Glutathione In Skin Care: Does It Work?

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Exploring glutathione skin care, best practices, and benefits

Posted on January 17, 2022 Written by: 100% PURE®

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a massive amount of growth in the skin care industry. With it, we’ve also seen a surge of ingredients. These days, you’ll see azelaic acid, niacinamide, and bakuchiol. These are on top of the well-known skin care darlings like retinol, vitamin C, and salicylic acid.

So, at this point, surely we’ve seen everything, right? Think again! With the emergence of the new year, we can only expect to see more ingredients that can work wonders for our skin.

Today, we’re talking about one that hasn’t been discussed much, but we have a feeling it’s going to be big this year. Let’s talk about glutathione skin care, and how it can amplify your natural glow.

Skin Lightening Vs. Skin Brightening

Before we get into glutathione skin care, it’s important that we address something: oftentimes in skin care, glutathione is referred to as a “skin lightening” ingredient. However, we don’t use this term. Instead, we consider glutathione to be “brightening”. We’re about to explain why.

It’s very likely that at some point, you’ve heard the term “skin brightening” as a goal in glutathione skin care. There are tons of products on the market that claim to have skin brightening properties.

You may have heard the term “skin lightening” as well. While both terms may sound similar, the meanings behind them differ drastically.

The term “brightening” is essentially a marketing term used in glutathione skin care and other types of skin care. While it’s often used to describe a number of different features, it’s generally a category in anti-aging. Typically, brightening products are meant to target discoloration in the skin caused by factors like sun damage and acne scarring, and to reveal more vibrant, healthy-looking skin.

Skin “lightening”, on the other hand, has more harmful implications. Skin lightening products, also known as skin whitening or skin bleaching products, are typically targeted toward women of color. They’re marketed to reduce melanin levels in the skin.

While skin brightening products help maintain a healthy, natural glow, skin lightening rests on the assumption that lighter skin is more desirable. It feeds into the message that women must change their natural appearance in order to conform to society’s beauty standards.

On top of the harmful message these products send, they can also be quite harsh on the skin. That’s especially the case for those containing hydroquinone, which you can read more about here. That being said, we’re proponents of gentle skin brightening products that won’t alter your skin tone, but rather, polish and illuminate it.

What Is Glutathione?

So, what exactly is glutathione? It’s actually a type of antioxidant made up of a tripeptide complex with three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. Glutathione is naturally created in our bodies by the liver. It plays a key role in functions like tissue building, protein synthesis, chemical production, and immune strengthening.

And while this fascinating compound has a wealth of medical uses, it’s also an exceptional skin care ingredient. As a potent, non-enzymatic antioxidant, glutathione occurs in the skin to defend against environmental damage. It does so by blocking the enzyme that triggers melanin production in the skin.

However, glutathione’s production naturally declines as we age, much like collagen. It’s believed that this decline in production contributes to the onset of visible aging. Luckily, glutathione can actually be applied topically. It’s even been shown to help fight hyperpigmentation. Let’s take a quick dive into the science behind glutathione skin care.

Can Glutathione Skin Care Help with Dark Spots?

As we briefly touched on before, glutathione is no stranger to the pharmaceutical industry. However, glutathione skin care is still a fairly new concept, with major studies only dating back to 2011. While there have been some inconclusive trials, there are some with promising results.

For instance, one 2016 review emphasized the results from three randomized trials, which demonstrated that glutathione was a safe substance that can reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

Meanwhile, a 2017 study from Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology concluded that a dilution of glutathione offered not only skin brightening benefits but helped with general anti-aging in the skin by smoothing wrinkles and promoting firmness.

Glutathione Skin Care Vs. Other Ingredients In Skin Care

While glutathione skin care isn’t talked about too much just yet, we predict we’re going to see it pop up a lot more this year. But of course, glutathione is not the only skin brightening ingredient on the market. So, if you can’t find a whole lot of products containing it just yet, don’t fret!

Good skin care happens all in good time. Until we see more glutathione skin care, here are some other ingredients that are sure to turn on the light in your skin.

Vitamin C
When we think of bright, dewy skin and how to get it, vitamin C is one of the first ingredients to come to mind. Vitamin C can help prevent the process of melanin production. It may even work well in tandem with glutathione. If you’re looking for a serious jumpstart to your vitamin C skin care, we offer a ton of options including our Vitamin C Serum, our Vitamin C Boost, and our Vitamin C Mask.

Retinol is one of the most thoroughly researched skin care ingredients on the market. It’s recommended by dermatologists for both anti-aging and acne.

Retinol works by encouraging cell turnover in the skin for a brighter, more vibrant complexion. It comes in a wide range of concentrations that can be obtained both over the counter or with a prescription. You can also find it in several of our products, including our Retinol Restorative Overnight Balm, our Retinol Restorative Neck Cream, and our Retinol PM Eye Cream.

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that plays an important role in cell metabolism. And, when used topically, it can disrupt the process of pigmentation in the cells, creating a brightening effect in the skin. If you’re looking to combat oil production and bring on the glow, our Niacinamide Boost fits seamlessly into any skin care routine.

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