While most of our culture is obsessed with being tan, and even risk skin cancer to get their nice bronze skin, there are also those that wish to lighten their skin. Perhaps you suffer from uneven skin tone or areas of skin discoloration and wish to know your options. In Louisiana, The Wall Center does not perform any type of generalized skin whitening procedure, though our latest Fraxel skin resurfacing laser as well as IPL photofacials can dramatically improve skin discoloration and even completely remove spots (dyschromias). However, there is still a need to warn you that there is an unapproved skin whitening procedure making its rounds in the Phillippines.
The Phillippines FDA has issued an advisory that warns of the potentially serious risks of using the popular intravenous skin whitener glutathione. Glutathione is a liver-generated compound that plays a role in antioxidant defense, metabolism and regulation. When injected into a vein, glutathione inactivates the enzyme tyrosinase, which helps melanin production. With the melanin production stunted, the pigment lightens to pheomelanin.
It has been found that in very high doses, glutathione is unsafe and may cause serious health risks of the users. A patient receiving twice-weekly glutathione injections may see:
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome
- Toxic epidermal necrolysis
- Thyroid function derangement
- Possible kidney dysfunction, potentially resulting in kidney failure
- Severe abdominal pain
- Possible overload of renal circulation
If you feel the need to lighten your skin, there are other ways to do so. Many treatments use a combination of topical lotions or gels containing melanin-inhibiting ingredients along with a sunscreen, and a prescription retinoid or RetinA derivative. These are your safer options!
To your health and beauty,