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Glutathione, often referred to as the "master antioxidant," has recently gained traction in the realm of skincare due to its potential benefits. 

But what exactly is glutathione? Glutathione, according to the National Cancer Institute, is a tripeptide composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. 

It plays a crucial role in protecting cells from oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals, thereby contributing to overall skin health, as noted by LIVGLAM Center for Advanced Aesthetics.

According to WebMD, glutathione is naturally produced by the body. It can also be found in certain foods such as fruits, vegetables, and meat. However, its levels can diminish due to factors like aging, poor diet, pollution, and stress, leading to an increased interest in its supplementation for skincare purposes.

Benefits of glutathione in skincare

The potential benefits of glutathione for skincare are multifaceted and have garnered attention from both dermatologists and skincare enthusiasts alike.

1. Brightening skin tone

Glutathione is renowned for its skin-brightening properties. Research published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology suggests that glutathione's ability to lighten skin results from both directly and indirectly inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme and promoting a switch from producing eumelanin to phaeomelanin. 

Eumelanin is a type of melanin that produces darker pigments, while phaeomelanin produces lighter pigments. This means that glutathione can result in a brighter, more even complexion over time.

2. Antioxidant protection

As an antioxidant, glutathione plays a vital role in neutralizing free radicals that can wreak havoc on the skin, according to Ultimate Image Cosmetic Medical Center.

By scavenging these harmful molecules, glutathione helps prevent oxidative stress and premature aging, keeping the skin looking youthful and radiant.

3. Detoxification

Dr. David Jack noted that another key function of glutathione is detoxification. It aids in the removal of toxins and pollutants from the body, which can have a positive impact on skin health. By supporting the body's natural detoxification processes, glutathione promotes clearer, healthier-looking skin.

Side effects of glutathione

While glutathione offers numerous potential benefits for skincare, it's essential to be aware of possible side effects.

1. Skin sensitivity

Some individuals may experience increased skin sensitivity or irritation when using glutathione-based skincare products, as per Healthnews

This sensitivity can manifest as redness, itching, or a burning sensation. It's advisable to perform a patch test before incorporating glutathione into your skincare routine and to discontinue use if adverse reactions occur.

2. Upset stomach

In some cases and if taken in high dosages, oral supplementation of glutathione may cause an upset stomach, including abdominal cramps, bloating, or diarrhea. These symptoms are typically mild and transient but may warrant discontinuation of glutathione supplements if they persist.

It's best to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating glutathione into your skincare routine to ensure it's suitable for your individual needs and health status.