Hello Friends, Nowadays, I am getting a lot of quarries about skin whitening treatment. Some of them are just curious and few are very serious to take this therapy. Interestingly, they give references of Kajol and Shilpa Shetty, really I don’t know what kind of treatment they have taken. Before starting this article I want to say that skin colour is not considered as a part of your beauty. So I never strongly recommend glutathione therapy. I love to treat with time tasted therapies like medicines, chemical peels and some advanced therapies like Laser toning. I compiled all queries and trying to give answers which my best of knowledge.
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione is basically a powerful anti-oxidant which present in our body. Its main function is to neutralize free radicals, toxins and oxidants. From the long term, it is being used by other medical specialities for different diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, cardiovascular diseases, lungs and some liver diseases. Interestingly, people found that patients receiving glutathione therapy were becoming fairer, and this concept was taken by dermatologists. A trial therapy was started in some persons who wanted to become fairer.
What are the formulations of Glutathione available in the market?
There are three formulations available of glutathione·
- Injection - these are coming from 600mg to 16,500mg
- Tablets – 300mg to 1200mg
- Chewables/ lozenges – chewable tablets 300mg to 600mg
How many treatments/sessions will I need?
It has been seen that the tablets formulation of glutathione is not much effective because the absorption in the gut is varied from person to person. the absorption is only 20-50% of the dose. So intravenous injections are more popular than tablets. There are no treatment guidelines to for glutathione injections. The dosages of therapy vary from 1200mg to 16,500mg. I wonder how these medicines come in the Indian market. Most of the brands in the grey market are from China. Recently few Indian companies came with Glutathione 600mg injections which claim to give weekly once therapies. Glutathione injections come with vitamin C injections- both are mixed with normal saline and given IV for 45 min to 1.5 hours, after a test dose.
When and how many results I can expect with Glutathione therapy?
It has said that after 5-7 injections, we can see some changes in skin tone. But this varies from person to person. Total 16 to 20 injections are given on weekly basis.
How long will the results last?
The result is not permanent. A Maintenance doses either oral or IV is required to maintain the lighter skin tone. Avoiding is smoking, alcohol and stress can prolong the effect of glutathione. Long-term studies are not available so this question is still unanswered.
How can I take glutathione therapy?
You have to contact your dermatologist and clear all doubts before starting therapy. Personally, I never recommend this therapy since long-term side effects are not known. But a trial of therapy can be done after routine investigations and proper test dose.
What happens during treatment?
The doctor or medical assistant will assess your vitals (Blood pressure, pulse rate, oxygen saturation, and temperature) to make sure treatment is viable. A doctor will also give a test dose of glutathione in your arm and will read after half an hour. The doctor will then start the IV treatment. During treatment you can relax, you should be alert if any reaction develops like itching, burning, redness or any other sign of reaction. The treatment will take anywhere from 45min – 1.5 hours. At the end of treatment, vitals are reassessed.
What are the possible side effects of IV Glutathione?
Since this is a newer therapy and long-term side effects are not known- the possible side effects are Pain and invasiveness of injection, Infection at the injection site, Phlebitis, Fluid overload, Electrolyte imbalance. Life-threatening or severe drug reaction like toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme also can occur.
If still you have doubt? Feel free to contact
Consultant Dermatologist at SkinQure , Saket
Ex-SR Dermatologist AIIMS, New Delhi.