What Tranexamic Acid Is, and How It Benefits Your Skin
We bet it sounded strange to most of you the first time you encountered acid as the key ingredient of a skincare product. Before you become a skincare expert, acid sounds like something you probably want to keep as far away from your face as possible. Acids are all the rage now — hello, Alpha Hydroxy Acids — and can work wonders for your complexion.
You’re probably familiar with Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid, and even Kojic Acid. But what about the new kid on the block? We’re talking about Tranexamic Acid.
What Is Tranexamic Acid?
Tranexamic Acid is actually a synthetic molecule. It’s made to be very similar to the amino acid Lysine, which you may or may not remember from high school science class, is one of our body’s building blocks. It helps your body build muscle, absorb calcium and more importantly, it’s been shown to help your body build collagen. The more collagen your skin has, the better your skin’s firmness and elasticity will be.
Tranexamic Acid itself doesn’t actually interact with your body’s collagen production — but it’s nice to know that it’s similar to a natural part of our body that helps make our skin stay glowing and gorgeous.
Instead, when applied to the skin, Tranexamic Acid gets in the way of the process that causes pigmentation. By interfering with your skin’s ability to create pigment, Tranexamic Acid can help even out your complexion and generally brighten everything up.
What Can You Use It For?
Because it gets involved in the pigmentation process and slows down your body’s melanin production, Tranexamic Acid can help reduce the appearance of dark marks caused by too much pigment in your skin.
There are so many different things that can cause dark marks and blemishes on your skin, including hyperpigmentation, melasma, dead skin cell build-up and sunspots… just to name a few. So many of us will struggle with dark spots throughout our lives! So it’s easy to see why products that promise to help lighten dark areas and even out your skin tone are so popular.
You may be wondering why you haven’t heard of Tranexamic Acid, especially if hyperpigmentation is a particular area of concern for you. This is because it’s relatively new to the wide, wonderful world of skincare. But when we say it’s new, we don’t mean it’s new new. Tranexamic Acid isn’t a new thing in general.
Tranexamic Acid is used in other cases to help your blood clot. You may have been exposed to it if you experience heavy periods, or even without knowing it — as a common ingredient in post-dental surgery mouthwash. It’s only recently that its ability to help our complexions has come to the forefront.
So if you’re worried about trying something too new to be fully understood, you can let those fears fall to the wayside. Although it may be new to your face, it’s been around for a while and is known to be safe for use.
How Do You Use Tranexamic Acid?
Like most ingredients, there are lots of different ways you can work Tranexamic Acid into your routine. But first, let’s clear up a common point of confusion — Tranexamic Acid isn’t a chemical exfoliator. Because it has the word ‘acid’ in it and is often used in products that tout the ability to “brighten” and “even out” your skin tone, it’s super easy to get confused… because most chemicals exfoliants advertise the same benefits.
Tranexamic Acid, as we’ve discussed, is all about pigment. It’s great for dark spots, but if you’re looking to target a texture problem with your skin or even acne, it might not be the best ingredient.
This isn’t to say it will hurt your complexion — it just isn’t the best tool in your box for these problems. But if your problem is hyperpigmentation, age spots, sun spots or even acne scars… that’s more Tranexamic Acid’s vibe. This isn’t to say that some products don’t do double duty and offer chemical exfoliation and the brightening qualities of Tranexamic Acid, of course! It’s just important to know what you’re getting into.
You can find Tranexamic Acid in a variety of products. Our Advanced Even Tone Day and Night Treatment offers a significant three percent dose of Tranexamic Acid to help reduce the appearance of dark spots and really get your hyperpigmentation under control. You can also get Tranexamic Acid in creams, serums and even as an additive to some moisturizers.
Because Tranexamic Acid is only starting to make a name for itself in the skincare world, you might have to search a little to find a product that includes it. But it can be worth the search! Not only is Tranexamic Acid thought to be effective at improving the look of hyperpigmentation, but unlike other ingredients like Hydroquinone and Cysteamine, which are generally recommended for temporary use until your dark marks improve, you can use Tranexamic Acid long term safely.
Suppose you struggle with types of hyperpigmentation that tend to recur. In that case, Tranexamic Acid is a great option because it’s not as harsh on your skin as other skin brightening alternatives — so if you have to bring it back again and again, you won’t be doing damage.
In addition to creams, serums and moisturizers, Tranexamic Acid can be given as an injection directly into the skin. You would, of course, want to pursue this line of treatment only with a professional and on the recommendation of a trusted dermatologist.
Tranexamic Acid injections to treat hyperpigmentation have shown some great results, without any negative side effects. So if you’ve been struggling with Melasma or other dark marks for a long time or just haven’t had much success with other types of treatment, it might be worth asking a trusted professional about Tranexamic Acid injections!
What If You Have Sensitive Skin?
It shouldn’t be an issue. Unlike other acids that we apply to our skin, Tranexamic Acid doesn’t tend to have this effect. It isn’t likely to make your skin sensitive or irritated over continued use, either. In general, as far as side effects go, Tranexamic Acid is pretty low-key.
There is, however, one limitation. Suppose your interest in skin brightening ingredients is to improve your overall complexion and not because you’re struggling with hyperpigmentation, melasma or age spots (among other things).
In that case, Tranexamic Acid probably isn’t for you. It won’t be as useful to your skincare routine as an Alpha Hydroxy Acid, and overall you might not notice results. Because again, Tranexamic Acid interrupts your skin’s ability to create pigment. So you’ll want to be sure that’s actually your problem before shelling out for a new skin product you don’t actually need.
Do You Need to Wear Sunscreen?
This, again, can be confusing if you’re more familiar with Alpha Hydroxy Acids. When you start using other types of acid on your skin, it’s generally recommended that you get serious about your SPF. Because these types of acid can make your skin a bit more sensitive and are also meant to help slough off dead skin cells and even chemically remove your top layer of skin, you want to make sure you’re protected.
Because Tranexamic Acid changes your skin’s pigmenting process but doesn’t necessarily affect your skin on a surface level, using it shouldn’t make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage, which is especially good if you’re using it to treat sunspots.
That being said, you should always wear sunscreen no matter what the weather is, every day, forever! It’s your best defense against premature aging and a whole long list of other skin complaints.
Can Tranexamic Acid Be Preventative?
The short answer is yes! If you are prone to hyperpigmentation, regular use of Tranexamic Acid can definitely help to keep your skin’s pigmentation situation in line.
People with darker skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation in general, so if you feel like you’re constantly winning small battles with dark spot breakouts and never quite winning the war, Tranexamic Acid might be perfect for you.
While many of us are familiar with the sort of acids meant to help resurface our skin, these aren’t the only acids that can help your complexion!. Tranexamic Acid boasts some awe-inspiring benefits if you’re struggling with any type of hyperpigmentation, without any side effects to note just yet.
If you’re looking to lock in the most glowing, even-looking skin of your life and ready to say goodbye to dark spots and hyperpigmentation, finding a product with Tranexamic Acid can help you put the past behind you and look forward to your bright, bright future.