Glutathione Goddess Secrets - Lesson 3
Skin lightening therapy is among the most popular beauty therapy in the world. Skin lightening products have been around throughout history, and the market has had strong growth over the last few decades. We can consider reasons to stem from an increase in racism, perceived social status benefits, and advertising by cosmetic companies. Subconscious beliefs that people with lighter skin tone are socially advantaged is a powerful incentive for its trending popularity.
Mercury is the oldest known skin lightener. Hydroquinone and mercury skin lighteners are still widely available and in use despite known health risks and legislation bans. The FDA banned mercury in skin products in 1973 exports are still producing to countries in Africa and the Caribbean today. Even countries such as Australia, Hong Kong and Europe have reported mercury poisoning.
The lack of compliance and disregard for welfare is negligence on their part. Harsh penalties should apply. Policies need to be implemented by cosmetic companies and should be held ethically responsible for developing and testing safe products. One should also take personal responsibility to obtain knowledge on alternative skin lightening methods that are safe.
Glutathione as a skin lightening agent
The accidental discovery of glutathione's skin lightening powers came about from the side effects of using a large dose of glutathione. Now glutathione skin lightening is increasingly used because science has discovered it has anti-melanin-producing properties.
There are two types of Melanin
Melanocytes are a type of cells that produce a pigment called melanin in the skin. Melanin is what gives skin its colour. Melanosomes are structure like membranes. They carry the melanin to the surrounding skin cells called keratinocytes. The most important function of melanin is photo-protection. It helps prevent cell oxidation damage and DNA damage caused by sunlight.
There are two types of granules found in melanin. Eumelanin a black-brown pigment and pheomelanin a yellow to reddish-brown pigment. Eumelanin is a free radical scavenger with powerful antioxidant properties. It has a higher resistance to sunburn and skin cancer than pheomelanin. People with dark skin have more eumelanin and are more protected than lighter skin people. Pheomelanin is more prone to skin oxidation damage from the sun.
How Glutathione skin lightening works
Skin lightening results from glutathione's ability to block the enzyme tyrosinase. The enzyme tyrosinase controls the direct production of melanin. Glutathione also assists in the ability to switch melanin types. The skin begins to produce less eumelanin and more phaeomelanin. Phaeomelanin being the lighter yellow reddish-brown pigment.
Reasons to use Glutathione Products
Melasma, hyperpigmentation skin spots and skin whitening problems are very difficult to treat. This difficulty has led cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies to try and come up with products that meet the demands of customers. No matter how quickly you want to achieve lighter skin, the truth is, skin lightening is a gradual process. More often than not trying to force a dramatic result will create more damage and add more skin disorders and health problems that may be irreversible. Safety should be the number one concern, especially with skin lightening agents. Too many women use the wrong products hoping for quick results. Overdoing and misusing skin bleaching creams and other products to speed up results leads to skin irritation, DNA damage, scarring, carcinogenic effects and emotional distress. Therefore the need for natural, safe and effective skin lightening products are more desirable and necessary.
Results of Glutathione Skin Whitening
A study conducted to determine the safety and effectiveness of oral glutathione skin whitening. It was a randomised placebo-controlled double-blind study conducted on women aged between 33 - 50 years. An oral dose of 500 mg glutathione was taken once a day for 12 weeks.
There were a noticeable reduction and improvement of dark sunspots, skin tone in five different areas on the face.
There was a scientific study on 30 women aged between 30 to 50 years conducted for ten weeks. A glutathione lotion of 2% applied to one side of the woman's face. A placebo lotion applied to the other side of the woman's face, to note the differences. They measured melanin values in their skin as well as moisture content, smoothness, wrinkle formation and elasticity.
The melanin value in the skin was significantly lower with the glutathione treatment. Even from the earlier weeks of the trial right up to the end of the study. In the latter half of the trial study, it was found the moisture content significantly increased in the skin. Wrinkle formation suppressed and improvement in skin smoothness. No adverse effects were recorded, concluding that topical glutathione effectively whitens skin and improves skin condition safely.
There was a placebo-controlled study using intravenous glutathione on 32 women aged between 25 to 47. In the first group, 16 women were given IV glutathione with Vitamin C. In the second group were injected with saline. They were given two injections per week for six weeks, twelve injections in total. Effectiveness and safety were assessed at the end, then again at two months, four months and six months.
There was significant improvement on 6 out of 16 women (37.5%) who had taken the IV glutathione treatment compared to only three women (18.7%) improved with the placebo injections. After finishing the treatment, skin lightening progress began to wear off, six months follow up revealed only one woman who had maintained results of the treatment. Severe adverse effects of the liver led to discontinuation of the treatment. Concluding that it was not very effective skin lightening because it loses efficacy with time and side effects of the treatment were common.
As we can see from these scientific studies mixed results and outcomes were achieved. Some other studies have shown irregular body lightening as well. Even if there is some evidence of glutathione skin whitening properties, this does not guarantee results or lasting effects. Indeed selective care should be exercised when choosing glutathione products and used sparingly not long term. As demonstrated a high risk of liver damage in the case of intravenous glutathione, but oral glutathione was tolerated. Glutathione in lotion form has yielded other cosmetic benefits and anti-ageing benefits in addition to skin lightening. Beauty asks a high price, but consider the famous words of Sophia Loren " Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief she is beautiful". Fairness is hip but, so is dark sun-kissed skin.
Systemic Glutathione as a Skin-Whitening Agent in Adult. I. B. S. Sitohang and S. Ninditya.
Skin-whitening and skin-condition-improving effects of topical oxidized glutathione: a double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trial in healthy women. Fumiko Watanabe, Erika Hashizume, [...], and Ayako Kamimura.
Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatologists. 2016;26 (3):177-181. Efficacy of intravenous glutathione vs. placebo for skin tone lightening.
van Wyk, Jennifer & Khumalo, Nonhlanhla & Jablonski, Nina. (2016). The phenomenon of skin lightening: Is it right to be light?. South African Journal of Science. Volume 112. 10.17159/sajs.2016/20160056.
Sonthalia S, Daulatabad D, Sarkar R. Glutathione as a skin whitening agent: Facts, myths, evidence and controversies. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2016 May-Jun;82(3):262-72. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.179088. PMID: 27088927.