Glutathione is an essential antioxidant that prevents cell damage caused by peroxides and free radicals in the body. It is a tripeptide, i.e., a protein which is made by three amino acid bonds (cysteine, glycine, and glutamine). There are two known forms of this chemical, viz., oxidized glutathione (dimer) and reduced glutathione (monomer). The oxidized form gets active with the reductase enzyme, while the reduced form is naturally active. This antioxidant is produced by every cell of the human body, including the immune system cells. It is also considered as the ultimate master antioxidant known to man, since it protects the body from numerous health conditions. It is also used in the field of beauty products.
There is a huge rage about various glutathione whitening products in the beauty market, especially in Asian countries. Since it is rated as the master antioxidant, it is found effective in treating skin blemishes and dark skin caused due to oxidative stress. It binds the liver toxins and eases the process of waste disposal in body. It is also suggested that people who are suffering from high cholesterol levels and heart diseases should increase the level of glutathione in their body, which can be done by taking supplements. This antioxidant works as an inhibitor of melanin pigment, which is a chemical that determines the color of one's skin. This is the reason why there is an increased obsession about products like glutathione whitening pills, soap, face wash, injections, and creams.
If you visit a cosmetic store, you are sure to come across numerous beauty products that claim to have glutathione in them. It is marketed as the best means of having flawless and fair skin. The most important point to consider here is that the skin whitening effect which is observed on large dosage of glutathione is nothing but one of the side effects of this chemical. Excessive usage of this antioxidant results into skin whitening, which is marketed as glutathione whitening. Suggested dosage is around 2-4 months for medium skin tone, 4-8 months for dark brown skin tone, 1 year for very dark skin tone, and more than 1½ years for black skin tone. There are mixed reviews about these products, while most of the consumers are still unaware about the effects of glutathione on the body.
Although the manufacturers of these skin care products claim that there are no side effects to using glutathione for skin whitening, the consumer reviews have revealed some. Ochronosis is one such side effect, which is a skin disfiguring condition that causes thick skin and dark spots on the body. It is also advised that a person should avoid oral glutathione due to the possibility of drug interactions. Effects of glutathione products for skin whitening vary greatly as per the skin sensitivity and metabolic functioning of an individual. Lastly, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to administer products containing this antioxidant only after proper consultation with their health care provider.
Note: This BeautiSecrets article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.