Tranexamic acid, which some people may call TXA, is a medicine doctors often use to help control bleeding. Growing evidence suggests TXA may be a beneficial ingredient to include in skin care products. It may be particularly useful for treating dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and melasma.
In particular, people may use it to treat melasma, hereditary angioedema, and urticaria. As such, TXA is gaining prominence in the world of skin care, as it may help improve the appearance of the skin and cause fewer potential side effects than comparable substances.
In this article, we discuss TXA, including its safety and benefits and which products contain it.
TXA is a synthetic molecule with a structure similar to lysine, a naturally occurring amino acid. Lysine plays a considerable role in promoting the growth of collagen, which provides the skin with strength and elasticity.
Doctors often prescribe TXA as a fibrinolytic agent, or a drug that helps blood to clot. It can help reduce blood loss from:
- major surgeries
- postpartum bleeding
Doctors may also give it to individuals with heavy menstrual bleeding.
Research suggests TXA may have a role in dermatology due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-melanin producing properties.
When applied to the skin, TXA interferes with a pathway that decreases the interaction between skin cells, or keratinocytes, and melanin-forming cells, or melanocytes. This can help reduce:
- dark spots
- uneven skin tone
Reduces pigmentation and dark spots
According to a 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis, TXA is a promising approach for treating melasma.
Similarly, a 2019 study found that
Fades sun spots
Strengthens skin barrier
The outermost layer of the skin, or the skin barrier, protects the body from germs and toxins, retains moisture, and prevents water loss.
The antifibrinolytic property of TXA also makes it beneficial in treating erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, a type of rosacea that presents with facial flushing and persistent redness.
Reduces acne and acne-related discolorations
The authors of a
A 2022 study also notes that
Unlike some other brightening agents, TXA is generally safe and well-tolerated by all skin types.
However, as with any new skin care ingredient, a person may want to consult a dermatologist before adding a product to their skin care routine.
There is currently not enough research on the safety of TXA for pregnant individuals.
A person may also consider performing a patch test on a small skin area before using the product, to ensure safety.
Doctors may sometimes prescribe oral TXA to address melasma or heavy menstrual bleeding.
Some common adverse effects experts associate with TXA tablets can include:
- abdominal pain
- back pain
- nasal and sinus issues
- muscle pain and cramping
- joint stiffness
- blood clotting disorders, such as thrombosis
- poor kidney function
- personal of family history of coagulopathy
- ischemic heart disease
- fibrinolytic conditions
When using a cosmetic product containing TXA, it is advisable to refer to the instructions on the product label.
The label should provide a guideline to using the product, including the amount to use, frequency of application, and ways to incorporate it into one’s skin care routine.
There are several skin care products on the market that may contain TXA.
Some examples include:
People who may want to avoid this ingredient in skin care products can consider alternatives that may provide similar benefits. This could include:
A person may consult a dermatologist to find out which ingredients will be most suitable for their concerns.
TXA is an ingredient that may offer many benefits for the skin, including the ability to fade dark spots, discolorations, and melasma. It may also be beneficial for treating acne and improving the skin barrier.
The primary use of TXA is as an agent that promotes blood clotting. While its use in dermatology is off-label, research indicates that it is safe for all skin types and has mild side effects, which could include irritation, redness, and flaking.
Some people with certain health conditions may be at risk of more severe side effects. They should seek guidance from a healthcare professional before incorporating products that contain TXA into their skin routines.