Ever been scared of using a new acid? We tend to fear the application of acids because acid sounds scary but then there are some acids that can instead decrease sun sensitivity along with brightening the skin. Interesting, right? If you’ve not guessed already, it is Tranexamic acid. For all the right reasons, we want to throw some limelight on it and scream out the reason we love it. Learn with us all about Tranexamic acid, its benefits, how to layer, who can use it and much more.
What is Tranexamic acid?
Tranexamic acid is nothing but a synthetic derivative of an amino acid called lysine. Just as in the good ol’days it was used in oral treatment to reduce bleeding during the heavy menstrual phase, trauma, major accidents, etc. It works by blocking the formation of melanin and also the transfer of this pigment to the skin layer. This is why it is widely used in treating and preventing hyperpigmentation, marks, etc.
It is also widely prescribed to brighten the skin and is touted as a rival of hydroquinone which is banned in certain parts of the world as an over-the-counter product. Dermatologists have been loving this ingredient due to its safety profile and how patients have been tolerating the ingredient well. In case, you’re wondering just like its rival- hydroquinone, is it banned to be used without a prescription? It is not. That’s where we come in and give you bits on how to use it in a better way to get the maximum out of it!
What are the benefits of Tranexamic acid?
Tranexamic acid has some of the key benefits that can address the issues we commonly face. Let’s throw some light on its key benefits that can help us address skin concerns and at the same time, make our skin healthier:
1. Reduce pigmentation
Sure, we know of many ingredients that can help with reducing the pigmentation but then very few offer the safety profile that Tranexamic acid can deliver. Tranexamic acid works by blocking melanin production and preventing it from surfacing on the skin. The latest research says that it may be red or brown or deep marks, and tranexamic can target it all.
Not just this, it also decreases sensitivity to UV rays which is why it is so popular in Asian parts of the world.
2. Strong skin barrier
Tranexamic acid, unlike most acids, can calm your skin and strengthen the skin barrier. Tranexamic acid is used to address broken skin barriers. Individuals with skin diseases like Rosacea can have a very sensitive skin barrier and once it is broken, it can trigger the skin condition. A strong skin barrier is achieved by protecting the skin and that is exactly what Tranexamic acid does by decreasing sun sensitivity.
What are the dos and don'ts of layering with Tranexamic acid?
With Tranexamic acid, there is minimal attention that you need while including it in the routine. However, there are certain rules that one must try and follow to get the maximum out of this ingredient. Let’s read about these rules:
1. Using sunscreen
Even though Tranexamic acid can decrease sensitivity, we’d say it is not safe to skip sunscreen. Sunscreen is simply just non-negotiable for many reasons. Tranexamic acid’s primary usage should be to decrease discolouration, dark spots, etc. While it doesn’t make your skin sensitive, it may cause irritation or dryness in its mildest form and the best way to deal with it is by using sunscreen. Sunscreen will ensure that UV rays do not further squeeze the last drop of moisture from your skin and that the goodness of Tranexamic is not undone by the UV rays.
Learn more about reading sunscreen labels here.
Sublime recommends Skinvest Sunny Side Up Mineral Sunscreen. This is a physical sunscreen that leaves no white cast and has SPF 35 PA+++. It’s perfect for indoors!
2. Building its tolerance
Just like any other skincare ingredient, Tranexamic acid should be used by building slowly. Start with the lowest concentration and see how your skin is taking it. Once it is used to a lower concentration, you can think of upping the concentration little by little. With skin, one must always remember to take baby steps to achieve healthy skin. 2-3% of Tranexamic acid is good enough to start with.
Sublime recommends Suganda Arbutin + Tranexamic Acid Serum. It has 3% Tranexamic acid along with Arbutin and Niacinamide. This is the best concoction that your skin must drink to address pigmentation and dullness.
We have another star to talk about. Martiderm DSP-Bright 5 Ampoules Serum. This is Tranexamic acid paired with 5% Vitamin and Phytic acid to reduce the marks and brighten your skin. Once you use it, you will understand the reason we call this a star product!
1. Not following it with a moisturiser
Tranexamic acid has a few side effects which will differ from individual to individual. It can irritate and dry out your skin a bit but this is manageable. All you need to do is ensure that you are not skipping a moisturiser. Moisturiser that has Ceramides, Peptides, and Niacinamide can do good to your skin barrier and marks. Moisturiser will ensure that your skin has enough cushion while Tranexamic acid is working on the marks.
Sublime recommends Dear, Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Cream. It has Ceramides in it to perfectly moisturise your skin and prevent drying.
2. Over layering
Tranexamic acid can be layered with many actives and so many tend to over layer it. But it can potentially create a mess for you. If you have just begun with Tranexamic acid then stick to a lower concentration and use it with just a moisturiser and sunscreen. Eventually, when your skin builds tolerance you can shift towards a higher dose and layering with a complimentary ingredient. However, don’t throw every active in the mix. It will either lead to no results or make your skin sensitive and prone to damage. Neither of them is desirable.
Who can use Tranexamic acid?
Anyone with melasma, hyperpigmentation, acne marks, stubborn sunspots, etc can seek results from Tranexamic acid. When it comes to skin type, it suits all skin types however those with dry skin might want to follow it with an extra layer of moisturiser. It can also be used by those who have dull skin and a broken skin barrier to brighten the skin.
It can be used AM and PM but just a moisturiser and sunscreen is a must with it!
What can we layer with Tranexamic acid?
You might fall in love after hearing how you can combine Tranexamic acid with multiple acids, Vitamins, and even Retinol. Yepp. It can be freely combined with all.
If you have dark spots then you can combine it with Retinol which will work together to give you firm and even-toned skin.
If you have acne and acne marks then your best bet is to combine Tranexamic acid with a low concentration of AHA or BHA which will help you unclog pores and also address the marks.
While combining is not an issue with Tranexamic acid, it is important to ensure that you are not overwhelming your skin by combining multiple actives. It may lead to increased sun sensitivity or a broken skin barrier.
What are the side effects of Tranexamic acid?
Tranexamic acid has relatively lesser side effects than its rival ingredients who are meant to brighten your skin and reduce dark spots. Tranexamic acid may irritate your skin by drying your skin and leading to flaking. But this is manageable if you follow Tranexamic acid with a layer of moisturiser.
One big plus point that Tranexamic acid gains over other ingredients is that it reduces sun sensitivity which is like a cherry on the cake!
The bottom line
Tranexamic acid is a synthetic derivative of amino acid lysine and is used to prevent excess bleeding, reduce sun sensitivity, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, melasma, etc. Tranexamic acid is popular for all the right reasons and the best part is how freely we can use it. Unlike most acids, it can be used in AM and can even be layered with a variety of active ingredients. If you are suffering from dull, uneven, marked skin then Tranexamic acid is surely your prayer’s answer!
- Divya Salvi