Skin whitening injections in Korea – What are its effects?


There are many various types of skin whitening injections in Korea. There are many names these skin whitening injections are referred to such as snow white injection, cinderella injection, garlic injection and licorice injection. While there are many alternatives to skin whitening procedures in dermatology clinics, you can also easily get shots of these injections when you go to internal medicine clinic or family medicine clinic.

Many consider the substance and efficacy of the skin whitening injection to be an ‘all purpose medicine’ since some clinics seem to be packed with patients wanting these injections.

While there are many various skin whitening injections in Korea, we will focus on snow white injection and cinderella injection, what the ingredients are, its effects and side effects, and how it became to be known as an effective skin whitening and beauty treatment.

Snow white skin whitening injection in Korea

In Korea, snow white injection is also referred as ‘Baekok injection’, ‘IU injection’ and ‘Beyonce injection’.

It contains the active ingredient of glutathione and the treatment time for this procedure is short with around 20 minutes. The cost for this treatment is roughly $60 USD.

What is glutathione?

snow white skin whitening injections in Korea

Glutathione is a naturally occurring substance in the human body that acts as an antioxidant which eliminates free radicals that promotes aging. This ingredient also metabolizes many other kinds of substance and controls the physiology of the body. Glutathione has an effect of inhibiting the production of melanin through promoting the activation of other antioxidants such as vitamin C and E and alpha-lipoic acid.

Although glutathione is naturally synthesized in our bodies, the amount of  synthesis continues to drop as we get older.

There are helpful foods that promote increase in glutathione levels. Foods like Brazil nut, walnut and other similar nuts generally contain selenium which can help promote this process. Vitamin C rich fruits such as kiwis, grapefruits, strawberries, and also vitamin E rich produce like spinach, almonds, avocados and olive oil all aid in helping the body to produce glutathione.

KFDA specified efficacy and effectiveness

Glutathione is generally used to improve liver function in patients with alcoholism and chronic liver diseases. It is also administered to prevent neurological diseases that may occur while administering anti-cancer drugs to cancer patients.

General precaution


Glutathione is delivered through I.V fluids and I.V fluids has the advantage of delivering nutrients through the veins to be immediately effective. But administering I.V fluid may put a burden to the cardiovascular system for people with weak heart and kidney functions.

You must inform your doctor if you have severe hyperlipidemia, liver failure, kidney failure, and diabetes to find out if you can be administered the I.V fluids.

Reported side effects

While some people regard skin whitening injections in Korea to be an all purpose medicine, it is not without its side effects. The reported side effects of glutathione are anaphylactoid reaction with pale face, low blood pressure, over reaction with rash all over the body, and abnormal symptoms of the digestive system, such as nausea or vomiting.

Beauty effect of this skin whitening injection in Korea?


It has been observed that the skin becomes whiter after a large dose of glutathione was administered for treatment to patients with liver failure. Because of this observation, glutathione skin whitening effect was discovered while studying the action of glutathione and melanin pigment.

Glutathione naturally exists in our skin cells and it has the effect of suppressing melanin pigment production.

As mentioned before, it also helps to remove free radicals that causes aging.

While there are studies showing glutathione skin whitening effects, it must be pointed out that there are limitations to the size and design of the studies to generalize its effects.*

Before you get excited about it’s wonderful effects, we have to point out that a person with a darker skin does not magically obtain a white skin through the snow white injection. Just as black people cannot become white with injection treatments, the treatment itself is to remove the ‘pathically blackened’ particle pigments. A combination of snow white injection and skin whitening laser or other medical skin care can help ‘improve the skin tone’ depending on the condition of the skin.

Cinderella skin whitenting injection in Korea

Active ingredient of cinderella injection is alpha-lipoic acid and the treatment time is the same as glutathione injection of around 20 minutes. The cost for this injection starts at around $60 USD in Korea.

What is alpha-lipoic acid?


Alpha-lipoic acid is a type of vitamin that is the main ingredient for cinderella injection, and it is administered through intravenous administration. Alpha-lipoic acid has an amazing antioxidant force equal to 400 times the vitamin C or E which inhibits the increase of free radicals in our body.

However unlike vitamin C or E, it penetrates well into lipid tissue and acts as a strong antioxidant.

KFDA specified efficacy and effectiveness

Cinderella injection is used for cases of leigh syndrome where severe physical labor increases the demand for alpha-lipoic acid in the body.

General precaution

As mentioned before, I.V fluids has the advantage of delivering nutrients through the veins to be immediately effective. But for people with weak heart and kidney functions, intravenous administration may have a burden to the cardiovascular system.

If you have severe hyperlipidaemia, liver failure, kidney failure, and diabetes, you must inform your doctor about this to ask if you can be administered with I.V fluids.

Reported side effects

Side effects such as reduced appetite, nausea or diarrhoea, skin irritations, headaches, dizziness, and bumpy and/or fast heart beats have been reported.

Beauty effect of this skin whitening injection in Korea?


While general antioxidants only selectively act on either water soluble or fat soluble parts of cells, alpha-lipoic acid produces antioxidant actions both in water soluble and fat soluble areas. Due to this, alpha-lipoic acid is known as a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin C or E. This antioxidant effect is so powerful that this treatment can be used for fatigue recovery, anti-oxidation, supplemental treatment of obesity, improvement of sexual function, and prevention of skin aging.

Studies have shown that it is effective in curbing the increase in body fat by promoting the generation of thermal energy. Further studies have shown that the effects of removing swelling by promoting blood circulation are just temporary weight loss. So more research is needed on the long term effects of alpha-lipoic acid.**


*Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2016 May-Jun;82(3):262-72. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.179088.

**Obes Rev. 2017 May;18(5):594-601. doi: 10.1111/obr.12528. Epub 2017 Mar 13.

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