Why The Internet Can’t Stop Raving About Tranexmic Acid

The brightening skincare ingredient can tackle hyperpigmentation.

As far as brightening skincare ingredients go, vitamin C is an A-list star. However, there are other effective ingredients that can treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, sun damage, or melasma that deserve some time in the spotlight, too. 

Tranexamic acid is one such ingredient having a moment, with more and more skincare influencers and beauty brands shining light on its benefits and including it in product formulas. While tranexamic acid can be effective on its own, it works even better as an ensemble with other dark spot-fighting ingredients such as vitamin C, kojic acid, niacinamide, and more.

What Is Tranexamic Acid? 

“Tranexamic acid is a synthetic form of lysine, which is an amino acid needed to make proteins,” says Dr. Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist in NYC. “It works by decreasing the production of melanin and we know that the oral form is much more effective at treating melasma than topical form. That being said, serums and other products that contain this ingredient have a lot of potential to help improve hyperpigmentation.” 

The ingredient originally was used as a hemostatic agent to help blood clots, but recently has been utilized as a brightening ingredient to help minimize hyperpigmentation as well as melasma.

What Are the Benefits of Using Tranexamic Acid? 

One of the major benefits of tranexamic acid is that it plays nice with other brightening ingredients, so you can really zero in on hyperpigmentation. 

“There are many treatments for dark spots and these often work well together including licorice, niacinamide, kojic acid, tranexemic acid, retinoids, chemical exfoliants [such as glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid], and more,” Dr. Marchbein says. The dermatologist often recommends serums with tranexamic acid and other brightening agents be used in the same routine for the ingredients to work synergistically to improve post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. 

Tranexamic acid is also a safer, effective alternative to hydroquinone, a potentially irritating bleaching ingredient. “There aren’t many options when it comes to safe, effective skin lightening bioactives,” says Krupa Koestline, clean cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants. “Hydroquinone is banned in the EU and restricted in many countries due to its safety concerns. Tranexamic acid has shown promising evidence as a plasmin inhibitor and therefore an effective treatment for UV induced discoloration, dark spots, and redness.”  

What Are the Side Effects of Tranexamic Acid? 

All skin types can use tranexamic acid, but like adding any other new ingredient to your skincare routine, it’s best to do a patch test to ensure you won’t experience irritation. 

It’s also important to wear SPF when using tranexamic acid, along with other brightening ingredients, because the sun can make hyperpigmentation darker. 

“Remember that before you spend your money on antioxidant serums, brightening ingredients, and retinoids to improve the tone of your skin and hyperpigmentation, the most important and first step is diligent daily sun protection,” Dr. Marchbein says. “It is key to reduce the appearance of brown spots (otherwise you are literally throwing your money away).” The dermatologist recommends a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher should be applied to the face, neck, and ears every day — even in the winter.

How Do You Add Tranexamic Acid to Your Skincare Routine? 

Dr. Marchbein says to use tranexamic acid once or twice a day. “I also layer tranexamic acid containing serums over Vitamin C serums and under SPF in the morning and under retinoids at nighttime, so this can safely and effectively be combined with multiple other actives.”

The active can be found in serums, moisturizers, and toners, so it’s entirely up to you what step of your routine in which you want to incorporate it. 

That being said, Koestline says serums are a popular way to go. “Most people do like using actives in their serum layer since you’re applying it before other products.”

Shop Tranexamic Acid Skincare Products:

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

Dr. Marchbein is a fan of this serum by SkinCeuticals, which she often recommends to patients treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. It’s infused with tranexamic acid, along with kojic acid and niacinamide, another two tried-and-true brightening ingredients. 

To shop: $98; skinceuticals.com

Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment

In addition to niacinamide, the all-star cast of Peter Thomas Roth’s discoloration treatment includes tranexmic and kojic acids, alpha arbutin, and pentapeptide. The lightweight cream can be applied twice a day on clean skin and is best followed by a moisturizer. 

To shop: $88; sephora.com

Joanna Vargas Bright Eye Hydrating Mask

Puffiness? Dark circles? Dryness? Crow’s feet? This eye mask by celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas checks all the boxes. It’s powered by brightening tranexamic acid, collagen-boosting matrixyl, soothing allantoin, and hydrating licorice root extract. 

To shop: $60/5; dermstore.com

La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 Serum

In this dark spot-fading serum by La Roche-Posay, tranexamic acid is paired with exfoliating glycolic acid to even out skin tone. Use it alone or add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer.

To shop: $40; amazon.com

The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment

If post-breakout dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or dullness are your main skincare concerns, try swapping your usual moisturizer for this overnight treatment. Powered by tranexamic acid, vitamin C, and acai berry extract, it targets areas of discoloration and boosts overall radiance. 

To shop: $15; theinkeylist.com

SkinMedica 2.0 Lytera Pigment Correcting Serum 

Dr. Marchbein says SkinMedica’s Lytera 2.0 serum is another great option for treating discoloration. It combines tranexamic acid with niacinamide, phytic acid, phenylethyl resorcinol, and a marine extract blend to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation without drying out skin.

To shop: $154; dermstore.com

INSTYLE article

The 16 Best Undereye Masks and Patches for Dark Circles and Puffiness

As Instagrammable as sheet masks are, they simply aren’t intended for the unique issues associated with the skin around eyes. Sure, a well-fitted face mask might deposit a few beneficial ingredients near your eyes, but sometimes you just want to target the periorbital area — without the mess of a drippy sheet mask. So it’s no wonder that there has been a veritable eye-mask boom, leading to a much-welcomed deluge of sticky, comma-shaped patches made specifically formulated to target the dark circles, early-morning puffiness, and texture changes that happen to this especially delicate section of skin.

Whether you want an overnight option for fine lines, a quick cooling fix, or a once-a-week way to hydrate and brighten, here are the 16 best eye masks on the market for those moments when you’re looking for a little more intensity than what a daily eye cream can provide.

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks

The gold foil of Wander Beauty’s Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks isn’t just for Instagram (though they do make for a great skin-care selfie). The precious metal actually helps retain heat so the hydrating serum doesn’t evaporate, allowing hyaluronic acid to absorb more effectively.

$25 for six patches (Shop Now)

Joanna Vargas Bright Eye Hydrating Mask

If you can’t get an appointment with aesthetician Joanna Vargas herself, these once-a-week sheets are the next best thing thanks to three kinds of peptides that promise to tone the under-eye area.

$60 for five patches (Shop Now)

Circcell Insight Collagen Eye Treatment

Talk about futuristic. The mechanics behind Circcell’s Insight Collagen Eye Treatment require you to press a fluid chamber to release an activator formula onto each patch. It’s the best way to get the most out the highly concentrated freeze-dried collagen within.

$90 for four patches (Shop Now)

Yes To Coconut Energizing Coffee Super Eye Mask

Yes To Coconut’s Energizing Coffee Super Eye Mask is made of 100 percent cotton and contains coconut extract to hydrate the delicate under-eye area, as well as coffee (hence the name) to boost circulate and reduce puffiness. Throw it on for ten minutes and you’ll see a noticeable difference once you take it off.

$4 (Shop Now)

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask

If you’re not yet using retinol in the eye area, Shiseido’s Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask is a great place to start. The stretchy material keeps them perfectly in place for 15-minute line-reducing sessions.

$70 for 12 patches (Shop Now)

Belif First Aid 360 Eye Care Mask

Not all eye masks are patches. Belif’s First Aid 360 Eye Care Mask is a cream-gel formula made to be left on overnight so it can fight the look of fatigue long before you’re even awake.

$36 (Shop Now)

Wrinkles Schminkles Eye Smoothing Kit

Wrinkles Schminkles’ Eye Smoothing Kit comes with patches that are 100-percent, medical-grade silicone, allowing you to reuse them up to a whopping 30 times.

$30 for three patches (Shop Now)

Verso Reviving Eye Mask with Retinol

Verso’s Reviving Eye Mask with Retinol contains a hydrogel formulation in its patches that allows the gentle retinol within to penetrate for optimum impact, leaving under-eye skin moisturized and de-puffed.

$48 (Shop Now)

Rodial Dragon’s Blood Eye Mask

Rodial’s Dragons Blood Eye Mask combines a botanical extract known as dragon’s blood with the effectiveness of a bio-cellulose format to cool under-eyes into a less puffy state.

$39 for eight patches (Shop Now)

Sisley Paris Eye Contour Mask

Sisley Paris’s Eye Contour Mask might look like a simple tube of gel, but the formula promises to act like a patch once applied, reducing swelling and the look of lines — even after it’s removed.

$149 (Shop Now)

Patchology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels

Patchology’s FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels take advantage of the body’s natural nighttime repairing abilities by sitting firmly under the eyes while you sleep, depositing an all-star cast of smoothing and brightening ingredients, like retinol and cucumber extract.

$60 for 30 patches (Shop Now)

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

As if de-puffing peptides didn’t make these impressive enough, the water embedded in these Skyn Iceland’s Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels is actually Icelandic glacial water. The result is a super-cooling effect to diminish the appearance of swelling.

$32 for eight patches (Shop Now)

Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask

Originally created to help heal burns, Tatcha’s Luminous Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask are made with sheets that seal revitalizing, antioxidant-rich botanicals into the skin for intensive hydration.

$95 for ten masks (Shop Now)

HydroPeptide PolyPeptide Collagel

The caviar extract in HydroPeptide’s PolyPeptide Collagel works with collagen and hyaluronic acid to smooth out the look of crepe-y skin under the eyes.

$48 for eight patches (Shop Now)

111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask

Beloved by celebrities like Victoria Beckham, 111Skin’s Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and crepiness with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, retinol, and peptides. After just one use, the eye area looks visibly brighter, smoother, and healthier.

$115 for eight patches (Shop Now)

Erno Laszlo Multi-Task Eye Serum Mask

Erno Laszlo’s Multi-Task Eye Serum Mask targets all your concerns: dark circles, puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles, and crepiness. It does so with a powerful blend of algae extracts, vitamin B3, and soothing allantoin.

$38 for six patches (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

16 of the Best Under-Eye Patches to Banish Puffiness Once and for All

As it turns out, that extra glass of Gut Oggau rosé may not be the only reason your morning eyes resemble those of Bridget Jones after a bender. Pollution, poor sleep, inadequate makeup removal, and hot, dry indoor air are all among the root causes of puffiness, says Hollywood facialist Mila Moursi.

So, too, are heavy eye creams, which can overburden skin at night and lead to swelling the next day. “The skin around the eyes is so thin and fragile, but sometimes people treat it like it’s leather,” explains Moursi, who suggests applying a light, breathable, gel-based formulation in the morning with a gentle massage.

Yet the real “cure,” she continues, is one that’s also an Instagram phenomenon: eye masks. Though not intended for everyday use, they offer a “boost” to the under-eye area on especially swollen mornings, Moursi notes. The latest wave of products pack a host of depuffing, fine-line–plumping actives, from caffeine and rejuvenating rose quartz to 24-karat gold.

Here, the best under-eye patches to stock up now.

BeautyBio Bright Eyes Collagen-Infused Brightening Colloidal Silver Eye Masks

A pair of eye masks that de-puffs and brightens the look of eyes while diminishing the appearance of fine lines. A favorite in the Vogue office, BeautyBio’s collagen-infused gel masks—made with illuminating pearl and colloidal silver—fake the appearance of a full-night’s rest, even if life is running at a breakneck pace.

Buy at Sephora $40

Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Flash Eye Revitalizer

A two-step eye care system that starts with an intense roll-on serum followed by hydrogel patches for immediate revitalization and radiance. Consider Chanel’s luxe firming two-step system—a roll-on serum and hydrogel patches stamped with the French house’s logo—the 2.55 of eye care.

Buy at Nordstrom $130

Knesko Skin Rose Quartz Eye Mask

Rose Quartz Antioxidant Eye Mask Collection use GEMCLINICAL® technology which blends the special properties of precious minerals and gemstones with proprietary skincare formulas packed with active and clean ingredients. All the products are then charged with loving, healing Reiki energy promoting a state of total relaxation and well-being. Who could say no to these pretty-in-pink eye masks that target dark circles and dryness while simultaneously opening the heart chakra with their Reiki-charged rose quartz?

Buy at Neiman Marcus $48

Joanna Vargas Bright Eye Firming Mask

A soothing eye treatment that revives the delicate skin under your eyes. Experience celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas’s sought-after touch from the comfort of your own couch with these brightening eye patches, which are the go-to among many a Hollywood starlet.

Buy at Dermstore $60

KNC Beauty Retinol Infused Eye Mask

A eye mask set that will give you hydrated, de-puffed eyes without all the harsh chemicals. Free of sulfates and parabens, these all-natural eye stickers—shaped like shooting stars and infused with gold, rose flower oil, and bitter cherry extract—deliver a double-tap-worthy glow.

Buy at Sephora $25

Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Patches

Once carried back from Parisian pharmacies by the trunk-full, Klorane’s petite patches, laced with anti-inflammatory cornflower, are the not-so-secret weapon of French girls (and those who aspire to be).

Nannette de Gaspé Eye Masque

Don’t let Nannette de Gaspé’s dry mask fool you: the patterned woven fabric, which slips over ears and extends across the face, may be made for Instagram, but its active blend also delivers real-life results—no filter required.

Verso Eye Reviving Mask

A moisturizing hydrogel mask with Retinol 8 that provides energy to the skin area around the eyes. Erase last night’s sins with Stockholm-based Verso’s moisturizing mask, which is formulated with a unique retinol complex to supercharge the delicate area around the eyes.

Buy at Nordstrom

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask

A set of powerful eye masks that hydrate, brightens the appearance of dark circles, and smooths the appearance of fine lines in as little as 15 minutes. Shiseido’s Benefiance pads pack a one-two punch: In addition to smoothing the appearance of wrinkles near the eyes, they can also target laugh lines when placed around the mouth.

Buy at Sephora $70

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks

Shine bright with Wander Beauty’s gold foil eye masks, which reduce dark circles with the help of jojoba seed and lavender oils—and zero slip.

Buy on Amazon

Mila Moursi Triple Action Eye Contour Mask

Stay red-carpet-ready thanks to Jennifer Aniston’s facialist, Mila Moursi, whose bio cellulose patches are made with apple stem cells, royal jelly, and calming ginger root to naturally lift the under-eye area.

Buy at Neiman Marcus

100% Pure Bright Eyes Mask

A hydrogel eye mask that brightens, revitalizes and hydrates the delicate eye area. Packed with organic aloe, cooling cucumber, and vitamin C to instantly quench dehydrated cells, 100% Pure’s verdant biodegradable mask is a green juice for the eyes.

Buy at Dermstore $7

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

Infusing skin with Icelandic glacial waters and advanced antioxidants, these crescent-shaped masks deliver a blast of cool for rested and refreshed eyes.

Buy at ULTA $32

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask

An intensely concentrated eye mask to rejuvenate eyes after life’s stresses and instantly reveal a fresh, more rested, luminously youthful look. Stave off signs of aging with Estée Lauder’s celebrity-approved reparative eye treatment, a must-have for frequent travelers and evening revelers alike.

Buy at Sephora $42

Kat Burki KB5 Eye Recovery Masks

A pre-moistened eye mask that calms and soothes skin while decreasing puffiness and lightening undereye circles. Made with cold processing technology, Kat Burki’s KB5 Recovery Mask—with its anti-aging blend of smoothing silk amino acids and protective avocado oil—is the perfect treat for tired eyes.

Buy at Nordstrom $90

Boscia Vegan Collagen Microcrystal Eye Mask

Two sets of hydrating microcrystal eye masks, that contain approximately 900 crystals each, help visibly plump and reawaken fatigued eyes while diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The microcrystals are enriched with a super-blend of Vegetable Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, and Argireline® Peptide that dissolve deep into the skin’s surface to deliver a targeted dose of visibly restoring, plumping and youth-enhancing benefits for eyes that look well-rested and renewed. Boscia’s new vegan plumping patches—dotted with nearly 900 crystals—offer a fast fix after a long night out. Pro tip: Store them in the fridge for an instant chill upon waking.

Buy at Neiman Marcus $28

VOGUE article