The skin whitening injection trend is maximally prevalent in the South East Asian countries. In Japan, the rituals of the Geishas have been a long guarded secret and ‘Bihaku’ or ‘white’ skin is regarded as most beautiful. Philippines is the world’s largest consumer of Glutathione supplements for the skin whitening injection and the trend is now spreading to the USA with likes of Beyonce and Rihanna being in the paparazzi for their alleged skin whitening.

What is Glutathione?
Glutathione or GSH or the skin whitening injection is a compound consisting of 3 amino acids (simple proteins) that is constantly required by the body. It is synthesized by all the cells in the body, including the skin. Common food sources are asparagus, watermelon, avocado, fresh vegetables, etc.

What does Glutathione do?
Glutathione is the master antioxidant of the body. It is responsible for the detoxification process, recycling and optimum usage of other antioxidants such as vitamin A,C and E. It works in maintaining each cell in optimum health.

What is Glutathione used for?
Glutathione pills and injections are most commonly used in Alzehmier’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Autism, various poisonings, cancer, HIV, allergies, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, hepatitis, liver dysfunction and several other such conditions. In the South East Asian countries however, Glutathione injections and tablets are more popular for their skin whitening effect.

How does Glutathione skin whitening work?

Glutathione when taken orally or via injections has a skin lightening and detoxifying effect.

Glutathione inhibits the action of an enzyme called tyrosinase in the skin.
This enzyme is responsible for production of melanin; a pigment that gives the skin its characteristic colour; more the melanin content and dispersion in the skin, darker will be the skin tone.
Less tyrosinase activity means reduced melanin synthesis and a lighter skin tone
How much time does skin whitening require?

The time required for visible skin lightening depends on several factors. Some of them are:

overall health and immunity of the patient
general lifestyle, smoking and alcohol consumption levels
pre-existing liver and other compromised states
genetic colour of the skin
mode of treatment pills vs. IV injections
the final skin colour desired
Is there a difference between tablet and injection treatment?
The skin whitening injection are used for the initial skin lightening purpose. This takes about 1-2 months. Once the desired results are achieved then tablets are used for maintenance. In my clinical practice I have observed that lightening the skin with tablets alone is extremely difficult and gives poor results.

Is skin lightening with glutathione a new treatment?
Glutathione skin whitening treatment is extremely popular in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore where it has been present since a very long time. In these countries this procedure is available in most plastic surgery clinics. Till recently this procedure was a well guarded secret of the porcelain white Japanese and Asian skin. It was unknown and unavailable to the rest of the world including India.

How safe is this treatment?
Glutathione treatment is absolutely safe and effective if done by a plastic surgeon who is well versed with the treatment protocol.

My advice to all those seeking to lighten their skin with the skin whitening injection is, please do not self medicate. Simply consuming glutathione and other such supplements or applying cosmetic fairness creams is not going to lead to skin whitening. The actual treatment is much more complex than that. If you are interested in a treatment that actually works, start saving your money because skin whitening treatments do not come cheap!

Keep looking beautiful.

Dr. Yawar | Consultant Plastic Cosmetic Hair Transplant Surgeon