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How Do I Choose the Best Glutathione Whitening Pills?

By Andrea Cross
Updated May 21, 2024
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While many people spend hours in the sun trying to darken their skin, a significant number of people try to achieve the opposite. There are many creams, lotions, and even pills on the market that claim to decrease skin pigmentation. One of these products is glutathione whitening pills, which claim to lighten the skin by increasing glutathione, an amino acid already found in the cells. To choose the best glutathione whitening pills, you must take into consideration quality, ingredients, and cost.

Glutathione is a potent antioxidant that is naturally occurring in the cells of the body. The production of this amino acid can become compromised over time by disease, environmental pollutants, and the natural aging process. Deficiencies can subsequently be corrected with the help of supplements that inhibit melanin production. The only main side effect of taking these supplements is a lightening of the skin over time, including both the general skin tone and blemishes. Subsequently, gluathione pills are used as a skin lightening treatment.

When you are choosing glutathione whitening pills, it is very important to first do some research. This product is considered to be a food supplement, and as such, its manufacturing quality and marketing are not regulated or approved by any agency. Make sure that you check the reviews of products that you might buy, and try to read reviews from unbiased sites — not the brand's own website. You should also choose one that is being sold through a reputable source or retailer as they will be much more likely to have a genuine, quality product. Imitation products, besides being ineffective, can also be dangerous.

Many glutathione whitening pills have different ingredients and forms of glutathione, and this can make choosing even more difficult, especially with many brands claiming their product is the best. Some complexes do not even contain glutathione but rather the precursors for the body to make it — glycine, glutamate, and cystine. Other products contain L-glutathione, which is the form produced by the cells. There is, however, some debate about whether this form is effective when taken orally due to the large size of the molecules.

Another form is reduced glutathione, in which the molecules are claimed to have been reduced and so are more easily absorbed. Again, as these supplements are not well regulated, it is difficult to know which form is the best, especially as some may work better for different people than others. You will want to choose glutathione whitening pills that have an enteric coating. This helps the tablet to survive the gastric acid in the stomach and may improve absorption.

Choose a brand that includes vitamin C in its formulation as it is thought to help boost the effectiveness of the glutathione. You can also choose to supplement the tablets with extra vitamin C; however, too much can cause hyperacidity. Vitamin E and selenium are thought to also enhance the effect, so you may want to choose a brand with these ingredients as well.

One way of making the choice easier is to get a prescription from your doctor because these glutathione whitening pills come from a legitimate source. This option can be quite expensive, however, and may not be realistic. One issue to keep in mind when choosing this type of supplement is that it will take months, or even years, to achieve a result, and then maintenance doses will be required to maintain the effect. You therefore need to choose a supplement that you can afford to continue buying.

How to Take Glutathione Pills for Whitening

Glutathione comes in many forms, from pills and nasal sprays to soluble powders and injectable agents. Taking a daily supplement of glutathione is the easiest way to get the antioxidant in your system for its skin whitening benefits. Most pills come in 400-500 mg capsules, with roughly 30 per bottle, making it easy to take one pill daily and buy a bottle each month. More potent doses can contain up to 1000 mg per pill, so it depends on how drastic of an effect you are looking for. Like most other pills, you can take them morning or night with a simple glass of water. It is not thought to have any other drug interactions, but you can always ask your doctor if you are worried about how it will mix with another medication. You can take glutathione for two to three months, at which point you should evaluate your skin and decide if you have achieved the desired result. If not, you might want to take a short break before resuming daily use, as the long-term effects of daily glutathione consumption have not yet been studied in depth. Scientists are also unsure if it is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding, so you may want to steer clear of the tablets if you are having a baby.

Possible Side Effects

While glutathione is safe to take overall, as your body already produces certain amounts on its own, there are some possible side effects from long-term use. Scientists have not done enough research to definitively determine a link, but it is thought that taking glutathione can lower the amount of zinc already in your body. Zinc is an important nutrient for immune and metabolic health, so you may need to add an additional supplement of zinc to your regiment if you plan on taking glutathione for more than a month or two. Additionally, the antioxidant has been found to increase wheezing in people with asthma in some instances.

Does Glutathione Skin Whitening Pills Work

Glutathione has been hailed as a miracle whitening agent for years in countries like the Phillippines. It works by converting melanin, the pigment in skin that provides color, to an overall lighter shade. In addition to whitening skin tone as a whole, glutathione can reverse hyperpigmentation of skin left behind by acne. It is considered to be a safe alternative to other dangerous skin-whitening methods, like bleaching creams. Bleaching creams rely on chemicals like mercury to lighten the skin, rather than natural antioxidants. Using these types of products can lead to chemical burns and mercury poisoning, which in turn can cause psychological and neurological damage. If these are products you already use, it may be worth it to switch to a safer whitening treatment like glutathione.

Other Benefits

In addition to skin lightening, glutathione is known for binding to free radicals in the body and reducing oxidative stress on cells. Free radicals increase your risk of certain diseases and cancers, so the neutralization of their impact has an overwhelmingly positive effect on your body. Glutathione has also been reported to help with a variety of other conditions:

  • weight loss
  • psoriasis
  • migraines
  • weak immune systems
  • infertility
  • liver disease
  • insulin resistance
  • artery disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • autism

People take glutathione for an abundance of reasons. In addition to whitening the pigment of your skin, taking a daily supplement of glutathione may lead to an improvement in your general health as well as contribute to your body's efforts to prevent disease and sickness.

Where to Buy Glutathione Whitening Pills

Like most supplements and vitamins, you should be able to find glutathione capsules at any local health store or natural grocery market. Additionally, many online vendors sell the pills at a lower price point than can be found in stores. When buying any supplement, it is important to do your research and read reviews. You might also have personal criteria you are looking for your glutathione to meet, such as being cruelty-free or vegan. Some pills are enhanced with additional vitamins, like vitamin D, so you may be able to save money by finding a capsule that can act as a multivitamin in your daily routine. Milk thistle, an herb, is another popular pairing with glutathione due to its benefits for liver health. In addition to buying pills, you may be able to receive high levels of glutathione naturally through the consumption of unprocessed meats, garlic, broccoli, asparagus, avocados, and spinach. As with anything you put in your body, you should always be thorough in your investigation of the benefits and evaluate how they compare to the potential side effects or costs.

How To Take Glutathione Pills for Whitening

Skin lightening is a very controversial topic. Celebrities such as Lil' Kim have received criticism amid rumors that they bleach their skin. While many of these rumors cannot be substantiated, they do point to underlying issues about beauty standards and colorism.

Prejudice against darker skin doesn't just exist in the United States. It's even a problem in places like India and South Korea, where light skin is part of the prevailing beauty ideals in both counties. With all that said, we need to understand more about how combating hyperpigmentation differs from whitening one's skin.

Causes of Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation can happen to anyone, regardless of their skin color. However, people with more baseline melanin in their skin are more likely to develop it. Hyperpigmentation occurs when excess melanin is produced in certain spots, resulting in the affected skin becoming darker compared to the surrounding skin. Many things can cause hyperpigmentation to develop:

  • Damage from UV radiation
  • Hormonal changes
  • Acne scarring
  • Skin injuries
  • Surgical scars
  • Genetic traits, such as freckles

OTC Solutions for Hyperpigmentation

Some over-the-counter remedies can treat hyperpigmentation. These include retinol night creams and serums, which harness vitamin A's benefits such as collagen formation and breaking down excess melanin. Retinol also helps stabilize melanocytes, the specialized cells that produce melanin. Some therapies contain substances rich in B vitamins, which naturally brighten and improve skin tone. Others contain kojic acid or hydroquinone, but they're usually only available by prescription. Additionally, there are safety concerns about hydroquinone products.

Exfoliating at home can speed up how quickly new skin cells develop and emerge. It should already be part of your regular skincare regimen, with most dermatologists recommending it two to three times per week. Both physical exfoliants in natural scrubs and gentle chemical exfoliants are smart options. For the latter, choose products with vitamin C or glycolic acid. The at-home versions are safe to use on your own as long as you follow package directions.

Dermatologists' Treatments

Your dermatologist can help you resolve hyperpigmentation with some in-office therapies. These include custom-mixed chemical peels: Some are formulated as resurfacing creams, while others are deeper chemical peels that may require some downtime to remove excess pigmentation and scarring. Laser therapy can also break down excess melanin.

Does Glutathione Skin Whitening Pills Work?

While there is some evidence to support glutathione's antimelanogenic properties, there still aren't many studies that evaluate its effectiveness as a skin whitening agent. Glutathione has primarily been popular in the Philippines and South Asian countries such as India and Thailand. In four studies to date, oral or topical treatments were the best tolerated by participants in these studies.

One study involved administering glutathione through an IV to 5 healthy adult women. Around one-third of the participants developed severe liver dysfunction. Other potential hazards from IV glutathione include severe abdominal pain, thyroid dysfunction and kidney failure.

Even so, it's uncertain whether these studies' findings are broadly applicable due to their small sample sizes, short study period and even shorter follow-up period. There's also one major limitation of using glutathione: Skin lightening results are not permanent. Oral and topical glutathione are the only safe forms to use, but their effects last a few months at best. There's some evidence that orally ingested glutathione may lose some effectiveness when traveling through the digestive system.

How Long Does It Take for Glutathione To Lighten Skin?

Oral glutathione is safe to take at doses not exceeding 500 milligrams and for no longer than 60 days. As for the amount of time required to see skin lightening effects, the evidence is inconclusive. Some users report seeing brighter, smoother and rejuvenated skin after a few weeks of oral glutathione supplements. However, safety precautions for dosing and duration mean that such effects are temporary at best.

Other Precautions With Glutathione

Those considering taking glutathione supplements should keep a few more things in mind. First of all, there's not enough information about how it interacts with some prescription medications. If you're taking antidepressants, antipsychotic meds or chemotherapeutic prescriptions, do not start glutathione supplements without first consulting with your physician.

Certain underlying health conditions also call for added caution with glutathione. People with conditions like diabetes, asthma, food allergies, coronary artery disease or hypertension should also talk to their doctors before starting these supplements. Pregnant individuals and those under the age of 14 should avoid taking glutathione.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon995743 — On May 21, 2016

Is Tatiomax available in Mercury or watsons? If not, is the tatiomax in lazada was proven authentic?

By anon995742 — On May 21, 2016

In terms of cost, which is cheaper? Can you please tell me the market price of ivory caps, tatiomax, oxiglow and snow caps? Just to have an idea?

By Jose1212 — On May 16, 2015

Tatiomax Glutathione Softgels are very effective. I've tried it myself. They say this can be compared to Glutathione injection and it's true. I take it two times daily. I tried a lot of glutathione pills and none worked. Very safe and effective. It's FDA and Halal approved. One thing more it is in liquid softgel form.

By anon985577 — On Jan 17, 2015

Great article, very informative topic. I've been taking reduced glutathione pills for a month of which it includes vitamin c, grape seed extract and vitamin E. It is proven safe and effective and is certified Halal and BFAD approved. You can buy it online!

By JessicaAA — On Nov 26, 2014

I have some questions please!

(1) Can glutathione pills from Thiland/the Philippines be trusted? I've taken them for about six months and my skin does look brighter and glowing -- and actually better than pricey liposomal glutathione.

(2) Some experts recommend 500-1000 mg per day while others say higher dosage works better. I found glutathione pills sold in Thailand/the Philippines contain ridiculously high mg of glutathione. Because nothing expensive really worked on me, I decided to give it a try, so-called "best-sellers" there. With doubt, I went from 200,000 mg to 400,000 mg, and now I'm going to try what they say is, whopping 800k mg. How it is possible for an oily pill, the size of a large pea, contain that much, 800 grams? And those pills don't smell like sulphur, the way glutathione is supposed to. But "for some reason" my skin does look better and I am quite satisfied and want to continue taking glutathione. When I'm done with 800K, I'm going down to lower dosage, about 500-1200 mg, combo pills of glutathione, lipoic acid and vitamin C, that, also, according to beauty bloggers, smells bad, the sign of real glutathione. I'd LOVE to know more please!

By anon979541 — On Nov 26, 2014

Experts advise to intake glutathione pills in various dosages, from 50 mg and up, and some say the more the better. And glutathione taken together with lipoic acid helps brain health in particular. I first bought liposomal gels, liquid and tablets forms whose dosage ranged from 300 to 1,000 mg, because I read that glutathione is digested in the stomach. I spent hundreds of dollars, I wasn't so sure if I saw much visible change apart from overall well-being, which could have resulted from other supplements, less stress, better diet, etc. I got tired of it and for a change, switched to taking glutathione for skin enhancement direction.

I bought five months supply of Ivory Caps, which are extremely well-promoted everywhere. The Ivory Caps did little to improve my complexion (born fair and clean but why not improve for flawless skin with healthy glow?) From random online searches, I've tried glutathione pills from Thailand that are known to be "best-sellers" there and it is a known fact that Thai women and transsexuals are infamous for their rigorous skin bleaching. I tried what I thought would be ridiculously high contents of glutathione called first for three and half months. Then I found there were even higher mg. What the heck, I upped it to for about two months. The result, it is pretty obvious my skin does look better "for some reason" and I'm thinking "maybe" those oily pills might have helped. I've just ordered two month supply of them.

There's not many reviews from credible sources, but here's what I found online. (1) Don't buy and trust glutathione pills from Thailand/the Philippines but USA. (2) Glutathione pills smell like rotten eggs and most million-mg don't smell anything, thus it might not be real glutathione. (3) It's not possible for a pill to contain tens of thousands of mg. (4) Liposomal glutathione still requires studies on effectiveness. (5) Some say higher dosage of glutathione is OK. (6) Excessive intake of glutathione can cause white hair because it affects on the body melanin. (I got more white hair, but maybe it's because of natural aging? I don't know.)

Could anyone explain? For one, how is it really possible, mathematically, for an oily pill, size of a large pea, contain 800K mg, or 800 grams, of glutathione plus vitamin C and collagen etc.?

Since I am quite satisfied with the result from those mysterious glutathione pills above, I am to continue taking it and researching what to try next. On my list are Snow Caps, Cosmo Skin, Tatiomax and Oxiglow, all of which, according to beauty bloggers' testimonials, have the sulphuric stink.

I hope sharing my hands-on experience can be useful to someone out there and love to know more about it. Thanks!

By anon978949 — On Nov 22, 2014

Is Oxiglow BFAD approved?

By Elsa — On Sep 15, 2014

Great article! I was also using injectables until I found Tatiomax Glutathione in a liquid softgel. It's my alternative to injections. If you take two softgels, that's an equivalent to one injection. The formulation is 1200mg gluta with collagen and Vitamin C for a total of 1600mg. It's a high dose and in a big softgel. But don't worry; it's not hard to swallow.

By candicesum — On Jun 06, 2014

I have tried injections also, but they are too much effort. I tried Oxiglow enhanced glutathione and it's very effective. I've stopped glutathione injectables and have been taking oxiglow for three months and I'm very happy. My skin is glowing, lighter, my underarms are lighter also and my groin areas. I love it.

By anon951751 — On May 17, 2014

@daraa: Ivory Caps gluthathione pills are very effective. I have tried them myself and they really work if you use them regularly with no breaks. You can buy them online.

By anon353855 — On Nov 03, 2013

I want to get a best gluthathione product. I've been trying to use injections but see no effects. How can I get a product that can help whiten my skin?

By daraa — On Apr 10, 2013

Thank you for this clear article.

Can someone please guide me to where I can get it safely?

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