The perils of skin whitening

Song Hye Kyo

I’ve read about how some ladies in Singapore have been going for this whitening injection on a beauty forum and was rather leery of the idea. 

I don’t have much idea about this treatment but it just didn’t sound right to me, to have something injected into our bodies to reverse the skin tone (think Michael Jackson.)  And my suspicions were right because yesterday, I learnt of a warning over the news from Hong Kong that such non-regulated cosmetic treatment could be fatal if improperly used.  Even if it doesn’t cause death, there are possible side effects including liver failure.

The key ingredient in skin whitening drips is glutathione, a strong antioxidant for treating cancer and AIDS. Its side effects include nausea, vomiting and stomachache and may even be lethal if overused, according to the Hong Kong Department of Health. Another ingredient, tranexamic acid, could lead to liver failure if overused.

Source: Killer cosmetics warning from consumer council from The Standard.

Besides the drips or injection, there are also these L-Glutathione super whitening pills which serves the same purpose of lightening the color of the skin when consumed along with vitamin C for three to six months or more.  Apparently this is a very popular treatment in Asia especially for many celebrities and models.  I remembered Barbie Hsu had also mentioned about it in her second beauty book.

What was even more scary to me was that some ladies on the beauty forum were actually recommending services of some non-qualified beauticians for such treatments.  I certainly hope none were silly enough to take such a big risk.  

Like all invasive treatments, whitening injections or super whitening pills ought to be taken with the recommendation of qualified dermatologists or professionals.  Even then, you want to make sure you find out exactly what the treatment entails and what sort of side effects you could be exposed to.

Mirror mirror, on the wall, how can I be safely fairer than them all?


  1. Julia says:


    Im sticking to being natural. My skin is pretty fair but would like it to be fairer but in a safe way. Thanks for the warning. Does Barbie Hsu have her book in english?

    Julia: Her books are all in Chinese. I don’t believe I’ve come across a translated version.

  2. Julia says:

    thanks for the reply.

    Was the book helpful in any ways? I heard something outrageous but not sure if it’s true about her beauty secrets. I really hope i can find a translated version of it.

    Julia: Are you referring to her wanting to eat human placenta? I wrote it here if you’re interested.

  3. Julia says:

    thanks for telling me. this is really extreme for beauty.

  4. Sara says:

    Scary to think what we put in and on our bodies.

  5. kazumi says:

    Its really scary doing these injections since theres a proliferation of counterfeit products and unlike whitening pills or capsules, injectable glutathione cannot(not yet) be tested for its authenticity. So its really safer and better to take the pills instead since its not invasive and really proven to lighten your skin without any complications.

    kazumi: Yes, that’s really true but unfortunately, there’re still girls falling prey to those counterfeits.

  6. B says:

    We are beauty as our own colour. Lots of Western people would love to have tan on them to look beautiful . The beauty business is way too wrong for Asian to look like White people.

  7. Kym says:

    I know tanned skin looks good, but for Asians, you either have simple pale skin or you have patchy darker skin.

    It’s really hard to find Asians with an evenly, naturally dark skin tone.

    Kym: Well, some have nice tan. But perhaps with so much focus on white skin, more pple prefer whitening over tanning…

  8. manal says:

    i would like to have the lighting pills.
    thank u

  9. asmaa says:

    i’m an egyptian girl suffering from dark body although my face is lighter, i don’t know why? I don’t want to be white but just want to be a little lighter, are those pills are really helpful? and where can I get those pills from since I live in egypt and saudia arabia?

    Asmaa: I wouldn’t recommend them…

  10. Marie says:

    It,s true that glutathione (GSH) helps to whiten skin, but many medical reports state that GSH can only be produce within our bodies. In pills forms, injection or creams forms, before it,s reach our cells thru the blood streams ,it will be flushed out.

    The good news is, there is a way to stimulate our cells to increase our glutahione level.

    You can read more information on this at

  11. trisha says:

    You are correct GSH or glutathione reduced form is not really good as it will also flushed out and it will not go directly to your bloodstream. I found also another brand name kyusoku bihaku which is in free form. I tried it and i’ve seen the result in just one week. The price is very good as well since it only 15$ per one month supply.

    Trisha: One week? Wow, that’s interesting. I’ll look it up for more info. Thanks for letting me know!

  12. sheryl says:

    where i can buy the product as above Thisha mean? It is really safe?

    Sheryl: I have no idea…about the safety level, nobody can tell you if its 100% safe. Some pple may react to such products while others are fine.

  13. kisha says:

    is there any type of surgical method or pill intake or any type of injection that will result in whiter skin … and have NO side effects at all.
    i’m really interested in having a whiter skin tone.. i mean my whole body, not just my face.

    Kisha: I’m not in a position to recommend you anything. I know there are products over the counter but I would suggest you visit a qualified dermatologist if you’re keen on such pills or injections.

  14. armond says:

    I’ve been using lite Ning injections for a bit now, with no side effects, i got very lighter, which was my reasone for taking the Hollywood Lite Ning injection… it’s been used in Asai for decades… and it seems to be effective for lightening the skin.I take 2 pills one at night and one in the morning, 1cc injection IM once a week and all is great!

  15. sajad says:

    nothing just i want whiten my whole body skin

  16. Dani says:

    I hate being olive skinned it really upsets me. wondering if I can get anything in australia?

  17. Analeigh says:

    What think Michael Jackson??
    Michael Jackson has a skin disorder called Vitiligo for goodness sake!!

  18. sesame says:

    Oh rabid fan eh?

  19. branbran says:

    I know for a fact the publisher of this product did not get any of that negative information from a doctor. The only dangers i could see being fatal would be improper use of the needles for injection. There is no such thing as an overdose on glutathione! Are you kidding me! it’s an anti-oxidant if you swallow a whole bottle your just going to poop most of it out. Your body can only absorb so much at a time, this is why injectables are faster in results because you put the glutathione past the step of having to be absorbed by your body into the bloodstream.

  20. MeMe says:

    i really want to make ma skin get whiter especially on ma face.Even i dont use anythings and try to stay at home avoiding from sunlight but ma face is still darker than ma body.i hate that so now im jus considering of using that Whitening Injection so thats why im searching for side effects via internet. And now im reading all the things ur website.
    now im so complicated with this can u help solving this problems for me ?

  21. MeMe says:

    i just want to get white and safe. sigh

  22. sofia says:

    Hello trisha,
    I’m Sofia from Kuala Lumpur would like to ask you about the kyusoku bihaku pills..i’m using it for almost 2months..but nothing changed..may i know how many tablets u took per day?

  23. emma says:

    you’re suffering from dark body with lighter face? mine is exactly the opposite.fair body but dark face.can we exchangeplaces?lol…just kidding/

  24. reja says:

    hi Ann Marie you have those injections?? can you tell me where u got them please im really interested to reduce my dark circles around my eyes…

    email me

  25. gisela says:

    hi armond , i so interested , can you please tel me for how long can you use the product and what happen if you you got the desired result and you stop using them? also in the means time using pills and injection what kind of lotion are aplying? thanks for the response.

  26. mel says:

    hi armond
    the site for hollywood lite ning seems to be down do you know when it will be up and running again?

  27. Carol says:

    I tried to get on the site too and it is down. Is there an alternative site where the products can be purchased?

  28. mel says:

    Had any luck?

  29. mel says:

    Any had any luck with the site?

  30. Yudha jhie says:

    Hi.. Im yudha, 4m indonesia. I have a white skin, really really white, like a paper, i never treat my skin. N if u want to get a skin like me. U just paint ur skin of course with a white color. lol

  31. mel says:

    Has anyone been able to access the site?

  32. riza says:

    hi. can i ask what kind of milk can i used to mix with lemon? is cow’s milk would be appropriate? thank you in advance ?

  33. riza says:

    i like your thinking. hehe ?

  34. sesame says:

    Yes, cow’s milk is fine.

  35. riza says:

    i have a cousin selling some whitening products, just like the injectible whitening and it is made from japan. her customer told her that the produt is very fantastic, in less than 1 month she can see that her underarms,face,body etc is become fairer. but my cousin don’t know what are the side effects of that product. what can you say about this? thank you in advance ?

  36. sesame says:

    If my understanding is correct, anything that has immediate effect on our body seems to travel via our bloodstreams or cells. I kind of think it’s a little dangerous.

  37. Andu says:

    No, it is not dangerous. You can use goat milk with some feta cheese dissolved in it. It will smell a little bit but you’ll get used to the smell after a while. Think of all the benefits of glowing white porcelain skin. You shouldn’t mind a little smell to have that.

  38. riza says:

    thank you. I want to have a fair glowing skin in just a short period of time. what suggestions can you give/advice to me to become fairer in a safe way. ?

    Is it true that when you use the injectible whitening, you are near to skin cancer? thank you in advance ?

  39. Mau Mare says:

    in korea… where to get these whiting tablets or injections… i have dark spots on my face… i look like a leopard now…

  40. yoshi says:

    i used movate cream and it worked within 1 week,i bought it for 250bath(between 8 and 9usdollars)in bangkok,i mixed it with nivea cream and ascorbic acid,apllying twice,morning after shower,night after bath before going to bed…it works

  41. sagal says:

    Yes that is indeed true, that it can only be produced in the body , but i did alittle research and red when the glutathione it taking with the same amount of vit c, the side affect of high levels of GSH is lightening as it is a anti oxidant it is good for u body.

  42. Your concience says:

    Wow… I am deeply sadened my many of these comments. So many wreckless desires for “fairer” skin? You were BORN your color for a reason. Embrace it. Its so so sad to hear that other cultures push such a superficial agenda, only to promote insecurities… For status? Certainly not for health. The more you inject ANYTHING into your veins, the weaker they become, causing serious health risks down the road… So much ignorance in the world… Oh well. Survival of the smartest I suppose.

  43. dannel says:

    i just want to know what are the natural whitening applications for eliminating dark spots caused by acnes.

  44. Karen says:

    I have dark skin and white patches for years.heard this is call tinea viscolour and can’t be cured with pills or cream.I’m thinking of using drips to solve this problem but reading this about the side effects makes me think twice.anyone can help?

  45. sesame says:

    It’s best you get expert advice from a dermatologist or doctor.

  46. martika says:

    I agree!!!! OMG- I’m very very fair skin- I’m white but would love to be able to tan.. whats wrong with us!

  47. martika says:

    are you guys crazy!!! let your skin be.. anything pills or injections will have a side effect. I would love to have your skin color- but i cant im very fair… they used to call me snow white… i have accepted my skin as is-

  48. martika says:

    Yudha .. i’m Irish- im as white as it gets.. what is the obsession with the white skin? you are beautiful the way you are

  49. martika says:

    i totally agree!!!!

  50. shanty says:

    A friend of mine had whitening jab treatment in a clinic.before she started, the doctor let her had kidney and blood test in a lab. Then allergy test by giving her few drops of the jab and wait an hour to see the reaction. Its not an easy job. Even the doctor did it with infussion system which took her an hour each treatment. But the result is amazing.nobody recognize her. She is really transforming. Not only white but flawlwss whole body, supple and shiny.she was darker than me. Now she s a porcelain

  51. Ryna says:

    Buh me I still wanna bleach oooooooo

  52. miku says:

    Hi, does your friends doctor know of anyone who would administer those treatments in south Florida?

  53. shanty says:

    Hi, i am not sure about that but i will try to ask. Women in my country are crazy about whitening jab. a lot of ways they do, from going to doctor or clinics until buying the whitening solution themselves then let nurses or doctors to inject the solution for them and even many of them doing the injection by themselves.

  54. shumaila says:

    I have a question , that if we tkae 10 whittening injections so would it effect us in a bad way or it will be fine and how many injections causes a bad effect.
    Thanks (I want reply quickly)

  55. shumaila says:

    I want answer that how many injections badly effects the skin please answer me and help me plz plz. I will be really thankful

  56. shumaila says:

    God bless that person who can answer me(my question is above this)

  57. huishan says:

    hi shanty. which doctor and where is the clinic located ?

  58. Bithi says:

    I’m medium brown.i wanna b fair.i saw too much glutathione pills’s brand on fb bt is there any permanent?is it safe?

  59. Lou says:

    I’m a 29 yo Mexican-man and I first started to worry about wrinkles after watching “Nip-Tuck” and that progressed to injections that I administer myself. They are very effective and very expensive too. I have a medical background and do not recommend my extreme actions. But people defenetly treat you different based on your shade of skin. I am a sucker of all things superficial, I admit that. Amazon has great pills called “Ivory Caps” that work great for skin and for extra antioxidants.

  60. Lou says: has pills called Ivory caps and a topical lotion that work well. Make sure to wear good quality sunblock to protect your skin. And take the same amount of vitamin C as the pills. Be careful about smoking and drinking because they will make the pills less effective.

  61. Lou says:

    True, but we all have some sort of facination with changing our apperance. Some people diet, some wear make up, some dye their hair, color contacts. Those are all related closesly. Lightening your skin sounds bad because it implies that, that person would rather be more European that ethnic. These are my “two-cents”

  62. shanty says:

    She did it for the first time in a clinic in Jakarta. Then after several times, she did it twice in Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore ( i think in surgery department). It was 5 years ago. After that she never does drips anymore because she feels her complexion is already fair.

  63. shanty says:

    i use imedeen and kyusoku bihaku. It works well with me since i am scared of injection.

  64. shanty says:

    oh yes, for vitamin C, I take ester-C

  65. Alveena says:

    plz tell me something about whittening injections that how many injections will have a fair result and how many can cause side effect
    Thanks…….. I am fair but i want to be more….hmmmmmmm.
    Alveena last post is: DIY Beauty: a homemade flavored lip balm recipe

  66. Mary says:

    wich product that the doctor gave her

  67. dr kannaiah thallapally says:

    its extreemly funny that every xyz talks about complications of medicine.. and omg from when did glutathione started killing people??? well paracetamol is hepato toxic and has caused serious complications and many deaths when taken orally.. so dear writer, u dont give paracetamol to your kid when he or she is suffering with fever? and coming to oral glutathione, glutathione when taken orally is destroyed in stomach and intestine and is broken down into simpler compounds which have no role in either of its positive effects or in skin whitening. and funny that the writer suggests you to take oral pills for skin whitening. i wish people writing such crap hav some knowledge about medicine or else take some doctor’s opinion rather than writing whatever crap they feel like writing.

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  69. Saba says:


    I want to make my skin color whiter and more whiter, but i don’t know what to do and what to use. I heard from someone that i should use L-Glutathione +Vitamin C everyday. These two products will really help to make my skin whiter. What you say? Please advise me.Will it really work? and in what form do i need to use, in pills form or powder form?

  70. Sesame says:

    I am not really in favor of taking stuff that helps whitening. But yes, vitamin C can help so if you take more foods containing that, it’ll help. Use topical products to whiten naturally too.

  71. HangThuTong says:

    OMG I’m a Vietnamese girl. I want to whitening my skin by anyway, ? of course it’s safe and effective. I heared that skin whiteing injection in Thailand have effection only in 6 months:( maybe have any injection drug have forever effective or longer? I think after have a whitening injection treatment, I will maintain the result by drinking L-glutathione and vitaminC. Anybody can help me and advice me?:( (sr if my english is not good:( )

  72. Sharon says:

    Hi. I am deep caramel brown and PROUD!!!!! I despise whitening creams. Many of you people have serious self-hate issues. Don’t you realize that darker skin ages better than white skin? White people pay good money to get tan! I think that very pale skin is unattractive!

  73. iya lobe says:

    plse contact me on facebook.El diamante,i need to b white.please.

  74. Amy Astor says:

    I’m an american living in Asia, I’ve noticed a lot of whitening creams here.

  75. Bek says:

    Hi! I’m new here and m fr SG. I’m very keen to be fairer. Read abt the jab of vit c and Glutathione to be really effective but kinda costly. Normally needs to take up the whole package..
    -anyone wants to share the package?
    -anyone knows where to have more affordable and good jabs?
    -I’m considering of gg to JB to do it as it might be much cheaper.
    I need advice.. Pls help.. My email add is

  76. Stinkygirl says:

    Hi …. I”m curious about this whitenning pills can do, i tried hakubi white c already but no effects on me, currently i am taking ivory caps for one week, and yes i feel my skin softer and i feel my skin became fairer a bit. I took 2 pills per day only, not 6 as sugested in the bottle. But i also use bio oil for body and loccitane product for face. Hopefully this ivory caps things would suit me well

  77. Bre says:

    Can you recommend some pills

  78. Zoe says:

    Hi , I wan to buy ivory whitening pill

  79. JMin says:

    It’s not to “look” white, statments like that are profoundly ignorant to the stereotypical generalization that Asians try to achieve fairer skin to Westernize themselves. It’s all according to beauty standards in Asia as well as the extensive historical and cultural views that fairer skin is considered beautiful becasue back then it was a symbol of wealth and so on. It is good to love yourself for the skin color you have, however please don’t make a ill-conceived statement.

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