Cosmeceutical Critique



Possible skin whitening and anti-aging roles and other promising lab results

Based on their previous work demonstrating that azelaic acid, a saturated dicarboxylic acid found naturally in wheat, rye, and barley, suppressed melanogenesis, Yu and Kim investigated the antimelanogenic activity of azelaic acid and taurine in B16F10 mouse melanoma cells in 2010. They found that the combination of the two substances exhibited a greater inhibitory effect in melanocytes than azelaic acid alone, with melanin production and tyrosinase activity suppressed without inducing cytotoxicity. The investigators concluded the combination of azelaic acid and taurine may be an effective approach for treating hyperpigmentation.10

In 2015, Ito et al. investigated the possible anti-aging role of taurine using a taurine transporter knockout mouse model. They noted that aging-related disorders affecting the skin, heart, skeletal muscle, and liver and resulting in a shorter lifespan have been correlated with tissue taurine depletion. The researchers proposed that proper protein folding allows endogenous taurine to perform as an antiaging molecule.5

Also in 2015, Kim et al. investigated potential mechanisms of the antiproliferative activity of taurine on murine B16F10 melanoma cells via the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) and neutral red assays and microscopic analysis. They found that taurine prevented cell proliferation and engendered apoptosis in B16F10 cells, concluding that taurine may have a role to play as a chemotherapeutic agent for skin cancer.11

In 2014, Ashkani-Esfahani et al. studied the impact of taurine on cutaneous leishmaniasis wounds in a mouse model. Investigators induced 18 mice with wounds using L. major promastigotes, and divided them into a taurine injection group, taurine gel group, and no treatment group, performing treatments every 24 hours over 21 days. The taurine treatment groups exhibited significantly greater numerical fibroblast density, collagen bundle volume density, and vessel length densities compared with the nontreatment group. The taurine injection group displayed higher fibroblast numerical density than did the taurine gel group. The researchers concluded that taurine has the capacity to enhance wound healing and tissue regeneration but showed no direct anti-leishmaniasis effect.4


Taurine has been found over the last few decades to impart salutary effects for human health. This beta-amino acid that occurs naturally in humans and other mammals also appears to hold promising potential in the dermatologic realm, particularly for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. More research is needed to ascertain just how pivotal this compound can be for skin health.

Dr. Leslie S. Baumann, a dermatologist, researcher, author, and entrepreneur who practices in Miami.

Dr. Leslie S. Baumann

Dr. Baumann is a private practice dermatologist, researcher, author and entrepreneur who practices in Miami. She founded the Cosmetic Dermatology Center at the University of Miami in 1997. Dr. Baumann wrote two textbooks: “Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice” (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2002), and “Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients,” (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014), and a New York Times Best Sellers book for consumers, “The Skin Type Solution” (New York: Bantam Dell, 2006). Dr. Baumann has received funding for advisory boards and/or clinical research trials from Allergan, Evolus, Galderma, and Revance. She is the founder and CEO of Skin Type Solutions Franchise Systems LLC. Write to her at

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