I’m 33, female and from the Philippines. I developed dark patches on my forehead and cheek bones during my last pregnancy. I have also noticed my complexion has become darker. Is glutathione good for complexion?

Although your question suggests you are suffering from two issues, both can be considered belonging to the family of skin pigmented disorders. Dark patches on your face and forehead are most likely melasma that affects about 20 per cent of pregnant women of Asian origin. Among other causative factors of melasma are genetic predisposition, hormonal disturbances, for example presence of polycystic ovaries, use of oral contraceptive pills and excessive exposure to sunlight.

About 10 per cent of women sufferers develop thyroid gland disorder at some stage.

The treatment choice is much dependent on the clinically determined Melasma grade. Grade 1 – 2 cases can be treated by use of topical skin lightening cream, gels or lotions. Whereas Grade 3 – 4 cases do require a more professional treatment approach, including use of various chemical peels alone or in combination with specific skin lightening lasers.

As for generalised darkening of your body complexion, in some cases pregnancy can cause some degrees of skin darkening, particularly in Asian women. However, it mainly targets certain parts of the body. Then there is skin complexion darkening caused by repeated sun exposure.

Among Asians, skin complexion can be an inherited genetic trait.

Now regarding glutathione. Of late, glutathione use in Asia has sharply increased, which is becoming a cause for concern. Based on the fact that glutathione users can see their skin becoming smoother, fresher and more radiant, its use for complexion whitening started becoming popular.

The mechanism of glutathione effect as a skin complexion lightening agent is not fully understood yet.

In most countries, a low-dose therapy at short intervals has been allowed with strict condition to be administered in properly licensed practices under direct supervision of qualified physicians. However, it is important to mention that frequent intensive (high-dose) intravenous glutathione therapy for skin lightening purposes has not yet been fully approved by the FDA.

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir is a Dubai-based dermatologist. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.