Glutathione is a low molecular weight thiol tripeptide that plays an important role in maintaining intracellular redox balance. In addition to its remarkable antioxidant properties, the discovery of its anti-melanogenic properties has led to its use as a skin lightening agent. Glutathione exists in a reduced form (GSH) and an oxidized form (GSSG).
The sulfhydryl group of cysteine in glutathione is highly nucleophilic, so it is the main target structure for electrophiles stimulated by xenobiotics or their metabolites, thereby protecting the main nucleophilic site, while the latter If affected it can lead to cell damage. Once it reacts with organic oxidative metabolites, it can form easily metabolized and low-toxic compounds.
The level of intracellular glutathione is altered and decreased in many conditions such as malnutrition, various diseases, chemical poisoning and taking drugs. In animals and humans, glutathione has a protective effect on the cytotoxicity induced by many substances such as salicylic acid, organophosphate pesticides and alcohol.
Glutathione can reduce tyrosinase activity in three different ways. Tyrosinase is inhibited directly by chelation of copper sites by sulfhydryl groups. Second, glutathione interferes with the cellular transfer of tyrosinase to pre-melanosomes, a prerequisite for melanin synthesis. Third, the inhibition of tyrosinase is achieved indirectly through its antioxidant effect. Glutathione shifts melanogenesis from eumelanin to pheomelanin synthesis through the reaction between thiol and dopaquinone, resulting in the formation of thiol-dopa conjugates. Glutathione has powerful antioxidant capacity and has been shown to scavenge reactive oxygen species produced in epidermal cells induced by UV radiation.
The three main routes of administration of glutathione for skin lightening are topical (creams, face washes), oral (capsules and sublingual/buccal tablets) and intravenous.
*Special note - This article is for informational purposes only and cannot replace a doctor's treatment diagnosis and advice. It should not be regarded as a recommendation or proof of efficacy of the medical products involved. If it involves disease diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, please be sure to go to a professional medical institution to seek professional advice.