I spend a lot of time in the skin care sphere – like A LOT of time – and I’ve seen countless trends come and go in that time. 24K gold face masks, incredibly painful chemical peels, jade rolling – I’m pretty sure at this point us humans have put just about every possible mineral, chemical and nutrient on our collective faces.
Having said that, I think we are entering a new world for skin care – one that will provide ingredients that can last the test of time – as new ingredients are popping up all over the place like, kojic acid, Niacinamide , and it is heralded by one of my new favorite treatments – tranexamic acid.
This acid works wonders for skin discoloration and promotes brightness of the skin – some dermatologists even consider it one of the best plays against hyperpigmentation and other discoloration issues.
Able to change the look of your skin in just three weeks – or even a week as this personal account documents – you can expect results quite quickly as compared to other skin care regimens.
This acid is perfect for those who have melasma, those with hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, or spotty skin that needs to be evened out.
What Exactly Is Tranexamic Acid?
Simply put, tranexamic acid is a synthetic acid that is derived from lysine. It works by disrupting two pathways in skin that can lead to skin discolorations as well as melasma.
Tranexamic acid was actually originally intended to reduce blood loss in patients that were undergoing surgery or experiencing menorrhagia.
While administering the treatment, the doctor’s began to notice that patients who were being treated with this acid were seeing visible improvements in their skin with regards to skin discoloration and uneven tone.
Ingredient Type: Acid
Main Benefits: Improves skin discoloration, brightens and evens skin tone, reduce acne scars
Preferred Skin Type: Overall, tranexamic acid is safe for all types of skin. If you have super sensitive skin, test a patch on the inside of your wrist to be safe.
Adjunct Treatments: Vitamin C, Sunscreen, Kojic Acid, Vitamin E, Retinol
When To Use: Once or twice a day, morning and night. Always use with an SPF sunscreen
Avoid: Using multiple different acids at one time, can overly dry skin
How Effective is Tranexamic Acid?
Recent studies have shown that using topical tranexamic acid in amounts of 2 – 5% rivals the results of hydroquinone – which has long been considered the top product for skin discoloration.
Elements in our surroundings, including UV exposure from the sun, toxins in our environment, prescription drugs, and more can trigger inflammatory mediators within the skin – a process that eventually ends with the skin producing more melanin and therefore more color within the skin.
In small amounts, melanin is protective and a positive benefit, but in excess amounts it collect in the skin and show as dark patches, spots or an overall darker complexion.
Tranexamic acid works to disrupt this pathway and reduce the amount of melanin being produced by your skin in response to environmental triggers.
Tranexamic has been shown to be very effective, on par with hydroquinone but with significantly fewer side effects.
Unlike some other acids in the skin care space, tranexamic acid has been shown to work very well with other treatments like retinol, Vitamin C or sunscreen. This makes it a superior addition to your skin care regimen to help correct dark spots and melasma.
Our Top Tranexamic Acid Serum Picks
SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense
Our #1 pick, this potent serum is a daily use treatment that can be layered under makeup and sunscreens. Featuring a who’s who of powerful dark spot correctors, including kojic acid, tranexamic acid and niacinamide, Discoloration Defense will have your skin looking brighter and more even toned in as little as 2 weeks.
To be used twice daily for maximum results, simply apply 3 – 5 drops of the serum to the face, or you can mix it with your other skin care treatments. Follow with a sunscreen to protect your face from UV damage and to enhance the effectiveness of this product.
Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum
This non-hydroquinone, retinol free treatment is perfect for those that want to improve the texture and color of their skin but have bad reactions to the aforementioned ingredients. To be used both morning and evening, this serum is perfect for use under makeup or sunscreens.
Lytera has been shown to reduce the appearance of stubborn hyperpigmentation across nearly all skin types and tones. It is also non-comedogenic so it won’t cause breakouts.
On top of all this, Lytera also works great along with other skin therapy approaches such as chemical peels, laser treatments and hydroquinone regimens.
Clé de Peau Beauté - Brightening Serum
Clé de Peau Beauté
Don’t let this luxury skin care formula’s price scare you away – this is an all in one formula that works against skin discoloration on all levels. Created to address the appearance of dark spots, dullness, and uneven skin tone.
Complete with Vitamin C Ethyl, Artemsia Extract, 4MSK, tranexamic acid, and much much more, this treatment is silky smooth and chock full of powerful treatments to reveal beautiful, glowing skin.
Skin Brightening & Anti Aging Serum
JJLabs Skin Care Solutions
This is our personal favorite budget option for those looking for a brightening skin serum without the big price tag.
Another great thing about JJ Labs Skin Solutions is that each order is made right after purchase and quickly shipped to you, giving you the freshest possible serum for your skin.
Combining Vitamin C, Vitamin E, tranexamic acid and licorice, this serum conbimes all the foundational ingredients you need to start seeing better skin today.
Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment Inky List
The Inkey List
Another great treatment that won’t break the bank, Inky List’s hyperpigmentation treatment is an overnight gel that contains tranexamic acid, acai berry extract and vitamin C derivative for an even skin tone and brighter skin overall.
Meant to be applied as a thin layer and as one of your last skin care steps right before bed, you’ll wake up to a clearer face and quickly fading dark spots.
PETER THOMAS ROTHPRO Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment
Peter Thomas Roth
Highlighted with three of my favorite up and coming ingredients, this discoloration cream works to reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone that plagues even the most sun consious.
From their website: “In a 6-week consumer panel study on 34 women ranging in age from 29 to 64, users agreed:
– Dark spots and sunspots were less visible
– Skin looked brighter and less dull
– Skin clarity was improved”
If you are having trouble with skin discoloration of any sort, I highly recommend giving tranexamic acid a try. We’ve heard great things about this acid and feel like it has a ton of potential for those suffering from dark spots.
Have you tried a product containing tranexamic acid? Let us know down in the comments or shoot us an email and let us know how it worked for you!