More women around the world are turning to intravenous glutathione for skin lightening. Popular in parts of Asia, it is also cropping up in Britain and the United States.


At Lavish Laser in Manhattan last week, Samantha Peters waited to receive intravenous glutathione, a skin lightening treatment whose safety has yet to be proved.

Now she’s hoping a new treatment, intravenous glutathione, will accomplish what makeup and skin bleaching creams could not: an even, lighter skin tone.

Treatments involve anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 milligrams of glutathione, often combined with vitamin C, administered once or twice a week. Each session can cost $150 to $400, depending on dosage and location. Some medical spas recommend 10 treatments, while others say as many as 30 could be necessary to see the desired result. IVs are administered by nurses or doctors.

Even once the skin is lightened, patients have to come back every few months for maintenance. As the glutathione levels fade, so do the effects.

In the Philippines, glutathione treatments are often delivered by people not trained in IV administration, and at higher doses with greater frequency.

Proponents of glutathione in the United States say that’s why patients there see serious side effects, while those in America don’t.

Lavish Laser, the medical spa in Midtown Manhattan where Ms. Peters gets her treatments, sees clients of various backgrounds. Leslie Nesbitt, one of the founding partners, said many African-American clients come in after disappointing experiments with skin bleaching that result in burns and scars. East Asians often want to reduce sun damage, and clients of South Asian descent often want to be a shade lighter. “One Indian woman wanted to get whiter before her wedding,” Ms. Nesbitt said.

Extracts from a New York Times article (original). Published 28 August 2017.