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The Dangers of Using Skin Lightening Creams

Glutathione and Vitamin C injectables lead to kidney disease

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THE MEDICINES Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) has raised concern over beauty salons and wellness shops that are unlawfully selling unapproved skin whitening creams as they risk compromising people’s health.

MCAZ, which regulates drugs and medicines use in the country, said, in a statement, the untested beauty products pose a danger to people, especially when non-medical practitioners administer these treatments.

One of the products singled out by MCAZ is Glutathione and Vitamins for skin lightening.

MCAZ urged the public to be aware as some of these salons also offer services such as intravenous drips or infusions using skin lightening agents, including Glutathione tablets or injectables combined with injectable vitamins.

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MCAZ warns the public on the dangers associated with the use of skin lightening products such as oral /injectable Glutathione and injectable Vitamins. To date, there are no published clinical trials that have evaluated the use of oral/injectable Glutathione and injectable Vitamins for skin lightening.”

According to MCAZ, there are also no published guidelines for appropriate dosing regimens and duration of treatment. The medicines regulator said Glutathione and Vitamins are registrable products which MCAZ has not yet approved. Some of the side effects of the skin lightening product include liver, kidneys and the nervous system damages.

“Furthermore, the side effects may include severe skin reactions such as Stevens Johnson syndrome, hives or allergic reactions, weight gain, losing pigmentation of hair, eye infections and disorders.”

Glutathione also affects the production of melanin, the pigment that gives the human skin, hair and eyes their color.

Injectable Glutathione is sometimes paired with intravenous Vitamin C, and Vitamin C injection, which, according to MCAZ, may form kidney stones if the urine is acidic.

“Large doses of Vitamin C have resulted in liver problems in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Other potential risks include transmission of infectious agents, such as HIV, hepatitis C and B.”

MCAZ warned those involved in the illegal distribution of unregistered or unapproved medicines.


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