What is Tranexamic Acid? (Benefits, How to Use and More)

The newest solution to get rid of dark spots.

tranexamic acid

Acids have been popular among many other skincare products such as hyaluronic, glycolic and salicylic acid. These have changed our skin for the better and do a great job at fighting off wrinkles, controlling oil production, exfoliating and reducing acne. Tranexamic acid is the newest acid on the market. It is used to treat pigmentation and get rid of dark spots while brightening the skin.

What is Tranexamic Acid?

Tranexamic acid, a synthetic derivative of the amino acid lysine, has been used by doctors since the 1960s to treat excessive blood loss from surgery, dental procedures and nosebleeds. 

However, in 1979, physicians accidentally began noticing that patients who had been treated with tranexamic acid were seeing visible improvement in skin discoloration. Plus, while some acids are better to use alone, it pairs beautifully with other brightening and skin-repairing saviors like vitamin C or your favorite SPF, which will help prevent damage and discoloration right away. 

Dermatologists have just recently started using tranexamic acid as a treatment for melasma, the patchy brown skin discoloration that occurs on the face. Even though there are a few studies showing promising results in using tranexamic acid to reduce skin pigmentation, the treatment has not yet been verified in any major trials. 

Benefits of Tranexamic Acid

Tranexamic acid gets rid of any hyperpigmentation. This includes the brown or red skin staining left behind by skin inflammation. It can be from acne, which some may refer to as surface acne scarring.

The acid also prevents the appearance of dark spots by removing the excess melanin formed. It has effects on the skin as a whole but specifically regulates melanin overproduction. In other words, it targets dark spots specifically. Tranexamic acid does this by blocking the hormones that cause pigment in the skin. 

When used regularly, tranexamic acid helps minimize the spots that appear when spending too much time in the sun, which develops as part of the natural aging process of the skin.

Tranexamic acid provides a powerful and specific anti-inflammatory action as well, by inhibiting the tyrosinase synthesis in melanocytes. It blocks the transfer of pigment from melanocytes to keratinocytes in the epidermis at the same time. This helps calm the skin and restore the skin barrier.

How to Use

You can mix tranexamic acid with other skincare products for maximum benefits since it is a gentle ingredient. When you combine it with products that have vitamin C or kojic acid, it maximizes its brightening power and you are guaranteed to be getting the most out of the ingredient.

Best Products with Tranexamic Acid

1. Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Serum ($98) 

The SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum is best to get rid of any pigmentation. This multi-phase treatment is clinically proven to minimize the appearance of various types of skin discoloration, such as brown patches and post-blemish marks.

There is a collection of ingredients that work together to brighten and balance the complexion. 1.8% Tranexamic Acid contains anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the skin and help to replenish and defend the natural skin barrier. 5% Niacinamide, a vitamin that boosts restorative qualities, aids in minimizing enlarged pores and the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles while fighting against dull, lack-luster skin. 5% HEPES, or Sulfonic Acid, provides gentle exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and encourage a more even skin tone.

The balancing serum strives to correct dark spots and effectively fights other areas of discoloration on the face, resulting in more radiant, healthy-looking skin. Revitalizing and revivifying, the lightweight but powerful formula is ideal for layering other skincare products without congesting the pores. 

2. The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment ($15)

This is a brightening overnight mask with a gel-like formula that contains 2% tranexamic acid along with 2% acai berry extract to promote even skin tone and 2% vitamin C derivative for extra brightening and antioxidant power

3. Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel ($65)

The Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel works to accelerate cellular turnover while delivering a burst of precious oils to keep skin supple, soft and luminous. It has a daily bi-phase formula and it is an innovative peel with three types of acids: alpha-hydroxy, beta-hydroxy and tranexamic. These gently dissolve all of the dead cells that are on the skin’s surface while purging your pores of embedded impurities such as blackheads, brightening dark spots and discoloration. 

Then, to buffer the skin-sensitizing effect of the peeling, the second phase boosts a replenishing buffet of adaptogenic holy basil. This is a potent source of free radical-scavenging antioxidants. There are also omega-rich oils to help bolster skin’s barrier function and keep your complexion content. 

4. Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment ($88)

The Pro Strenght Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment by Peter Thomas Roth contains a 15% brightening complex. The treatment is a lightweight cream that helps with skincare concerns such as dullness, uneven texture and acne and blemishes. It includes niacinamide, tranexamic acid, kojic acid and alpha-arbutin pentapeptide. 

The niacinamide helps reduce the look of discoloration and uneven skin tone. Then, tranexamic acid helps reduce the look of dark patches and post-blemish marks. This is all while kojic acid help enhance visible brightening benefits as well.

5. Good Molecules Discoloration Correction Serum ($12)

This Good Molecules Discoloration Correction Serum is a more affordable option for tranexamic acid. It visibly improves the appearance of dark spots, acne scars, melasma and sun damage. The formula incorporates tranexamic acid with hyaluronic acid for moisture and niacinamide for both brightening and hydration. 

The tranexamic acid sinks deep into the skin to help fade hyperpigmentation. The 4% niacinamide also works to improve the appearance of uneven skin tone and texture, dullness and enlarged pores. This combination of ingredients helps fade discoloration, moisturizes dehydrated skin and brightens a dull complexion. 

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