Glutathione for Skin: How it %Works to Lighten Dark Spots + How to Use

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We’re always on the lookout for skincare ingredients that are capable of deeply transforming the skin. From sodium ascorbyl phosphate to ferulic acid, we’ve covered several in the past, but there’s one that managed to keep itself under the radar…until now.

Enter glutathione – an ingredient that’s becoming increasingly common in various skincare products. This ingredient isn’t anything new – it has been used for different health purposes for over a century.

However, its skin benefits have only recently come to light and, from what we’ve seen, they’re very impressive. If you’ve been trying to win the fight against dark spots, acne marks, wrinkles, or dullness, then read on – glutathione may be able to do exactly what you need.


What is Glutathione? An Introduction to the Ingredient & Its Three Amino Acids (Glycine, Cysteine, and Glutamine)

Glutathione chemical structure

Glutathione is an antioxidant that’s naturally produced by the liver. It’s a tripeptide made up of three amino acid components and is a necessary part of so many different processes that take place in the human body, from the building of tissue to immune function.

When you’re young, your body produces plenty of glutathione. However, as you age, glutathione levels decline, just like all of the other natural antioxidants that your body creates.

It doesn’t help that there are so many lifestyle and environmental factors out there, from pollution to alcohol consumption, that lead to glutathione depletion in your body.

What happens when glutathione levels in your body are reduced? Quite a few things – not only when it comes to your health, but also your skin. Let’s take a closer look at exactly how glutathione affects both…

Why is Glutathione in Skin Care Products & What Does Glutathione Do to Your Skin? A Closer Look at the Main Glutathione Benefits for Skin

So, why all the hype about glutathione as a skin care ingredient? Turns out, there are two main reasons why this ingredient has been all the rage lately:

It Works as a Skin Whitening Agent That’s Used for Lightening, Bleaching, and Brightening Hyperpigmentation

Glutathione works as a systemic skin lightening agent. It works by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme, which therefore means that the skin isn’t able to produce melanin [1].

With melanin being the pigment that gives your skin its color, along with any dark marks or patches, suppressing melanin production has skin lightening effects.

Read our guide and find out what’s the best skin lightening cream containing glutathione and many other useful ingredients.

Body care of a woman applying moisturizer

One of the Most Powerful Antioxidants, Glutathione Fights Free Radicals & Boosts Collagen Production to Provide Youthful, Anti-Aging Results

You probably already know how crucial antioxidants are when it comes to keeping your skin in tip-top shape. They help to reverse all the skin cell damage that you experience on a daily basis.

Without antioxidants, your skin cells, along with their proteins, DNA, and everything else, would degrade at a much faster rate, leaving you with a complexion that looks far older than your years.

Not to mention, the free radical damage that is countered by antioxidants can lead to hyperpigmentation, making antioxidants key for skin lightening too.

There are thousands of different antioxidants out there, but glutathione is one of the most powerful. It truly has remarkable antioxidant properties. This is partly due to its low molecular weight [2].

This means that it’s able to penetrate deeper into the skin than many other antioxidants, enabling it to bring about some serious changes.

What Else is Glutathione Good For? What Are the Benefits of Glutathione for Healing Your Body & Health?

As mentioned, glutathione has been used by the medical industry for decades. Here are just a few of its health benefits:

Used as a Support Treatment for Different Forms of Liver Disease (Can Be Combined with Milk Thistle)

Intravenous glutathione injections are an effective treatment for liver disease [3]. They raise glutathione levels in the body, therefore reducing cell damage in the liver.

Reduces the Effect of Parkinson’s Disease

Mature woman using a hand and body lotion for body care

This devastating disease has no cure, but glutathione can help to reduce symptoms [4].

As a result, it can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life. Again, intravenous glutathione is needed for this.

Shows Good Effectiveness Against Hair Loss

Glutathione helps to promote hair growth. As a result, it can be used to counter hair loss.

N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) Plays a Role in Reducing Symptoms of Respiratory Diseases

Whether you’re dealing with asthma or cystic fibrosis, a byproduct of glutathione, known as N-acetyl cysteine, or NAC, can help. It thins mucus and reduces inflammation, making it easier to breathe.

A Natural Way to Lighten Hair and Eye Color

In the same way that glutathione has skin lightening effects, it can also lighten the color of your eyes and hair too.

How to Use Glutathione for Skin Repair, Wrinkles, Dark Spots, & Discoloration: Topical Uses, Supplement Pills, and Injection

There are three main ways to use this antioxidant for skin lightening and skin elasticity; topical and oral glutathione, as well as injections. Which is better? Let’s find out:

Topical Glutathione: Face Cream & Serum Formulas for an Even Skin Tone & Improved Skin Barrier

You’ll find glutathione for skin in a variety of skincare products designed to give you a lighter skin tone. Our top choices would be serums and creams, since these remain on your skin for long periods of time, enabling the glutathione to be fully absorbed.

It’s worth noting that combining vitamins, especially ascorbic acid, with glutathione can help to enhance its skin lightening and anti-aging effects.

Oral Glutathione Supplements: L-Glutathione Powder, Oxidized Glutathione, or NAC – Which is the Best Form of Oral Supplementation to Take if You Want to Look Younger?

Young woman taking skincare pills

Oral glutathione supplementation comes in a few different forms. The best glutathione dietary supplement is usually an L-glutathione powder since this is the active form of the antioxidant.

However, the human digestive system is so effective that it absorbs most of the pure glutathione before it’s able to reach your skin.

Your next option is NAC, the precursor to glutathione. Taking this will encourage your body to increase its natural glutathione levels, which your skin will benefit greatly from.

RELATED: Glutathione Powder for Skin Whitening

The maximum recommended dose would be 500mg per day. However, start small – 50mg a day is usually enough to begin with. Speak to your doctor before increasing the dosage.

Glutathione Injection: The Most Effective Way to Increase Glutathione Levels in Your Body

The best way to deliver a good dose of glutathione directly into human blood is with an injection. This has been shown to have a beneficial effect on human skin when taken by healthy women.

How Many Glutathione Injections Should I Take?

Even when injected, glutathione needs to be taken regularly. So, you’ll need 1-3 injections a week to counter the reduced glutathione in your body.

Safety Trials & Side Effects: Is Glutathione Safe?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much information out there regarding glutathione’s safety. Possible side effects of an oral supplement could include cramps, bloating, and trouble breathing.

However, this all depends on whether you’re using a high quality supplement, along with the dosage you’ve been taking.

There haven’t been many issues with topical glutathione usage. The only exception would be if you’re allergic to any of the other ingredients in the glutathione skincare product you’re using.

If you want to try out something different, but that will give equally good results, you should consider getting Trophy Skin Brighten MD. Read our Trophy Skin Brighten MD review and find out why this tool is so effective in making the skin lighter.

RELATED: Glutathione Suppositories


Pretty woman having fair skin in pictorial

Q: Does NAC supplement lighten skin?

Yes, NAC supplements are great for lightening the skin.

Q: Can glutathione remove dark spots?

Yes, glutathione for skin is effective at removing dark spots.

Q: How long does glutathione take to lighten black skin?

It can take 12-18 months for glutathione to lighten black skin. The lighter your skin color, the faster it will work – it can whiten light skin in as little as a month.

Q: Is glutathione skin lightening permanent?

No, the effects of glutathione on your skin tone aren’t permanent. If you stop taking the ingredient, it’ll stop working.

Q: How much NAC to take for skin lightening?

600-1800 mg per day is the recommended amount of NAC to take.

Q: How many mg of glutathione should I take for skin whitening?

This all depends on your skin – it could be anywhere between 50mg to 500mg.

Q: Why does glutathione lighten skin? What does the evidence show?

Studies show that glutathione lightens skin tone by suppressing melanin production.

Q: Is glutathione good for my metabolism?

Yes, glutathione is great for metabolism.

Q: What are the before and after effects of glutathione as a skin lightening agent?

You’ll notice that dark spots fade away and your skin tone looks brighter after using glutathione regularly.

Q: Does Xeneplex glutathione coffee suppository work for whitening the skin?

Yes, they can help with lightening hyperpigmentation.

Q: Glutathione whitening anti aging skin pills for women 450 mg 60 capsules – is this a good supplement?

Yes, that would be a safe dosage to take daily.

Q: NAC and vitamin c – can they be taken together?

Vitamin C and NAC work even better together than if they were taken separately.

Pretty white woman holding a cat

Conclusion: Is Glutathione a Worthwhile Treatment for Age Spots, Pigmentation, and an Uneven Skin Tone?

When it comes down to it, glutathione is a fantastic way to treat dark spots and aging skin. Injections tend to be the best way to go, but if 2-3 injections a week seems a little much, then, by all means, go with the topical application instead.

Either way, not only will your skin benefit from extra doses of this vital antioxidant, but your body will enjoy it too.



Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.