Antioxidant Shots With The Promise Of A Brighter Skin!

Antioxidants for skin

Neophytes to the aesthetic realm would think fear of needles would keep people away from trying beauty treatments delivered through the sharp tip of a syringe… Wrong, in fact injectable aesthetic procedures have been gaining popularity by leaps and bounds in the last few decades. Most injectables like botox and fillers are backed-up by tried and tested science in the form of multiple clinical studies, and hence they are rightfully popular as safe and effective aesthetic treatments among doctors as well as beauty connoisseurs.

A recent yet controversial injectable fad that has been sweeping beauty circles is: complexion-enhancing antioxidant shots — The substance in question? — Glutathione, a naturally occurring antioxidant found in the liver. The promised results with these skin-brightening shots are more than a little appealing: increased energy, stamina, body detoxification, and—clearer, brighter skin.

Here are my two cents on the subject, keep scrolling down to learn all about glutathione injections — from what they are to how they work, and whether or not they’re the answer to your skin woes.

Spot Light On Glutathione


Glutathione is a natural compound found in the liver, as well as in many fruits and vegetables, like onions, garlic, parsley, avocado, and squash. It is a powerful antioxidant that is used by the body to help remove free radicals and toxins. Studies have also shown that glutathione deactivates the enzyme tyrosinase, which is needed in melanin production (skin color).

When taken orally, glutathione is hydrolyzed by enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in reduced bioavailability — hence the injection method is considered the preferred mode of delivery. I.V shots of glutathione have been particularly popular in Asia, where women report results like more energy, boosted immune systems, increased sex drive, and brighter, whiter skin (an appealing promise in a culture that still holds fairer skin in high regard). In the U.S and Europe, doctors often use it to help patients with cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome to feel more energetic. However, the practice of using it on healthy patients to “help detoxify the body and promote well-being” is slowly getting more popular also.

The Big ‘Ol Q


Glutathione injections fall under the FDA category of GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe). However, before you get the shot you have to sign a waiver that warns you of the risks and side effects. Other than the expected pain, bleeding, and bruising, you need to be warned that you may experience “rapid detoxification and hexhemer reactions,” which cause body aches, nausea, headaches, mild diarrhea, and chills without fever.

As the practice of Glutathione injections has been more popular in Asia, literature review shows a statement from 2011 released by the director of the FDA in the Philippines warning against the use of large doses of glutathione for skin lightening purposes. The statement cites adverse reactions like thyroid problems and kidney problems, but seems to warn only against large doses — from 600 mg to 1.2 grams one to two times weekly.

The Process


The whole injection process is similar to getting any other vaccine or shot, unpleasant and slightly painful (described by the people receiving the shots as overall, not very painful or bad).

A big vein on the arm is located by a nurse practitioner or a doctor, and glutathione is injected into your system in slow I.V push. Suggested dosage start with 300 to 600 mg of glutathione three times a week. After four weeks, treatments can be tapered to just once a week, with skin results expected in six to eight weeks. The cost isn’t exactly cheap, (aprox. $120 per treatment, some clinics make a package deal of $999 for 10 treatments).

The Results


Since you’re supposed to get a series of treatments first thing you’d notice is an energy rush a couple of hours later — Reportedly not jittery kind of energy, but a definite increase in overall energy and awake-ness (especially at a time when you usually start fading away like late in the evening). From the data that I have collected in my research on the procedure, skin starts to look more radiant and healthy after 2-3 treatments. Whitening effect is controversial — some people report slight lightening in complexion some don’t.



The queries about injectable solution to skin lightening and whitening have gained serious momentum in the past few years or so, especially among the aesthetic devotees in Asian, Middle Eastern and South East Asian markets. Being based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia I have had my fair share of catechism and I have gone through endless discussion trying to convince people that such treatments are a myth and they do not have a legit place in real medicine (yet), but the questions and queries keep on popping. To answer all-in-one question — Do they have a real place in aesthetic medicine? — Answer is No — Not until they have proven reproducible results and safety in credible clinical studies. So far they have been nothing more than a hype to feed people’s desire to have a certain shade of lighter skin.

Do Chime In

After reading the details about the procedure, I’d like to ask my readers a question —

Would you ever consider a glutathione injection? If the answer is yes I’d like to know — Why? Please do share your thoughts?

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Shazia Ali
A certified dermatologist, Skincare guru to the who's who of the Middle East, Dr. Shazia knows the secrets of anti-aging, the insider tips and tricks on how to achieve healthy, beautiful radiant skin and everything in between. Currently the brand Ambasador for University of Westminster, and the head Dermatologist at Tababa Clinics.

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