Searches for this brightening skincare ingredient are up 170%

Searches for this brightening skincare ingredient are up 170%

Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition that can result in uneven skin tone. Stylist looks into what makes tranexamic acid an effective ingredient to make skin appear brighter and more even. 

With a host of acids on offer in skincare, it can be both overwhelming and confusing to know what each one does. From the hydrating hero hyaluronic acid to brightening and exfoliating glycolic acid and spot-soothing salicylic acid, there’s a lot to get to grips with. And to make it even more specific, everyone’s skin is different.

Common skin conditions such as acne and the scarring it leaves and sunspots and the effect of sun rays can leave our skin tone uneven. Hyperpigmentation is often the byproduct of common skin conditions, such as acne, which can leave behind discoloured scars, or can be caused by unprotected exposure to the sun. As a result, spots and scars darken as they become more melanated than other parts of your skin.

So, when looking for a product to reduce hyperpigmentation and make your skin tone more even, there’s no doubt you’ll shift your focus to products that work to brighten and exfoliate. For a long time, vitamin C was the ultimate when it came to skin brightening ingredients. Now, AHAs and BHAs in skincare provide another effective dose of radiance – and the latest acid rising through the ranks: tranexamic acid. 

While it sounds daunting, tranexamic acid is a really effective ingredient that can slot into an existing skincare routine. Let us explain how. 

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To learn more, Stylist asked spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation, Dr Emma Wedgeworth about what tranexamic acid does for our skin and who can benefit from it.

What is tranexamic acid?

“Tranexamic Acid is a synthetic molecule with a similar structure to the naturally occurring amino acid lysine,” she says. Lysine typically helps with skin’s firmness as it’s required for the production of the protein, collagen. 

What are the benefits of tranexamic acid?

In skincare, tranexamic acid is primarily used as an ingredient that helps brighten dark spots and improve pigmentation. 

“Tranexamic acid slows the production of melanin by inhibiting a pathway known as the plasminogen/plasmin pathway. By doing so, it reduces the interactions between our pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) and skin cells (keratinocytes) and this leads to a reduction in pigmentation, particularly in melasma,” says Dr Wedgeworth.

Which skin types suit tranexamic acid?

Tranexamic acid is suitable for most skin types. However, it has particular benefits for those with hyperpigmentation.

The 6 best tranexamic beauty products to add into your skincare routine

Willing to try out tranexamic acid? We’ve curated a list of the best products to add to your skincare arsenal.

  • The overnight face mask: The INKEY List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment

    Cult brand The INKEY List pairs 2% tranexamic acid with 2% vitamin C and 2% of antioxidant-rich acai berry for a brightening concoction that works during the night to lighten dark spots.

    The INKEY List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment at Cult Beauty, £14.99

    buy now

  • The serum: Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Serum

    Slightly less potent in strength, this serum combines 1.8% tranexamic acid with 5% niacinamide to help reduce redness and 5% of the exfoliator, hepes. It helps reduce the appearance of post-acne scars.

    Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense SerumShop Skinceuticals Discoloration Defense Serum at Look Fantastic, £85

    buy now

  • The peel: Murad Replenishing Peel

    A blend of glycolic acid, lactic acid and tranexamic acid, Murad’s peel evens skin tone overnight. Peels work similarly to liquid exfoliators and are a great avenue for those who don’t really use overnight masks.

    Murad Replenishing PeelShop Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel at Cult Beauty, £48

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  • The patch: Zitsticka Hyperfade Microdart Blur Patches

    There’s nothing like a patch to feel like you’re addressing the problem all day (or all night) long and Zitsticka’s Hyperfade patches are some of the best. 

    An “infiltrative patch” to brighten and lighten dark spots, Zitsticka Hyperfade combines hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, ascorbic acid and tranexamic acid to help repair and restore your skin’s tone and texture post damage. 

    Shop Zitsticka Hyperfade Microdart Blur Patch for Dark Spots at Cult Beauty, £29

    buy now

  • Scientia Peach and Glow Hydra Skin Tonic

    Scientia Peach and Glow Hydra Skin Tonic

    A hard-working product to tackle uneven skin tone and dull skin, Scientia’s tonic combines tranexamic acid with glycerin, bakuchiol and matrixyl to protect your moisture barrier and encourage collagen production for a firmer, plumper skin appearance.

    Shop Scientia Peach and Glow Hydra Skin Tonic at Cult Beauty, £24

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  • The serum (with glycolic acid): Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum

    A second serum option, Murad’s cult-favourite Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum uses patented ‘Resorcinol Technology’ to reduce the intensity and appearance of hyperpigmentation, while added glycolic acid works to exfoliate, smooth and brighten.

    Shop Murad Environmental Shield Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum at Cult Beauty, £75

    buy now

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