Tranexamic Acid: Is this the solution to your melasma?
Hyperpigmentation is a common and frustrating issue, with 90% of dark spots and patches occurring in women. And when it comes to fighting off pigmentation issues, there’s no doubt that acids have transformed our skincare routines for the better. But, while we’re all familiar with glycolic, salicylic and hyaluronic acids, one ingredient that doesn’t get enough credit is Tranexamic Acid, which has been getting a lot of attention in the skincare sphere as of late. So, what exactly is Tranexamic Acid and is it the solution to your pigmentation problems? This is everything that you need to know.
What is Tranexamic Acid?
Tranexamic Acid is an oestrogen receptor blocker and a derivative of the amino acid lysine, which was originally used during surgeries to reduce heavy bleeding. Then in 1979, doctors began to notice that those treated with the acid saw visible improvements in skin discolouration. Some practitioners have even found that it can clear melasma almost completely when combined with topical hydroquinone and retinoids.
It can be applied topically to the skin and even taken orally in some cases when prescribed by a doctor.
How does it work when used to treat hyperpigmentation?
Unlike retinol, Tranexamic Acid decreases rather than increases the skin’s sensitivity to its number one ager – the sun. It also blocks the transfer of pigment to the surface of the skin, minimising hormonal and genetic melasma as well as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that can develop as a result of acne and pigment caused by overexposure to the sun. It also reduces inflammation, a key factor in the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which leads to an increase in fine lines and wrinkles.
Reduced inflammation also means reduced acne breakouts and rosacea flare-ups, making Tranexamic Acid highly beneficial for many skin types. And, if that wasn’t enough, this powerhouse ingredient helps restore the skin’s barrier, resulting in plumper and hydrated skin.
How to use it in your skincare
Tranexamic Acid effectively evens out skin tone, firms and brightens the complexion, and it doesn’t leave the skin sensitive to the sun, meaning it can be used both morning and night for best results. Since it’s reasonably gentle on its own, you can combine it with other skincare ingredients to maximise the benefits. It’s very effective in conjunction with retinol and can also be combined with in-clinic treatments like chemical peels, which are an excellent method for treating hyperpigmentation.
In topical form, we love the SkinCeuticals Discolouration Defense, which is supported by some impressive statistics. In a 12-week clinical study, results show up to 71% improvement in the appearance of post-blemish marks and up to 46% improvement in skin discolouration. Plus, it also includes other impressive pigment-busting ingredients such as Hepes and Niacinamide, which target dark spots to reveal a brighter, more even complexion.
In some patients, particularly melasma suffers, Tranexamic Acid is more effective when delivered orally. So, it’s crucial to seek the advice of a skin expert in order to understand the best course of treatment for you.
To find out more about tackling hyperpigmentation and melasma, click here to book a consultation with one of our expert practitioners.
Enjoyed this? Sign up to our mailing list for weekly tips, tricks and skinspiration from our medical director, Dr Sophie Shotter.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.