‘What’ and ‘why’: Face whitening injections


With Pakistan’s ever growing obsession of ‘gora’ complexion, new ways are constantly being discovered to achieve the perfect pink-white sheen that can potentially help us score amazing rishtas and deem us superior over the unworthy aka the ‘sanwalas/kaalas’.

From fairness creams to abhorrent home remedies, our mothers and grandmothers have tried every last resource at their disposal to turn us into Snow Whites. But with the development of non-invasive cosmetic techniques, will our mothers be just as inclined for us to try, for example, a glutathione whitening injection?

Glutathione, essentially an antioxidant, is used to clear toxins from the body has a potent side effect of inhibiting melanin production in the skin. Melanin is a pigment that gives skin its color. The more the melanin in your body, the darker your skin will appear. Hence, by discovering the use of glutathione as a whitener, our dream of becoming the ‘ideal’ girl is just a syringe away. Glutathione is used to treat many skin blemishes such as freckles, age spots, uneven skin tone and pigmentation. It is also used on people with vitiligo who have abnormal white patches on their skin due to genetic mutations.

These days, every dermatologist in Pakistan has access to these face whitening injections. Vanity and prejudice has taken a new, more advanced avatar where women feel it completely okay to spend thousands of rupees on a full body or face whitening course. Glutathione injections come in a 15-injection package for 15 consecutive weeks for a quick, over night fair complexion. It is advised to eat fresh fruits, vegetables and increase water intake in the weeks during and following the treatment for better results. Supplements may also be prescribed. There are many other types of whitening injections that use other chemicals such as hydroquinone, vitamin C derivatives and others.

Glutathione does have its advantages. For people with skin discoloration disorders, this is nothing short of a blessing. Where for many it’s a way to make them more ‘desirable’, for others it gives them a chance to feel normal, to mingle in society without being self-conscious and being branded a ‘freak’. The effectiveness is a hundred percent guaranteed and there have been no long term side effects associated with it. It is also available in soaps, creams and lotion forms.

On the other hand, many unqualified doctors present in Pakistan today are making their own version of glutathione. This may be poisonous, concentrated or not approved by the FDA. These fake whiteners do what a whitening injection is supposed to do but with many side effects – one of which may be cancer. Bruising, pain and redness are common side effects at the site of injection. Hypersensitivity may occur if the doctor is careless or if you are allergic to one of the chemicals present in the preparations. There have been reported cases of skin poisoning associated with whitening injections by unqualified doctors. Other than that, these injections don’t come very cheap. With 15 sittings per week and thousands of rupees per injection plus doctors fees, you might as well buy yourself another kidney while you are at it.

After presenting both sides of the story, I leave you to be the judge. Would you prefer spending a bunch of money on shams as such or would you rather take vacation? Would you rather subject yourself to all this pain due to societal pressures or would you rather learn to be happy in your own skin? Let’s work towards making our society less biased and vane and more accepting. Appreciating that beauty comes in many forms and colors will save us all a lot of time and money.