Can glutathione really make your skin whiter?

Glutathione is our body’s most powerful antioxidant, but not everybody knows this. Instead, it’s popular use to many is as a way to help whiten skin. Glutathione skin whitening is growing in popularity, helping people achieve the skin pigmentation they desire with no harmful side effects when taken in proper dosages. Administered either topically using a Glutathione cream or as a skin whitening pill.

Information about glutathione

I know that most of you probably know that glutathione is a tripeptide, which means it contains three amino acids namely L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and L-glycine. I’m not going to write a lot about glutathione’s history because I am more focused on its effect in skin whitening. For those of you who still wants to take glutathione pills, here’s what do you need to look for before purchasing it:

You have to look for the “reduced” glutathione form. The label or the ingredients panel should say “L-Glutathione.” For example, Royale L-Glutathione contain reduced glutathione form. Why do you need the reduced form? Because reduced means that this is the kind of glutathione that does not oxidize quickly after taking it. Oxidize or oxidation means that it loses its effectiveness after taking or using it. It’s important to keep in mind that glutathione does oxidize after taking it orally. But when you buy the “reduced” form, you’re basically taking the kind of pills that have a much better effect because it doesn’t lose its effectiveness right away after hitting your bloodstream unlike the regular form of glutathione.

What can you do to see the whitening results a lot faster

Take your glutathione pills with a high dose of Vitamin C. Since glutathione oxidizes, you need to take a “back up” supplement and your best choice is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a very good antioxidant and has a skin brightening effect as well. So you’re basically getting skin whitening plus skin brightening at the same time! You’re going to have a whiter and glowing skin just like a celeb in no time!

How much glutathione and Vitamin C should you take to make skin whiter

You have to take a minimum of 500 mg of glutathione per day to see skin whitening effect, however, I would take twice this amount of more due to the fact that it has the tendency to oxidize.

For example, if you’re taking 1000 mg of glutathione, you need to take twice the amount of Vitamin C. This means that if you’re taking 1000 mg of glutathione, then you must take 2000 mg of Vitamin C to guarantee skin whitening. I know it sounds a lot but don’t worry – this isn’t toxic. Why? Because Vitamin C and glutathione are both water soluble. There are no studies that shows Vitamin C or glutathione overdose.

Important reminder: This article is not a medical advice. Please consult your physician first before taking any kind of supplements.

There are many information online where personal experiences are being shared, and discussions are underway about how fast the effect can be achieved with oral glutathione and what the best dosages are.

Scientific results vary from person to person – glutathione skin whitening effect can be achieved anywhere between 1 month to 1 year of daily oral supplementation, suggested dosages are 500-1,000 mg/day. Oral glutathione is usually well tolerated because it is a small protein molecule most of which gets broken down during digestion.

[blockquote author=”Arjinpathana N, Asawanonda P.” link=”” target=”_blank”]Glutathione as an oral whitening agent: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study”, April 2012; 23(2):97-102, Journal of Dermatological Treatment. – Arjinpathana N, Asawanonda P.[/blockquote]

Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. This study is the first one to confirm the effect of oral glutathione skin whitening in general population.

In this study 60 healthy medical students from Bangkok were randomized to receive either glutathione capsules, 500 mg/day in two divided doses, or placebo for 4 weeks. The outcome of mean reduction of melanin indices was measured at six different sites on the body.

At 4 weeks, the melanin indices decreased consistently at all six sites in subjects who received glutathione. But the reductions were statistically significantly greater than in those receiving placebo only at two sites out of six: the right side of the face and the sun-exposed left forearm. There were no reported side effects from using oral glutathione in these prescribed dosages.

The research team concluded that “oral glutathione administration results in a lightening of skin color in a small number of subjects. However, long-term safety has not been established and warrants more extensive clinical trials”.

What is not clear from the results of this study though – whether this statistically significant decrease in melanin indices was only registered by medical equipment, or it was actually seen by the naked eye. Also, lightening of skin only on one half of the face cannot exactly be called a desirable result.
Some people go to the extremes of considering expensive glutathione injections or glutathione IV (intravenous administration) to whiten their skin because these methods provide faster results of delivering glutathione into the bloodstream than oral glutathione.

However, it is not advisable to use glutathione injections or IV to lighten the skin color. Administration of injections or IV requires skill and dosages are not clearly defined. One of the side effects may be whitening of hair because hair color is dependent on the amounts of melanin which appears to be decreased by oral or injectable glutathione. Not to mention possible infections, allergic reactions such as rashes, hives and skin swelling.

Glutathione Side Effects.

In addition, glutathione kits sold online may be contaminated and unsafe to use. Some of these are simply fake glutathione aimed at a gullible consumer. It is always better to be on a safe side and not endanger your health.