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Chemistry for the day: Kojic acid vs. Glutathione Vs. Collagen
Based on the title, the three mentioned compounds are among the most popular active components in a number of beauty products that are used both internally (as pills and supplements, I count IV drips as internal use) and externally (like soaps, creams, lotions, scrubs, etc.). Sure we use these a lot based on advertisements and even on reviews but then do we really know what they specifically do to our body and what other things they can contribute?
But first, what is the common enemy of these compounds? I'd like to introduce you to melanin. This is a pigment produced by the melanocytes found on the outer layer of your body. The more melanin on your body, the darker your skin, hair and eyes; and the more protected you are from the sun. This compound serves as the skin's protector from the sun but an excessive amount can lead to a condition called hyperpigmentation, but then on mild cases, it can just lead to the uneven skin color most people dislike seeing.
To remove those discolorations or uneven tones of skin, people make use of laser treatment or the inexpensive creams and treatments that contain these three active ingredients right here.
This one is probably the most used and could possibly be among the cheapest of the three when it comes to the market. For its sources, I saw a lot of box labels claiming that this acid was from fermented rice bran, the truth is, this compound can come from fungi and even soy sauce ferments.
About its use. Well, this one is only good for external use such as for soaps and for creams. It's not really meant to lighten your natural skin tone but is solely just for the purpose of reducing hyperpigmentation through and exfoliating mechanism, so if you're using this, you shouldn't really be expecting to get whiter, the most you can expect is that it will help you even out your skin tone.
Next up on the list is the ever popular glutathione which is used both internally and externally in so many forms which range from its pure self (pills and IV drips and serums) to the types that are in combination with other beauty products like soaps and lotions. But as for intake, the most suggested form to intake this is by the IV drips or by oral intake since this is the kind that works best internally and not externally. It only provides minimal effect on external use. This compound is a combination of three amino acids and the mechanism of how it works is actually quite interesting. You see, glutathione was meant to detoxify the liver and rid the body of free oxygen radicals (those which come from UV light exposure and in some cancer treatments), the whitening part on the skin is actually just a side effect that shows that your body is being detoxified and cleansed. Although it may show a whitening effect on a number of people, it will not always hold true all the time, same as kojic acid, it may not really whiten your skin that far from your natural skin tone
I talked a bit about this in my last chemistry post. Collagen is the protein structure that gives your body, muscles and joints their form and structure. It's the one responsible for your skins elasticity and also for your joint health. This is wrongly advertised as a whitening product when in fact, the most it can do for your skin is to improve the elasticity and firmness of the skin and muscles but definitely not to whiten. The usage of this works both internally and externally but then again, a number of studies suggest internal consumption since external application show that collagen is too large a compound to be effectively absorbed by the skin. Besides the skin it's also great for boosting your joint conditions, actually, as well as improve hair health.
So to sum it up, these products are advertised quite wrongly but they do provide multiple benefits for the body. Using them in synergy with each other is good but then it would be best to consult a dermatologist first if you plan to use these internally (don't try to ingest kojic acid-)
When I legit wrotw this for the sake of making my sister stop bugging me about her beauty products when they're basically all the same to me