What is Tranexamic Acid?
Tranexamic acid is a synthetic derivative of lysine, an amino acid.
What Does Tranexamic Acid Treat?
Thanks to its blood-clotting properties, tranexamic acid has been used in the medical field to treat excessive blood loss from trauma, surgery, postpartum bleeding, and heavy menstruation. Recently, tranexamic acid has become a popular ingredient in products used to treat hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Hyperpigmentation is caused by excessive melanin in the skin. This is usually caused by UV light, which activates plasmin, which increases tyrosinase activity which boosts melanin production. However, studies show that tranexamic acid can inhibit this UV-induced melanin synthesis. This works by blocking the interactions between keratinocytes (skin cells) and melanocytes (melanin-producing cells).
How to Use Tranexamic Acid
Many cosmetic products like serums, dark spot treatments, acne stickers, brightening gel, and hyperpigmentation treatments contain tranexamic acid. When choosing a product that contains tranexamic acid, look for one that lists the concentration. The ideal concentration range is around .5 to 2.5%. Be warned, some products do have a sulfur-like smell.
For best results, your dermatologist may recommend pairing it with other brighteners like topical retinoids, kojic acid, vitamin C, or topical hydroquinone. Add it to your morning and evening skincare routine, after toner but before moisturizer, and don’t forget to use sunscreen. It is important to be consistent and you should begin to see improvements in 8-12 weeks.
Precautions and Side Effects
Tranexamic acid is safe for all skin types, complexions, and it is safe to use during pregnancy. It is less irritating than many other dark-spot treatment ingredients and even better, it does not have the risk of ochronosis. This is a rare paradoxical pigmentation of the skin that can occur with other hyperpigmentation treatments like hydroquinone. Furthermore, there are no limits to how long you can use tranexamic acid.