Is glutathione the most effective way of skin whitening?
Glutathione is an antioxidant naturally occurring in the body and protects cells from damage caused by free radicals and toxins. In recent years, glutathione has gained popularity as a skin-lightening agent due to its ability to inhibit melanin production, the pigment that gives skin its colour.
Some evidence suggests that glutathione skin whitening may be effective. A 2018 review article published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that glutathione may be an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation and skin whitening.
Skin whitening treatments: What are they and how do they work?
Before evaluating the effectiveness of glutathione for fairness and skin whitening, let's have a look at the other treatments available for it.
Skin whitening, also known as skin lightening or skin bleaching, is the process that reduces melanin content in the skin, giving you a fairer skin tone. Several factors, including genetics, sun exposure, and certain medical conditions can influence melanin production.
Several common skin whitening treatments are available, each working differently and having varying effectiveness, potential risks, and side effects. The most commonly used treatments for skin whitening are:
- Topical creams: Topical creams containing ingredients such as hydroquinone, kojic acid, or arbutin are commonly used for skin whitening. These ingredients work by preventing the production of melanin in the skin. However, prolonged use of these creams can lead to potential side effects such as skin irritation, redness, and thinning of the skin.
- Chemical peels: This procedure involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin to remove the topmost skin cells, revealing brighter, more even-toned skin underneath. Some chemical peels, such as those containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) can effectively whiten skin. However, these treatments can also be harsh on the skin and may cause redness, peeling, and sensitivity.
- Laser treatments: Laser treatments for skin whitening involve the use of specialised lasers to target and break down melanin in the skin. These treatments can effectively reduce skin pigmentation, but they can also be expensive and may require multiple sessions to achieve the desired results. Laser treatments can also carry potential risks such as skin irritation, scarring, and hyperpigmentation.
- Carbon Facial: This procedure is called Hollywood facial and combines laser technology with activated carbon. Carbon facial promotes skin rejuvenation and causes the skin pigment to lighten, instantly giving you smooth radiance with zero downtime.
- Mesotherapy: This skin whitening treatment uses a combination of vitamin C, glutathione and other antioxidants, which are injected into the skin using microneedles, microinjections, or electroporation.
How Does Glutathione Affect Skin Pigmentation?
Glutathione is crucial in various physiological processes, including DNA synthesis, protein synthesis, metabolism, and maintaining healthy skin. It may help reduce skin pigmentation by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme tyrosinase, which plays a role in melanin production.
Melanin is produced by melanocytes. These specialised cells in the skin produce and distribute melanin to the surrounding skin cells. Tyrosinase is an enzyme that is involved in the production of melanin, and glutathione has been shown to inhibit the activity of tyrosinase, which can help to reduce the production of melanin.
Besides inhibiting tyrosinase, glutathione also helps prevent the formation of melanin by scavenging free radicals and reducing oxidative stress in the skin. Oxidative stress can produce excess melanin, so reducing oxidative stress can help prevent the formation of dark spots and other forms of hyperpigmentation.
While more research is needed to understand how glutathione affects skin pigmentation, it appears to have potential as a natural skin-lightening agent. However, it is important to note that glutathione skin whitening treatment may not suit everyone.
You must always consult your dermatologist before starting any new supplement regimen.
Glutathione and skin whitening: What is the relationship?
In the past decade, there have been many claims about glutathione being an effective skin-whitening agent that can lighten dark spots, even out skin tone, and improve skin complexion.
The claim is based on the fact that glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that inhibits melanin production. By doing so, glutathione is believed to help lighten skin tone and make it appear brighter and more radiant.
There is some evidence to support that glutathione can lighten skin tone. Most studies on glutathione's effects on skin whitening have been performed on animals or in the laboratory. So, while they show promising results so far, whether this effect translates to humans, needs more research to answer.
A few human studies have investigated the effects of glutathione on skin whitening. However, the studies are generally small, have limited follow-up periods, lack rigorous controls, and not much is known about glutathione dosage for skin whitening.
Are There Risks and Side Effects of Using glutathione for skin whitening?
Glutathione is generally considered safe when taken in appropriately low doses. However, some people may experience mild side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhoea, and allergic reactions.
The long-term effects of taking glutathione supplements are unknown, and there is concern that high doses of glutathione may cause adverse effects such as liver damage, kidney damage, and even skin cancer.
Glutathione supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet. So whether they are safe, effective, or contain the stated amount of active ingredient is unclear.
Which is best: Glutathione or Other Skin Whitening Treatments?
While glutathione skin whitening and other procedures have benefits, they also have drawbacks.
Pros and Cons of Glutathione
Glutathione is available as an oral supplement or in topical form for skin whitening purposes. Intravenous or parenteral administration of glutathione is also used.
Here are the pros and cons of glutathione skin whitening treatment:
- It is a natural substance already present in the body, so it is generally considered safe when taken in low doses.
- It helps to brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation.
- It can also help to boost the immune system and improve overall health.
- It can be expensive if used for an extended period.
- It can take time to see results, and some people may not experience any noticeable changes.
- There is limited scientific evidence to support its effectiveness as a skin whitening treatment.
Pros and Cons of Other Skin Whitening Treatments
Other skin whitening treatments include topical creams, chemical peels, laser therapy, and microdermabrasion. Here are the pros and cons of other skin whitening treatments:
- Some treatments can produce rapid results, with skin appearing lighter and more even in just a few sessions.
- They can be more affordable than glutathione supplements or injections.
- The amount of scientific evidence that supports the safety and efficacy of non-glutathione skin-whitening treatments is higher than those available for glutathione treatments.
- Few skin whitening procedures may cause pain or discomfort in some people.
- Some treatments may cause scarring.
- You may require downtime after some skin whitening procedures.
- Some treatments can be harsh on the skin and cause irritation or sensitivity
Based on the available evidence, it is difficult to say which is the best option- glutathione skin whitening treatment or other pigmentation removal treatments. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and the effectiveness of each treatment will depend on the individual's skin type, lifestyle, and budget.
It would be best to consult a dermatologist or a healthcare professional before starting any skin whitening treatment. Also, remember that your skin colour is unique and the results of the prescribed treatment may vary.
CTA: UnCover provides a variety of skin whitening or pigmentation removal treatments, that also include mesotherapy, a procedure where a combination of vitamin C, antioxidants, and glutathione is injected into the skin through needling, electroporation, or microinjection.
If you wish to get more information about skin whitening procedures, explore our range of treatments on our website. Pigmentation removal treatments start at Rs. 3000 for a 30-minute session. You may book a free consultation with one of our experienced and highly qualified dermatologists, who will assess your skin type and your condition, and suggest the best treatment suited to your needs. Visit your nearest UnCover clinic right away!