Skin and Beauty

Role of Glutathione - a Skin Lightening Agent in Dermatology

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

22 Jul 2019  -  2 min read

Abstract

Abstract

Glutathione, an antioxidant, is produced by the body and helps reduce the effects of aging, stress, and as a skin lightening agent. Read the article to know more.

Role of Glutathione - a Skin Lightening Agent in Dermatology

Everyone wants fairer skin complexion, because skin color plays an important role in sociosexual communication. It is a universal desire to retain a flawless fair skin. To attain this, individuals are seeking faster and most effective ways for getting lighter skin tone.

There are many products available over-the-counter like Hydroquinone, vitamin C serum, vitamin E, Niacinamide (Nicotinamide), glycolic acid, arbutin, Kojic acid and a few new products like pycnogenol, marine algae extracts, soy, Boswellia, etc. All are used in the form of local application. These products have variable effects from person to person. As systemic skin lightening agents various products are tried like l-cysteine peptide, Tranexamic acid, different plant extracts. But, glutathione has become more popular due to its fastest skin lightening action and also, because of wide social media coverage.

What Is Glutathione?

Glutathione is a peptide derived from three amino acids glutamate, cysteine and glycine. It is a known antioxidant and detoxifies xenobiotics. Its skin lightening effect was detected incidentally. Skin lightening was noticed in a patient as a side effect of large doses of glutathione, which was given for some other disease and then onwards, it has become more popular as a skin lightening agent.

How Does It Work as a Skin Lightening Agent?

Tyrosinase is an enzyme, which helps in melanin synthesis (melanin is a pigment, which decides color of skin). Glutathione inhibits this enzyme, so less melanin is produced and skin becomes light. Besides this, it also switches production of eumelanin (produce dark brown color) to pheomelanin (produce yellow-red color), which leads to lightening of skin.

Natural Sources of Glutathione

Natural sources like tomato, orange, walnuts, whey protein, fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables are rich in glutathione.

Availability of Glutathione

Various formulations like topical, oral and injectable forms are available.

1) Topical Formulation:

For local application like face wash cream, chemical peels containing glutathione are available. Use of these products show significant improvement in skin complexion.

2) Oral Formulation:

Oral preparations like tablet and solution forms are also available. The tablet if taken sublingual the absorption will be better and requires lower doses.

The required dose is 20 to 40 mg per kg body weight that is 1 g to 2 g per day in two divided doses. The effects become visible within four weeks and the significant effects may need maximum three months. Depending on the skin color, like medium brown skin requires one to three months and dark skin requires more than 2 years of treatment. After attaining desired skin color, maintenance dose of 500 mg per day for a longer duration is suggested

3) Injectable Formulation:

The intravenous dose recommended is 600 -1200 mg once or twice in a week, but various adverse effects are reported with the intravenous route due to the possibilities of overdose toxicities or may be due to additives present in glutathione injections.

Adverse Effects

Oral preparation has been recognized safe by FDA, but intravenous preparation can cause various adverse effects. The adverse effects reported with intravenous routes are thyroid dysfunction, kidney dysfunction and severe abdominal pain. The other adverse effects due to long-term high dose of glutathione supplements include lightening of hair color, light colored patches over the body and increased incidence of peptic ulceration.

For further knowledge about skin lightening agents, consult a cosmetologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/cosmetologist

Last reviewed at:
22 Jul 2019  -  2 min read

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Related Questions & Answers


How safe is it to use Glutathione capsules to improve skin complexion?

Query: Hello doctor, Is it safe to use Glutathione pills for skin whitening?  Read Full >>


Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. Glutathione is used as a health supplement. It has good antioxidant properties. It prevents aging changes. It improves the immune system of the body. It is safe for adults of all age groups. Avoid intake of Glutathione pills if you develop sensitivity to it.  Read Full

Will Kojivit cream and Clearmin soap help improve my skin tone?

Query: Hi doctor, I am a 26 year old female. My face tone looks uneven and very dull. Can I use Kojivit gel to improve my skin tone along with clearmin soap? Is clearmin soap good? Or please suggest any other soap.  Read Full >>


Dr. Sugandh Garg
Internal Medicine Physician

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. You may continue the use of Kojivit gel, which has Kojic acid. However, I would recommend you to replace Kojivit gel with Vitamin-C based creams. The soap you have mentioned is fine, but make sure you are following a good facial routine, which means cleansing, toning, a...  Read Full

How can I remove dark patches due to jock itch?

Query: Hello doctor, I had jock itch six years ago over the groin area and lower abdomen. It was completely cured then but has left dark patches. I have been suggested by a dermatologist to use Glycolic acid 6 % cream, which does not seem to be working. Suggest an effective ointment to clear the dark patc...  Read Full >>


Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. Infections of the skin usually heal with hyperpigmentation. This post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is tough to resolve and would take years to go completely. However, creams containing Kojic acid do help to quicken the recovery twice daily for three months. For more ...  Read Full

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