Glutathione has been making the rounds recently as an ingredient in a wide range of skin treatments and beauty products. The claims tend to revolve around whitening and antioxidant properties, though some products make additional claims. The ingredient does appear to have a great deal of potential and the science does show it is effective, but not a lot of people fully understand just what this ingredient can do for them if used correctly.
Glutathione is part of a class of chemicals known as tripeptides. These are substances that have a number of effects on the overall health of the body, and may be produced in varying amounts. In this specific case, it has antioxidant properties that help to protect cells from damage and a mild reversal of the physical signs of aging on the surface of the skin. The reduced form is what is most often used in skin care products, such as whitening creams and antioxidants.
Known effects and functions
In healthy cells and tissue, glutathione has the basic antioxidant effect. It is also capable of acting as a detoxifying product, removing foreign compounds and some carcinogens. It can also help in maintaining the active forms of vitamin C and E. The glutathione whitening effect has also been observed, and is attributed to the reduction of melanin that it causes. Tripeptide, when applied on the skin, produces a number of effects that help the skin remove impurities. There have also been indications of it having a role in boosting the immune system.
Known side effects
The glutathione side effects list actually includes the effect that it is most often used in skin care products for: whitening. The reduction in melanin levels is regarded by the medical community as a side effect of the medication. There are also studies that indicate that it should not be taken by those who have just had organ transplant surgery. The chemical is known to cause complications with the recovery process and may also be connected to problems with the new organ being rejected by the body.
Glutathione is arguably one of the most successful recent active ingredients in skin care products. It does not appear to have any significant side effects except in specific scenarios, and one of its more consistent side effects make it a very appealing skin care product. It is an effective antioxidant and can help keep the skin young and resilient, even against the intense damage the environment can bring.