Glutathione (a tripeptide made of glutamine, cysteine, and glycine), given intravenously or orally is helpful for people with Melasma (a dark pigmentation of the cheeks) and in people with other dark blotches elsewhere in the body according to an article in the New York Times August 29th 2017. The article talks about intravenous Glutathione being used by a growing number of women around the world for lightening the skin. This is mostly on the basis of case studies as no rigorous studies have been done. IV Glutathione is very popular in the Phillipines and demand is growing in the US, according to the article.
The concept makes total sense because Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps the liver to detoxify. In Functional Medicine we work on liver detoxification to help hormonal balance. Melasma is related to high hormone levels and sun exposure. It is well known and accepted that women are more likely to get Melasma in high hormone states such as pregnancy and with birth control use. Although obviously it wouldn’t be used during pregnancy but many women continue to have Melasma post partum and some women have high estrogen levels even without oral contraceptive use so in these women it would be a good idea.
Glutathione, both intravenously or orally given can help to detoxify and remove estrogens, including estrogenic pesticides, which might also be involved in the cause of this pigmentation. And what’s even better is that Glutathione is very safe. It’s a natural substance the body makes and is not a foreign chemical, in fact it helps to remove foreign chemicals.