Categorized | Skin Care

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Glutathione in Cosmetics

I’ve been writing a lot about glutathione and its positive health benefits, and one of the interesting applications of the chemical is glutathione in soap and other cosmetics. For a quick recap, glutathione is an essential body chemical that every cell in the body can produce, and has very positive health benefits. Glutathione is a very simple chemical, being synthesized from 3 amino acids, L-Cysteine, L-Glutamic Acid, and Glycine. Among the health benefits of glutathione is that it’s a powerful antioxidant and a powerful detoxifying agent, especially of heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic. Glutathione is often taken in supplement form along with a few other chemicals that help the body to increase and synthesize glutathione. So why is glutathione added to soap and other cosmetics?

Glutathione has an interesting side effect on the body that some see as unwanted and other see as helpful. Glutathione is an inhibitor of melanin in the skin, meaning that it actually causes the pigment of the skin to lighten. Primarily produced in Asia, in countries like Japan and the Philippines, glutathione soaps and lotions claim a number of skin benefits. Glutathione cosmetics, besides lightening the pigment of the skin, also claims to reduce blemishes and dark spots, melasma, chloasma, hyperpigmentations freckles and acne scars, as well as return a rosiness to the skin that’s often associated with youth and vitality.

Because glutathione has been called a master antioxidant, producers of glutathione soaps and lotions also claim that glutathione when used on the skin is able to reduce and reverse some of the effects of age and damage from oxidization. Oxidization is one of the main causes of aging on the skin, and many cremes exist that are full of antioxidants and claim to help reverse some of the causes of aging. This is an interesting claim that deserves further study and I would love to go into the benefits of antioxidants on the skin, but that’s beyond the scope of this particular article.

Do glutathione supplements have the same effect on the skin as glutathione cosmetics do? There is much debate here as well, but most agree that glutathione supplements, when taken in correct doses, will have an effect on the skin. The difficulty with glutathione supplements is that glutathione as a chemical isn’t very bio-active, meaning that it’s difficult for the Gastrointestinal Tract to absorb it into the bloodstream. Some clinical trials have indicated that it is almost impossible to raise levels of glutathione in the body through glutathione supplements only. That’s why most glutathione supplements are paired with other compounds such as Alpha Lipoic Acid and Milk Thistle.

Most testimonials have indicated that in order for a person to achieve the desired skin effect of glutathione through supplementation, it will usually take them three to six months and they’ll need to take some other supplements in tandem like Vitamin C as well. Most of the research available about the correct doses of glutathione and how to use it for the skin have been gained through testimonials, so not much substantiated evidence has been gathered. Since this is a fairly new development in the world of cosmetics, there probably won’t be much hard evidence for a few years more.

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