mice were fed either tangerine or red tomato powder for 35 weeks. They were then exposed to UVB light three times a week. The control group ate the same diet, but weren’t exposed to the light.

Researchers found that the mice fed the tomato diet had fewer incidents of tumors. This suggests that tomatoes may also prevent skin cancer development in humans.

But more research is needed to understand if there are anticancer effects when lycopene is topically applied in humans.

May reduce risk of sunburns

Tomatoes aren’t a substitute for sunscreen, but the lycopene in the fruit may have a photo-protective effect. Eating tomatoes may offer some protection from UV light-induced erythema or sunburn.

A study from 2006 found that after 10 to 12 weeks of ingesting lycopene or tomato products rich in lycopene, people demonstrated decreased sensitivity to UV radiation. It’s unclear if you can get those same benefits from applying tomatoes topically to your skin, though.

While tomatoes might reduce the risk of sun damage, always still use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to protect against sunburns and skin cancer. Sometimes “natural” sunscreens can do more harm than good.

May promote wound healing

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrient database, 1 cup of tomatoes contains about 30 grams of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is commonly found in skin care products. It may promote the growth of new connective tissues, which may also help repair wounds and speed the healing process.

Will applying tomato juice to your skin give you these same benefits? That’s unclear. More research is needed to see if there’s a connection between applying juice from vitamin C-rich foods directly to your skin.

May soothe skin inflammation

Several compounds in tomatoes have an anti-inflammatory effect. These compounds include:

When applied to the skin, these compounds may help ease pain associated with skin irritations or sunburn. However, no research has looked at whether tomatoes can help with inflammation when applied topically to your skin.

May stimulate collagen production

As previously mentioned, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C can help stimulate collagen production.

Applied topically, vitamin C may help improve skin elasticity. That can make your skin firmer. But there’s no scientific evidence to show that applying tomato to your skin can can result in these benefits.

May help remove dead skin cells

Exfoliation removes dead skin cells. It may help improve the health and appearance of your skin.

Some people claim the enzymes in tomatoes can offer exfoliation benefits when applied to the skin.

To create a tomato scrub, combine sugar and mashed up tomatoes. You can then rub the scrub on your body, but use care to avoid your face. Store-bought sugar crystals are too jagged and can create injuries on facial skin, which is thinner than the skin on the rest of the body.

May have anti-aging properties

B vitamins are essential to skin health. There’s no shortage of these vitamins in tomatoes. Tomatoes have vitamins:

These vitamins have anti-aging properties that may help reduce age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. B vitamins also contribute to cell repair. They may reduce hyperpigmentation and sun damage.

Eating tomatoes can help your body get more of these vitamins, which may benefit your skin.

There isn’t any evidence that topically applying tomatoes can offer the same benefits, however.

May help fight cellular damage

Free radicals can damage the cells in your skin. This may increase your risk for wrinkles and signs of aging.

Tomatoes contain antioxidants, such as lycopene and vitamin C. Consuming tomatoes can help provide your body with these antioxidants. That may, in turn, help fight free radicals.

You may also try applying a tomato mask, though there’s no evidence a topical application of tomato provides your skin with these antioxidant benefits.

May moisturize skin

Untreated dry skin can lead to itching, cracking, and flaking. Different lotions and creams can treat dryness. Along with traditional remedies, some people claim you can also apply tomato juice to dry skin to help provide moisture.

Tomatoes are an excellent source of potassium. According to research, decreased levels of potassium may contribute to dry skin in people with atopic dermatitis, a type of eczema.

However, there’s no scientific evidence to show that tomato juice can be used topically to provide the same benefits as a traditional moisturizer.

Tomatoes and tomato juice have plenty of health benefits. They may offer some benefits to your skin, but this remedy isn’t for everyone.

Tomatoes are naturally acidic. If you’re sensitive to these natural acids or if you’re allergic to tomatoes, applying the fruit or juice to your skin could cause a reaction.

Signs of a skin reaction include:

  • rash
  • itching
  • redness
  • other irritation

Before using tomatoes or tomato juice over a large area of your body, apply a small amount of juice to a patch of skin. Monitor your skin for a reaction.

If your skin can’t tolerate the acidic nature of tomatoes, eat or drink your tomatoes instead.

There are no proven benefits to topically applying tomato to your skin. You may have the best benefits from consuming tomatoes.

But if you’re interested in experimenting with a topical application, there are several methods you can try.

Direct application

Dab a cotton swab in 100 percent tomato juice, then rub the tomato juice over your skin. Rinse the area with warm water.

You can also blend a whole tomato into a paste. Apply the paste over your skin. Rinse after 20 minutes.

Spot treatment

Rather than apply tomato juice over a large area of your body, you can use it as a spot treatment. Only apply the juice to areas of concern. These may include parts of your body with hyperpigmentation or dryness.

Tomato mask

Combine tomato juice with oatmeal or yogurt to create a mask. Apply the mask over your face. Rinse with lukewarm water after 20 minutes.

Other methods

You don’t have to apply tomatoes or tomato juice to your skin to reap the benefits, though.

Along with the above methods of application, eating raw tomatoes and drinking tomato juice may also contribute to healthier skin. If you buy the juice, just make sure there isn’t added salt and sugar.

Tomatoes can enhance many of your favorite dishes, but they don’t only benefit your taste buds. They may also improve your skin’s health, resulting in fewer wrinkles and less inflammation. However, the only proven benefits are through eating tomatoes.