From supplement pills to facial creams, the antioxidant, Glutathione, is quite a rage in the beauty scene.
This antioxidant has proven to be an effective tool if you are battling beauty concerns such as tanning, dullness, and pigmentation. Glutathione or GSH works by terminating melanin synthesis. Melanin gives skin its colour and Glutathione helps in inhibiting its formation. So, you end up with a brighter, clearer complexion.
“Glutathione is a good antioxidant that is available in the market in the form of face washes, creams, oral capsules, and injectable Glutathione. Although there have been a few scientific studies about its role in reducing pigmentation and as a skin brightening agent, more such studies are needed to improve our understanding about it,” says Dr Nirupama Parwanda, dermatologist and founder, Zolie Skin Clinic.
This trending beauty ingredient, oral glutathione, has been in use for a while as an antioxidant and to improve liver health, for chemotherapy patients and other medical concerns. However, its skin lightening effects were discovered as a side effect of consuming large doses of this antioxidant!
"Any age group can safely apply Glutathione products as it is a natural antioxidant that is already present in the body. Anyone who suffers from dullness, tanning, pigmentation, AIFP (pigmentation around the chin and forehead) will benefit from this. If you have a lot of pollution in your city or are prone to frequent sun exposure, then you can apply it during the day," says Dr Kiran Sethi, dermatologist, and founder of Isya Aesthetics.
While Glutathione is available as oral supplements, creams, face wash, and even as an injectable, it is best to consult your dermatologist to help you understand *what dose and formulation* would be best suited for you.
"Most oral formulations have a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, or grape seed extract. Meanwhile, the topical application of the product is available in various formulations. The more creamy formulation is more suited in winters as compared to summers. It can help reduce pigmentation, improve the moisture content of the skin, improve the smoothness and decrease wrinkle formation," says Dr Parwanda.
"In skincare, I like it in brightening serums such as Sesderma Hidroquin Whitening Gel to help prevent pigmentation while also acting as a potent antioxidant. In supplements, I like it in tablets with vitamin C taken twice a day. Treatment-wise, I like microneedling of GSH into the skin, and also IV glutathione for extra antioxidant boosts. Skincare is only absorbed minimally deeper into the skin, that's why microneedling is beneficial because it will allow deeper infusion of this superpotent anti-pigmentation active to where it's needed. Our lives are full of oxidative stress, and medications like paracetamol, and painkillers, and pollution and stress all deplete glutathione. That's why quick IV infusions are the way to go," says Dr Kiran Sethi.
A word of caution...
GSH as a beauty ingredient might just be the miracle boost for your skin, but it is extremely important that you consult your dermatologist before you include it in your regime.
"Though oral dietary Glutathione supplements have been generally recognized as safe by the FDA their long term use and in high dose, especially intravenous use can lead to certain side effects such as lightening of hair colour and hypopigmented patches. Some noted side effects with IV Glutathione can be drug reaction, thyroid and kidney dysfunction. Although rare these issues have been reported," says Dr Parwanda.
Well, now you know!
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