What Causes Tomato Skin To Be Tough And Thick?


There are a few reasons why your tomatoes may have tough, thick skin. It is due to variety, over- or under-watering, high temperatures, a lack of nutrients in soil fertilizers, and pesticide attacks. Extreme temperatures and strong winds are also reasons for thick skin.

Homegrown tomatoes are 100 times better than those bought from stores. It gives us amazing flavor, but all they need is good attention and care for heavy harvests. Sometimes, your plants face so many difficulties, and one of them is the tough and thick skin of tomatoes.

There are some varieties that are naturally thick, like heirloom varieties. So, you don’t need to be worried about this, but in some cases, it’s an alarm that the tomatoes are damaging. The skin acts as a barrier to prevent moisture loss and helps to maintain the tomato’s internal structure.

In this article, I will tell you for what reasons tomatoes have tough and thick skin.

What Makes Tomatoes Tough Skin?

Tomatoes have a thick skin to protect them from physical damage, disease, and insects. The skin of the tomato contains a high concentration of antioxidants and nutrients such as lycopene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease.

A combination of genetics, environmental factors, and harvesting practices can contribute to the thickness of a tomato’s skin. The thickness of the tomato’s skin can vary depending on the variety, growing conditions, and ripeness of the fruit.

Generally, tomatoes that are grown in hotter and drier climates tend to have thicker skins than those grown in cooler and wetter regions.

1. Underwatering

Underwatering to tomatoes

Over-watering or uneven watering can cause the skin of the tomato to become tough and thick. Make sure to water your tomato plants regularly and evenly.

Underwatering can lead to a number of problems in tomato plants, including thick skin on the fruit. When a tomato plant doesn’t get enough water, it may produce fruit with a tough skin as a way to protect itself from dehydration.

However, tough skins on tomatoes can also be caused by other factors, such as environmental stressors, pests, disease, or genetic factors. While underwatering can be a contributing factor, it is not necessarily the only reason for tomatoes with thick skin.

To ensure that your tomato plants produce high-quality fruit, it’s important to maintain consistent watering and provide the plants with the appropriate nutrients and growing conditions.

This will help ensure that your plants stay healthy and produce delicious, juicy tomatoes.

2. Tough Tomato Skins Due to Variety

The toughness of a tomato’s skin can be influenced by a few different factors, including the variety of tomato, how ripe the tomato is, and environmental conditions during growth.

Some tomato varieties naturally have thicker or tougher skin than others. For example, beefsteak tomatoes typically have thicker skin than cherry tomatoes.

As a tomato ripens, its skin becomes thinner and more delicate. So if a tomato has tough skin, it may be an indication that it was harvested before it was fully ripe. Tomatoes that are left on the vine longer before harvesting may have thinner, more tender skin.

Environmental conditions during growth can also affect the thickness and toughness of a tomato’s skin. For example, tomatoes grown in hot, dry conditions may have tougher skin than those grown in cooler, more humid conditions.

3. High Temperature And Sun

Heat and Sun for tomato plants

High temperatures can cause the skin of the tomato to thicken and become tougher. This can happen if the tomatoes are left on the vine for too long during hot weather. Tomatoes are a type of fruit that grows on vines and belongs to the nightshade family.

The skin of a tomato is a thin layer that covers the fruit and protects it from external damage. The texture and thickness of a tomato’s skin can change depending on the type, how ripe it is, and how it was grown.

Tomatoes like warm but not too hot climates, so high temperatures can slow their growth and development.

If tomatoes are exposed to very high temperatures, they can become stressed and develop conditions like tough skin, sunscald, blossom-end rot, or cracking, which can affect the quality of the fruit, including the skin.

Intense Sunlight

The toughness of tomato skin is not directly related to the intensity of sunlight. Tomatoes, like many other fruits and vegetables, have a protective outer layer called the cuticle.

This layer helps to prevent water loss and protect the fruit from damage, disease, and pests.

The thickness and toughness of the cuticle can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the variety of tomato, the growing conditions, and the stage of ripeness.

In some cases, tomatoes grown in intense sunlight may have a thicker cuticle, but this is not always the case. Tomatoes with thicker skins may be more resistant to damage during transportation and storage, but they may also be more difficult to peel or eat raw.


The thickness and toughness of tomato skin depend on various factors, such as the variety of tomato, growing conditions, and stage of ripeness.

If tomatoes are in very hot conditions for a long time, they may get sunscald, a condition in which the skin turns a different color or gets patches of dead tissue.

Sunscald can make the skin tougher and less appealing, but it is not the same as the natural thickness of the cuticle. Heat can affect the appearance and quality of tomatoes, but it is not the direct cause of their tough skin.

Other factors, such as genetics and growing conditions, play a more significant role in determining the thickness and toughness of tomato skin.

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4. Tough Tomato Skins Caused by Diseases

Thick skin due to diseases

There are several diseases that can affect the skin of tomatoes and cause it to become tough. Some of the most common diseases include:

Bacterial Spot

This disease is caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris and can cause small, circular lesions on the tomato skin. As the disease progresses, the lesions can merge and cause the skin to become tough and cracked.

Early Blight

Early blight is caused by the fungus Alternaria solani and can cause irregularly shaped lesions on the tomato skin. As the disease progresses, the lesions can cause the skin to become tough and leathery.

Late Blight

Late blight is caused by the fungus Phytophthora infestans and can cause dark lesions on the tomato skin. As the disease progresses, the lesions can cause the skin to become tough and papery.


Anthracnose is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum and can cause circular, sunken lesions on the tomato skin. As the disease progresses, the lesions can cause the skin to become tough and cracked.

  • Anthracnose is caused by the fungus Colletotrichum, which can make holes in the skin of a tomato in the shape of circles. uch as removing infected plant material and providing adequate air circulation around the plants. Using disease-resistant tomato varieties and avoiding overhead watering can also help prevent the spread of diseases.

5. Lack Of Nutrients

Tomatoes need certain nutrients, like calcium and magnesium, to grow properly. A lack of these nutrients can cause the skin to become thicker and tougher.

The thickened tomato skin is not directly caused by a lack of nutrients in the soil or plant. In fact, tomatoes require specific nutrients in order to develop properly and produce healthy, flavorful fruit.

A lack of nutrients can indirectly contribute to the development of tough tomato skin. When tomato plants are stressed by a lack of nutrients, they may produce fruit with thicker, tougher skin in an effort to protect the flesh of the fruit from environmental stressors.

There are also things like genes, environmental conditions like high heat or low humidity, and wrong ways to harvest or store tomatoes that can make the skin tough.

6. Pesticides and Insects

Pesticides are chemical substances used to control pests, including insects that can damage crops like tomatoes. Pesticides can work well to protect crops, but they can also damage the skin of a tomato in ways that were not intended.

Some pesticides can leave residues on the tomato skin. For example, some pesticides can cause discoloration, scarring, or deformities on the tomato skin. In extreme cases, the tomato may become misshapen or have cracks in the skin.

Some pesticides can change the nutritional value of the skin of a tomato as well as how it looks. Some studies suggest that exposure to certain pesticides can reduce the levels of beneficial antioxidants in tomatoes.

There are so many insects like whiteflies, hornworms, aphids, and bugs that affect the skin of tomatoes. So, protect your tomato skin from pesticides and insects by using insecticidal spray or oils.

Prevention Against Tomatoes Tough Skin

Healthy tomatoes

The preventions against tomatoes tough skin are given below;

  • Choose the right tomato variety: Some tomato varieties have naturally tough skin, so it’s important to choose the right variety if you want to avoid tough skin. Look for varieties with thinner skin, such as cherry or grape tomatoes.
  • Proper harvesting: Tomatoes should be harvested at the right time when they are ripe but not overripe. If you let them stay on the vine for too long, the skin will become tough.
  • Avoid over-ripening: Overripe tomatoes have a tougher skin, so it’s important to use them or store them properly before they become too ripe.
  • Store tomatoes correctly: Store tomatoes in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing them in the fridge, as this can cause the skin to become tough.
  • Blanching: Blanching tomatoes in boiling water for a few seconds and then immediately placing them in ice-cold water can help remove the skin, making them easier to eat.
  • Peeling the tomato skin: Another option is to peel the skin off the tomato before using it in your recipe.
  • Cooking: Cooking tomatoes can also help soften the skin, making them easier to eat. You can roast them, stew them, or use them in sauces.
  • Acid: Adding a little acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, to your recipe can help break down the tough skin.
  • Salting: Salting the tomatoes before using them in a recipe can also help soften the skin.
  • Use a food processor: If you’re making a recipe that calls for chopped or pureed tomatoes, using a food processor can help break down the tough skin.

By following these steps, you will not face problems with tough and thick skin.

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The thick, tough skin of a tomato could be caused by a number of things, such as the type of tomato, letting it get too ripe, not giving it enough water, not giving it enough nutrients, or the environment.

To prevent the issue from spreading to the rest of your garden, use the same disease protection strategies and get rid of any infected plants right away.

Now that you know why your tomatoes have tough skins, you can take steps to avoid them. You have some prevention tips for what to do with tomatoes whose skins are too thick to be eaten fresh.

By identifying the cause of the problem and following these necessary steps, you can make your tomato skin soft and meaty.

Thanks for reading!

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