Among the many creams, masks, gels and other miracle workers designed to whiten the skin, a surprising product lays hidden: the skin whitening pill. Unlike the topical agents commonly used to achieve the sought-after white skin in countries of the Far East and South Asia, whitening pills claim to work from within the body, transporting their active ingredients to the dermis via the blood.
Skin Whitening Pill Ingredients
The most common ingredient in the skin whitening pill is glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that protects cells from free radicals. In addition to deteriorating the structure of the skin, free radicals contribute to loss of elasticity and resilience. The presence of antioxidants in topical skin care products is said to have a reverse effect on the damage caused by the free radicals, and is also thought to prevent future damage from occurring.
Skin whitening pills, therefore, claim to protect the skin from free radical damage, too. They also promise to reverse the production rate of melanin, thereby transforming dark pigment to a lighter shade.
Most skin whitening pills also contain vitamin C, an additive which is said to work well in conjunction with glutathione. An additional antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, assists in the anti-aging process and increases the body's natural production of glutathione. A final component, zinc aspartate, increases the body's natural metabolic processes.
First and foremost, it is important to remember that skin whitening pills are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Though it can be argued that these pills are supplements just like any vitamin found at the drugstore, it is still beneficial to keep in mind that negative side effects are possible with any substance - FDA-approved or not - applied to or ingested in the body. Consult with your doctor if you have a history of medical problems or have any questions or concerns.
The manufacturers of skin whitening pills recommend that users abide by the following tips in order to achieve best results:
- Certain foods may stimulate the development of pigment. These foods should be consumed in moderation, lest they interfere with the absorption and function of the pills. They include bananas, pumpkin, beef, almonds, lima beans, peanuts, egg yolk, soy sauce, dark fish and meats, seafood, avocado, lima beans and pickled herring.
- Other foods promote the whitening process. These include apples, grapes, yogurt, milk, onions, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, Brussels sprouts, horseradish, turnips, asparagus and egg whites.
- Soy-based products contain genistein, an isoflavone that acts as an antioxidant. It has also been shown to mimic the effects of estrogen in the human body. Genistein is said to increase melanin production and have a similar effect on tyrosinase, which are the enzymes of the skin's pigment cells. Therefore, it is recommended that soy foods be consumed in moderation.
- Foods containing coloring of any sort are to be avoided, as they contain elevated amounts of pigment.
- Coffee, tea, diet sodas and sugar-free foods all contribute to the skin's pigmentation. The aspartame in the latter two products may increase the production of eumelanin (a type of melanin found in human skin and hair; it is deficient in albinos).
- Stay out of the sunlight if possible. If exposed to sunlight, be sure to use sunscreen at all times.
- Exfoliate the skin regularly. Removal of dead skin cells and debris contributes to a smoother, renewed surface, which in turn is thought to "accept" the benefits of the skin whitening pills more readily.
Skin whitening pills are generally hard to find in most parts of the Western world. They are readily available in drugstores in the Far East and South Asia. They can be ordered on the Internet from a variety of sources, including Amazon.