Have Sun Spots, Dark Patches of Skin? Glucosamine Holds the Key to Reducing Hyperpigmentation

Are you starting to notice signs of skin aging? Years of fun in the sun or accumulated routine UV exposure eventually catches up with us, but there’s help available. Permanent skin changes such as darkened patches, sun spots and fine lines are likely the result of accumulated sun exposure.

Chronic UV exposure can damage melanocytes, the cells in the skin that are responsible for producing melanin (gives skin its color). One form of sun damage involves the triggering of melanocytes to increase melanin production, which eventually leads to age spots, discolored patches, and uneven skin tone.

Glucosamine is a natural substance produced in the body that plays a key role in building healthy cartilage, and is found in the joints of bones. It is commonly ingested in the form of supplements to treat arthritis. There are no major forms of glucosamine found in foods, so it must be taken in the form of an oral supplement.

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Research has indicated that glucosamine may prevent new signs of skin changes from occurring, and even fade existing blemishes by interrupting the chemical signals that promote melanin production. Studies have shown that glucosamine can penetrate the top 10 layers of the skin and help to reverse the appearance of past damage, such as age spots, liver spots, and freckles.

The more stable form of this compound is called n-acetyl glucosamine, which in combination with niacinamide (a form of vitamin B), may even out skin tone by slowing down the production of pigment in the skin. In an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, left-right randomized, split-face clinical test, topical 2% n-acetyl glucosamine reduced the appearance of facial hyperpigmentation. In a second clinical study involving the topical combination of 2% n-acetyl glucosamine with 4% niacinamide, an agent previously shown to be clinically active, the effect on hyperpigmentation was greater. Both of these agents are well tolerated by the skin.

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This high tolerance coupled with relative ease of formulation and stability in solution make n-acetyl glucosamine, especially in combination with niacinamide, a suitable cosmetic ingredient for use in skin care products dealing with issues of age spots, sun spots and skin hyperpigmentation.

In addition to taking glucosamine, regular sunscreen use or application of a daily minimum SPF15 moisturizer can help to limit the formation of further discoloration. During the summer, try using a light moisturizing lotion that provides broad spectrum UV protection to guard against both sunburn and sun damage to your skin. Following these simple tips will help preserve the natural beauty of your skin for years to come.