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Int J Cosmet Sci. 2005 Jun;27(3):147-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2494.2005.00235.x.

Glutathione as a depigmenting agent: an overview.

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  • 1School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA. issavilla@hotmail.com

Abstract

Glutathione is an ubiquitous compound found in our bodies. Aside from its many ascribed biologic functions, it has also been implicated in skin lightening. We review in vitro and in vivo studies that show evidence of its involvement in the melanogenic pathway and shed light on the its anti-melanogenic effect. Proposed mechanisms of action include: (a) direct inactivation of the enzyme tyrosinase by binding with the copper-containing active site of the enzyme; (b) mediating the switch mechanism from eumelanin to phaeomelanin production; (c) quenching of free radicals and peroxides that contribute to tyrosinase activation and melanin formation; and d) modulation of depigmenting abilities of melanocytotoxic agents. These concepts supported by the various experimental evidence presented form basis for future research in the use of glutathione in the treatment of pigmentary disorders.

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