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Glutathione IV for skin lightening?

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Over the past year, intravenously injecting high levels of glutathione has been trending at skin spas around the UK and, to a lesser extent, the US, with the promise of lightening hyperpigmentation faster and with fewer side effects than the traditional topical lighteners, such as hydroquinone.

But is glutathione really a panacea for sun and acne damaged skin?

First, what exactly is glutathione, anyway? Glutathione is a powerful anti-oxidant that has been shown to find its way into the cells and block or breakdown the pathway that leads to pigmentation. Sounds good, right? Well, not so fast. Once in the body, IV glutathione has no way of identifying areas of excess pigment, as caused by the sun or injury. So it actually lightens the entire skin, resulting in all over lighter pigmentation. It may not cause a big change in fairer skinned folks, but for more highly pigmented skin, the results can be permanent and catastrophic.

In addition, high levels of glutathione in the body can cause multi-organ toxicity, headaches, and rare skin conditions, such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

The bottom line: If you have areas of hyperpigmentation that cause you concern, stick with topical ingredients such as hydroquinone, Vitamin C, retinol, and kojic acid. Glo Brightening Serum and Glo Lightning Serum are two great ways to brighten your skin without the risks of IV glutathione.

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  • Elizabeth Quesnelle
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