The Insider’s Guide To Glutathione For Skin Rejuvenation

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Your skin is affected by free radicals and other detrimental environmental toxins on daily basis. This combined with the unavoidable effects of ageing pose a serious threat to the health of your skin. Fortunately, there are natural ingredients such as Glutathione which can help you in the quest of keeping your skin youthful and healthy.

During the past few years, there has been an increase in the interest of using antioxidants in skincare products. Nearly every new cream, lotion or serum that comes up in the market seems to enlist at least one anti-ageing benefit of anti-oxidants. One such anti-oxidant which has got much attention in the recent years is ‘Glutathione’.

Glutathione is a natural and most powerful antioxidant found in our bodies and is often referred to as ‘master anti-oxidant’. Though the name may sound something like a beauty product but it has multiple benefits for your skin’s health. It works from inside out to keep your skin in a tip top condition that shines and glow with a brighter and lighter complexion .

What is glutathione?

Glutathione (GSH) also known as L-Glutathione, L-gammaglutamyl or L-cysteinylglycine is the most important and abundant antioxidant found in almost every cell of the human body. This tripeptide is composed of following three amino acids:

•    Cysteine
•    Glycine
•    Glutamic acid

[1] Fumiko Watanabe,Erika Hashizume, Gertrude P Chan,Ayako Kamimura. Skin-whitening and skin-condition-improving effects of topical oxidized glutathione: a double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trial in healthy women. 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 267—274

Technically speaking, it is a protein that is manufactured and produced in the liver where it assists bile in filtering and detoxifying the harmful toxins and waste from the body. It is involved in the maintenance of various body functions including cytochrome P450 reactions, amino acid transport, metabolism of iron, synthesis and repair of DNA, regulation of nitric oxide cycle, protein synthesis, prostaglandin, leukotriene synthesis and various other intracellular functions. This means that deletion of glutathione has an adverse effect on many body functions .

The function it performs in the body includes:

•    Maintaining  and recycling of Vitamin C and E
•    Monitoring the production of hydrogen peroxide
•    Neutralisation of lipid peroxides; the breakdown that is found in the cells membranes
•    Controls inflammation
•    As the body’s primary anti-oxidant, it acts as a master detoxifier
•    Breaks down oxidised fats to strengthen the body’s immune system
•    It destroys free radicals in the body which results in recycling antioxidants
•    It helps to reproduce other glutathione molecules in order to increase and boost body’s immunity.
•    Prevents and reverse the ageing process.
•    Protects skin against the oxidative damage that causes wrinkles and lines .
•    It is a powerful anti-ageing ingredient.
•    It has a positive side effect in the form of skin brightening and whitening.

Glutathione possess a remarkable capability of stopping and even reversing the damage caused to the body by free radicals. It lowers the levels of cystine on the surface of the protein and protects the body from the effect of free radicals. It also helps in manufacturing as well as repairing of DNA while facilitating the recycling of Vitamin E and C. It helps in impairing the build up of platinum inside your kidneys, helps in transporting amino acids and plays a crucial role in purging the toxic compounds such as heavy metals from your body. As it detoxifies your

[1] Scholz, RW, Graham KS, Gumpricht E, Reddy CC, Mechanism of interaction of vitamin E and glutathione in the protection against membrane lipid peroxidation Ann NY Acad Sci (1989) 570 pp.514–517


body, it lowers the risk of cancer development. It not just slows down but can reverse the ageing process.

Foods rich in glutathione

There are many natural foods that are rich in glutathione. Some of these include potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onion, broccoli, apples, grapefruit, eggs, cheese, garlic, turmeric, red meat etc. However, the levels of glutathione production decrease with increase in age and it is also used up quickly due to greater exposure to the toxins. Therefore, who wants to maintain a younger and healthy skin, it is necessary to externally replenish glutathione or take it internally.

Effects of intrinsic and extrinsic ageing

As we age, changes in hormonal levels of the body cause intrinsic ageing while the environmental factors especially UV radiations cause extrinsic ageing .

The intrinsic ageing causes epidermal thinning, reduction in the matrix of connective tissues and sebaceous glands. This is why, even without exposure to UV radiations, the effects of ageing makes the skin thinner, paler with more wrinkles and drier.

The exposure to UV radiations is primarily responsible for extrinsic ageing. It induces Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) production in the skin . The ROS activates a cascade of reactions in molecules which results in damage of collagen, proteoglycans, elastin and other cellular dermal structures . This skin damage induced by ROS gives a dry, dull, wrinkled and unevenly pigmented appearance to the skin . The process of melanogenesis is also triggered by UV radiations which result in darker skin tone and pigment formation.

Glutathione, being a powerful anti-oxidant, provides protection to the skin against photoageing induced by UV radiations. It destroys ROS hence stopping their devastating cascade activities.

[1] El-Domyati M, Attia S, Saleh F et al. Intrinsic aging vs photoaging: a comparative histopathological, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural study of skin. Exp Dermatol 2002; 11(5): 398–405

Gilchrest BA. A review of skin ageing and its medical therapy. Br J Dermatol 1996; 135(6): 867–875

[1] Farris PK. Cosmetical Vitamins: Vitamin C. In: Draelos ZD, Dover JS, Alam M, editors Cosmeceuticals. Procedures in Cosmetic Dermatology. 2nd ed. New York: Saunders Elsevier; 2009 pp 51–6

[1] Traikovich SS. Use of Topical Ascorbic acid and its effects on Photo damaged skin topography. Arch Otorhinol Head Neck Surg 1999; 125: 1091–8

[1] Masaki H. Role of antioxidants in the skin: anti-aging effects. J Dermatol Sci 2010; 58(2): 85–90

GSH also helps in skin whitening by inhibiting the process of melanogenesis which is triggered by UV radiations .

How does glutathione works for skin lightening?

Melanin is a colour pigment of the skin which determines its colour. It is of three types:

I.    Eumelanin: it is the most common type of melanin that is mostly present in people with brown and black complexions.

II.    Pheomelanin: the red pigmentation is due to this type of melanin. It causes red hair, freckles etc.

III.    Neuromelanin: It is abundantly found in the brain and its exact function is not known yet.

The primary function of melanin is to protect the skin from the UV sun rays when exposed to sunlight. The presence of melanin provides protection against skin cancer. Glutathione works by turning the eumelanin into pheomelanin which lightens skin colour.

It works from inside out taking effect first on the dermis then on the epidermis skin layers. This is the reason that it’s highly effective as a skin lightening ingredient and is used in various skin lightening products and skin peel facial rejuvenation treatments.

In addition to skin lightening, glutathione has other benefits for the skin including the following:
•    It improves excess skin pigmentation.
•    It helps in controlling acne and reduces acne marks.
•    It helps in refining skin pores
•    It makes skin clear, smooth and radiant.
•    It helps in reversing the effects of ageing .

[1] Arjinpathana N, Asawanonda P. Glutathione as an oral whitening agent: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Dermatolog Treat 2012; 23(2): 97–102

Jara JR, Aroca P, Solano F, Martinez JH, Lozano JA. The role of sulfhydryl compounds in mammalian melanogenesis: the effect of cysteine and glutathione upon tyrosinase and the intermediates of the pathway. Biochim Biophys Acta 1988; 967(2): 296–303

Villarama CD, Maibach HI. Glutathione as a depigmenting agent: an overview. Int J Cosmet Sci 2005; 27(3): 147–153

•    In help in eliminating age spots, dark or brown spots, solar lentigines, lines and wrinkles and dark circles around the eyes.
•    It removes heavy toxic metals from the body such as mercury and lead.

The levels of glutathione slowly drop by 8%-12% every 10 years from the age of 20 onwards . Among ageing individuals, the declining levels of glutathione accelerates the process of ageing .

Use of glutathione in skin peel treatment

Glutathione has been extensively used in Japan, Thailand and Philippines in numerous skincare products while there are very few products available in the UK. The multiple beneficial effects of glutathione for skin including its anti-ageing action, the effect on sun-damaged skin and reduction of hyperpigmentation through its action on production of melanin makes it a potential ingredient of anti-ageing skincare products especially for those who are concerned with skin ageing, colour and pigmentation issues.

Another way of delivering glutathione is its use in skin peel London treatment in which it is combined with other active and potent skin rejuvenating ingredients to deliver maximum efficacy for the skin. The skin peel treatment of CosmeDocs skin peel clinic combines the powerful natural peeling acids and extracts with glutathione to resurface the skin’s dermis layers and homogenise the tone of skin. This combination of self-neutralising skin peel treatment blended with glutathione allows deeper penetration of glutathione into the stratum basale and spinosum of the skin where it targets melanocytes to lighten and brighten the skin tone and complexion. To have more information about skin peel treatment kindly visit

Bottom line

Glutathione is the only intracellular and most powerful antioxidant that exists in almost every cell of the body. The sufficient levels of glutathione in the body increase immunity, provides defence against oxidative stress, free radicals and reverse the process of ageing. As it is produced in the liver in the largest quantity, it removes the toxins from the body and detoxifies the body



from the heavy metal toxins. The use of glutathione in skin peel facial treatment significantly improves skin complexion and tone making it healthy, fresh and bright.


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