Gone are the days of acids stirring up scary images of bubbling chemicals and damaged skin! With the rise of skin-friendly acids in recent decades, many have hopped on the bandwagon to enjoy the ride to better, healthier skin. Salicylic Acid and Azelaic Acid, in particular, are praised for exfoliating the skin and treating acne. Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid are go-tos for addressing aging, wrinkles, and age spots. And Hyaluronic Acid – although technically a different kind of acid – is topping the charts for its moisturising and hydrating abilities. While these acids aren’t completely free from criticism and possible side effects, loyalists can proudly testify to their game-changing benefits. And it seems the game is only getting better as we welcome another new kid on the block: Tranexamic Acid!
The latest addition to the roster of skincare acids has been around for decades but only recently entered the limelight. Those early to the Tranexamic train swear by its ability to brighten the skin with unprecedented efficacy, making it a good treatment for melasma and hyperpigmentation. And if you’re someone with these skin issues, then you know that daily applications of foundation won’t cut it forever! Well, worry no more, because we may have found a long-term solution to those pesky brown spots. In this article, you’ll get to know skincare’s latest wonder ingredient and its promising effects on melasma.
What is Tranexamic Acid?
Let’s start with a fun fact! Did you know that Tranexamic Acid wasn’t initially intended for skin care? It first rose to fame in the World Health Organization’s list of Essential Medicines as a medication to control bleeding. However, in 1979, a medical professional accidentally discovered the skin benefits of tranexamic acid when a patient he was treating for chronic urticaria also experienced an improvement in skin discolouration. Now we know who to thank for this brightening breakthrough!
Fast forward to today, it is now a safe and effective ingredient to treat a variety of problems, both skin and non-skin alike. And at the risk of sounding like die-hard fan girls, we’ll go on record to say this: Tranexamic Acid may well be a miracle for mankind! And by miracle, we mean everything from alleviating menstrual cramps to improving skin tone to stopping excessive bleeding during surgery. But let’s stick to the reason you’re here in the first place: Skin benefits!
Benefits of Tranexamic Acid in Skin Care
Tranexamic Acid has quickly progressed from a staple in the medical field to a buzzword in the world of beauty! It is now found in retail skin care products offering lightening benefits. In fact, it is seen by many as a worthy alternative to Hydroquinone, a long-standing favorite among brightening ingredients in the US. Although effective, Hydroquinone is used to controversy. It poses damaging side effects if used without the supervision of a skincare expert. And although we’d hate to admit, we can personally attest to this! I’m getting flashbacks of my younger years and my painful obsession with Hydroquinone. Yikes! Handle your skin with care, ladies! Luckily for us, we now have Tranexamic Acid to help us with that. Here’s a quick rundown of how it’s lightening properties can improve our skin:
- Reduce dark spots
- Lighten skin discolouration
- Even out skin tone
- Calm and soothe skin inflammation
- Brighten overall complexion
How Does Tranexamic Acid Work on Hyperpigmentation and Melasma?
Because of these benefits, people dealing with hyperpigmentation and melasma have resulted in it as a safe and easily accessible treatment for their skin discoloration. However, keep in mind that melasma and hyperpigmentation are NOT the same. While both manifest dark skin patches and discolouration, melasma is generally harder to treat. Make sure to consult your dermatologist or skin therapist to know your exact condition. This will help you seek the best possible treatment for your problem.
- Hyperpigmentation is caused by sun exposure.
- Melasma is caused by both sun exposure and hormonal changes. Hence, the possibility of melasma during pregnancy and menopause. Some cases of melasma affect deeper skin layers.
Whatever the case may be, Tranexamic Acid may help to a certain degree, if not completely. Here’s how it works in a nutshell!
- We are all born with melanin, which is the pigment responsible for the colour of our skin, hair, and eyes.
- Certain factors like the sun, inflammation, and estrogen hormones trigger the production of melanin in our skin. And when too much of it is produced, hyperpigmentation and melasma happen!
- This is where Tranexamic Acid comes in. When applied to our skin, either topically or internally, it inhibits the production of these melanin pigments at the topmost layer. Thus, the lightening of our dark spots!
While many clinical studies support the use of Tranexamic Acid for hyperpigmentation and melasma, it is always best to consult a dermatologist or skin specialist before incorporating any new ingredient or product into your skincare routine. That said, here are the most common applications of Tranexamic Acid to address your skin discolouration problems.
Topical skin care products with Tranexamic Acid
You can find Tranexamic Acid in just about any skincare product these days – bath soaps, serums, peels, toners, and moisturizers. As an added benefit, many brands pair it with other brightening ingredients like Vitamin C and SPF for a more holistic approach to tackling skin discolouration from sun exposure.
As a topical application, it is generally safe for all skin types and colours with no known adverse effects or contraindications. In fact, even pregnant women can use Tranexamic Acid! However, take note that it will ultimately depend on the product’s formulation. Some people experience temporary irritation, dryness, and flaky skin, which may be due to other ingredients. If you have sensitive skin, start by researching the right products and doing a patch test before using.
Oral and Intradermal Tranexamic Acid
Apart from topical skincare products, Tranexamic Acid is also popular in the form of oral supplements and intradermal injections. Studies show that both help in the treatment of melasma with high levels of efficacy and safety. They usually contain higher concentrations, so consult a professional before incorporating Tranexamic Acid through these methods. If you will be taking this medication for a long period of time, we recommend getting an ophthalmic check up as well. Although rare, some people have experienced visual impairment, vision blurred, and impaired colour vision.
And since we’re in the topic of transparency and safety, here are some contraindications when using oral and intradermal Tranexamic Acid.
- Personal or family history of coagulopathy
- Hypersensitivity to tranexamic acid or any of its constituents
- History of convulsions
- Venous thromboembolism
- Pulmonary embolism
- Severe renal insufficiency
- Ischaemic heart disease
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Fibrinolytic conditions (the breakdown of fibrin that allows for clotting) due to consumption coagulopathy
Lovoir Beauty Treatments for Melasma
Overall, Tranexamic Acid can be an effective solution for the treatment of hyperpigmentation and melasma. Oral, intradermal, and topical applications are generally safe so long as it is done under the supervision of a clinician or a qualified skin therapist.
Here at Lovoir Beauty, we offer one-on-one consultations with our skin experts. Let us know about your hyperpigmentation or melasma condition, and we’ll assess if Tranexamic Acid is the best route for you. As an alternative, we can recommend the best treatments for melasma that have proven to be just as effective (or even more!). Book a consultation with us today, and we’ll work to give you the best results!