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Dermatology Diaries

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Skin Whitening - Glutathione

Skin whitening injections
Snow White - The Iconic White Skinned Fairytale Princess

In all Asian countries including India, a light skin tone is often equated with beautiful skin. I personally believe that a healthy, clear, even toned skin is truly beautiful. For me and several others the colour of the skin does not matter. But wanting to have a light skin, I feel is a personal choice that requires due respect.

The skin lightening or whitening 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 skin whitening 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 delhi
Did Beyonce whiten her skin? 
Glutathione or GSH 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?
Injections 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 Dermatology 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 Dermatologist who is well versed with the treatment protocol.

Few words of caution!
  • Always have your skin lightening treatment done from a Dermatologist who is well versed with the treatment procedure/ protocol.
  • Trust only that glutathione which is dispensed by a Dermatologist who is already providing the treatment.
  • With the increase in demand in India, fake Glutathione is being rampantly advertised and sold.
  • Buying from agents is a strict no-no.
  • Most of the glutathione that is freely available is of poor quality or concentration and is essentially a waste of precious time and money.  

My advice to all those seeking to lighten their skin 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 Niketa
glutathione skin whitening delhi

Skin lightening treatment - Glutathione injections - Skin Whitening
Dr Niketa - Dermatologist - Skin and Hair Specialist - New Delhi