Excessive secretion of thick sebum is the cause of many skin problems. It leads to clogging of the pores and disruption of the skin barrier, which results in open and closed comedones with accompanying redness of the skin, and finally, after the inflammation finally subsides, hyperpigmentation spots often remain, which are the most difficult to get rid of.
All these problems of oily skin are mostly reacted to and acted upon only after the problem has already appeared. Then the problem requires the use of aggressive ingredients that can further dry the skin, damage its barrier and cause irritation.
Preventive action is a new approach in the care of oily skin prone to acne, which tries to prevent problems before they even appear, so that there is no need for drastic measures and changes in the care routine. This is where a unique ingredient comes into play, as if it was created for the prevention of the complex problem of oily and mixed skin, and it is the revolutionary glycyrrhetinic acid that acts on the very source of the problem of excessive secretion of sebum - in the sebocytes.
WHAT ARE SELFISH?
Sebocytes are the cells in our skin responsible for the sebum production process called lipogenesis. Sebum (skin fat) is a desirable phenomenon in balanced conditions and a natural way for the skin to protect itself from drying out. However, different types of skin produce sebum with different characteristics, which is precisely the cause of problems for certain types. Namely, the sebocytes of normal skin produce light and airy sebum that does not clog pores, while in oily and mixed skin prone to comedones, the sebum is very thick and therefore impenetrable, which can significantly disrupt the balance of the skin itself.
WHY DOES THICK SEBUM FORM?
The cause is hidden in the sebocytes themselves. Among others, the enzyme ALOX5 is involved in the process of sebum production. The problem arises when this enzyme starts to stimulate the excessive formation of undesirable lipids that can cause inflammatory processes in the skin. The sebum that is then produced is very thick and airtight, and since it also contains the mentioned lipids, inflammations are easily possible, which creates ideal conditions for disrupting the balance of the skin barrier and the formation of comedones.
CAN IT INFLUENCE THE SECRETION OF THICK SEBUM?
Very much! The solution lies in the prevention of the formation of undesirable lipids. Precisely glycyrrhetinic acid acts on the mentioned enzyme, ALOX5. By reducing its activity, it has a preventive and anti-inflammatory effect.
WHAT ACTUALLY IS GLYCIRETINIC ACID?
You may have already met her without even knowing it. Licorice, a perennial plant widespread in the Mediterranean area, which is known worldwide for its extremely sweet root and medicinal properties, is a very popular ingredient in the care of skin prone to irregularities and hyperpigmentation. However, it is less known that glycyrrhetinic acid is the most active compound obtained from licorice root. By isolating only it, we can target the specific problems of oily and mixed skin.
HOW DOES GLYCIRETINIC ACID WORK?
In order to get the best out of licorice extract, we use glycyrrhetinic acid, which provides as many as four excellent effects for the proper care and balance of oily and mixed skin:
reduces sebum secretion by inhibiting the activity of the ALOX5 enzyme responsible for lipogenesis in sebocytes (1,2), thereby reducing the formation of undesirable lipids that promote inflammatory processes
by reducing the synthesis of undesirable lipids, it prevents inflammation, which can result in hyperpigmentation spots
reduces the synthesis of melanin(2,3) (skin pigment), which additionally helps in the fight against hyperpigmentation spots that arise as a result of comedones and inflammation
(1) Sinha, Priyam, et al. "New perspectives on antiacne plant drugs: contribution to modern therapeutics." BioMed research international 2014 (2014).
(2) Kowalska, A., and U. Kalinowska‐Lis. "18β-Glycyrrhetinic acid: its core biological properties and dermatological applications." International journal of cosmetic science 41.4 (2019): 325-331.
(3) Gendler, Ellen C. "Treatment of periorbital hyperpigmentation." Aesthetic surgery journal 25.6 (2005): 618-624.