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 Best Powder Sunscreens That Make Applying SPF So Easy

When I discovered powder sunscreen, it was a total game-changer. They’re basically UV blockers (like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) in a powder form that can be easily brushed on skin throughout the day when you need to reapply your SPF, all without messing up your makeup. In fact, depending on which one you try, they’re actually pretty excellent for mattifying oily skin or even adding a little bronzed glow to your face. Genius, right? 

BEST MULTITASKING POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Paula’s Choice On-the-Go Shielding Powder SPF 30

Not only does this SPF 30 powder protect you from UVA and UVB rays with zinc oxide, it uses antioxidants (specifically vitamin C and vitamin E) to help minimize free radical damage and ceramides (they’re essential for a healthy, functioning skin barrier) to prevent moisture loss throughout the day. 

Shop $29

BEST REFILLABLE POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF 30 Dry Sunscreen

I love this powder sunscreen for two main reasons (beyond the fact that it shields skin with SPF 30). The first being that the brush head is removable (you can easily pop it off to clean and disinfect the brush hairs as needed) and the second is that it’s refillable! Once you finish up the powder, just recycle your empty powder pod and replace it with a new one.

Shop $50

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Mineral Fusion Brush-On Sun Defense SPF 30

This powder sunscreen feels practically weightless and has a translucent matte finish, so it works on just about every skin tone. Another bonus: It layers perfectly (no clumps or caking) over liquid, cream, and powder makeup products too.

Shop $22

BEST DERM-FAVORITE POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50

Any time I talk to a dermatologist about powder sunscreens, this top-rated one from Colorescience always comes up in the convo. The tried-and-true mineral formula protects skin from UV rays with SPF 50 and comes in four different shades (fair, medium, tan, and deep) that never look chalky or ashy on skin.

Shop $65

BEST WATER-RESISTANT POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder

This powder sunscreen with SPF 30 is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it ideal for days when you’re hanging by the pool or sweating like crazy. I like to apply my regular cream-based facial sunscreen in the morning and then layer this one on top throughout the day as a touch-up.

Shop $32

BEST MATTIFYING POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45

Oily skin types, get excited. This powder sunscreen doesn’t just shield your face from UV rays, it keeps it nice and matte too. As soon as you dust the translucent mineral formula over your skin, it’ll soak up excess oil to keep your face grease-free for hours.

Shop $30

BEST POWDER SUNSCREEN FOR MAKEUP :

Tarte Sea Set & Protect Mineral Sunscreen Powder

The last step in your makeup routine should 100 percent be a layer of this powder sunscreen. It provides you with your daily dose of SPF 30 AND sets your makeup for up to 12 hours of transfer-proof wear. 

Shop $28

BEST SOOTHING POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Derma E Sun Protection Mineral Face Powder

If you’ve got sensitive skin, this soothing powder sunscreen is for you. The gentle, non-irritating formula is made with anti-inflammatory zinc oxide to protect skin from sunburns and photo-damage, plus redness-reducing chamomile and green tea. 

Shop $22

BEST ALL-NATURAL POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Ilia Flow-Thru Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20

This translucent SPF powder is made with all-natural and organic ingredients (like aloe vera, passion fruit, and rosemary oil), making it a legit option for anyone who is into the green beauty scene. Buff it in to protect your skin from UV rays, take down shine and excess oil, and minimize redness. 

Shop $34

BEST SCALP POWDER SUNSCREEN :

Supergoop Poof 100% Mineral Part and Scalp Powder SPF 45

Think of this brush-on powder with SPF 45 as a dry shampoo/sunscreen hybrid. Apply it to your part to soak up excess oil (just like a dry shampoo) and protect your scalp from getting burned. And don’t worry, it won’t leave behind any weird, white-ish residue.

Shop $34

COSMOPOLITAN article

11 Cult Favourite Drunk Elephant Skincare Products

While Drunk Elephant originally started as a skincare brand, the company has since expanded its product line into the body and makeup categories — and most recently, hair care. As always, you can rest assured that each product is designed to keep your skin (and now hair) healthy, nourished, and radiant, thanks to the innovative vitamin-, antioxidant-, and mineral-infused formulas.

There’s plenty of praise to be sung for this brand, and a long list of products to choose from. If you’re new to Drunk Elephant or already a fan and looking to try the latest launches, I’ve narrowed down several — 11, to be exact — of the top picks that I think are worthy of a spot in your routine. 

B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

Applying serum before your moisturizer is one of the easiest ways to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy since many are packed with highly concentrated doses of active ingredients. The B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum features a lightweight formula containing brightening pineapple ceramide and hydrating vitamin B5. It’s also infused with sodium hyaluronate, which cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos tells Allure is “very effective for plumping lines.” 

$48 (Shop Now)

C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum

The Best of Beauty Award-winning C-Firma Vitamin C Day Serum is another great option. The vitamin C- and antioxidant-rich serum repairs sun damage. It also features pumpkin ferment and pomegranate extract, both of which help to dissolve dead skin cells, thus reducing the appearance of pores and overall dullness.

$80 (Shop Now)

Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30

You already know the importance of wearing sunscreen daily (even indoors), but with so many options on the market, it can be challenging to narrow it down. The ultra-lightweight Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 pretty much eliminates the guesswork. It’s designed for — you guessed it — everyday wear. The editor-favorite sunscreen has won an Allure Readers’ Choice Award three consecutive years in a row, and it’s easy to see why. The creamy, silicone-free formula is ideal for even the most sensitive skin types and contains 20 percent zinc oxide (to protect the skin from harmful UV rays), as well as antioxidant-rich algae, sunflower sprout extracts, and raspberry seed oil. 

$34 (Shop Now)

A-Passioni Retinol Cream

A-Passioni Retinol Cream picked up a 2020 Best of Beauty Award after one Allure editor credited the product for reducing hyperpigmentation and breakouts. Retinol is one of the most versatile, dermatologist-lauded skin-care ingredients and can do just about anything, including brightening skin, reducing wrinkles, and minimizing breakouts. That said, it’s an all-around win for a range of skin concerns. 

$74 (Shop Now)

T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial

With professional facials few and far between these days, the T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial at-home peel is a more-than-suitable substitute. It’s designed for weekly use and is formulated with 25 percent alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic, tartaric, lactic, and citric acids — and two percent beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), otherwise known as salicylic acid. These chemical exfoliants eliminate dead skin cells and smooth texture. The creamy, non-traditional formula will leave your skin feeling fresh, clean, and rejuvenated. No wonder it won a Best of Beauty Award.

$80 (Shop Now)

Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil

Once you’ve smoothed skin over with a peel, top it off with the brand’s moisturizing Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil. It’s a pure one-ingredient oil packed with skin-restoring and vitamin E-infused marula seed oil to protect against free radicals and pollution. 

$72 (Shop Now)

Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser 

The Best of Beauty-winning Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser is chock-full of soothing fruit extracts and oils including marula, baobab, and Kalahari melon seeds to keep skin moisturized and nourished. The oil-based cleansing balm also features bamboo and charcoal powders to gently exfoliate dead and dry skin.

Lippe Balm

Drunk Elephant’s Lippe Balm is especially ideal for the winter months when many of us suffer from dry, dehydrated, and chapped lips. The buttery balm is also made with moisturizing avocado oil, which is rich in fatty acids, along with mongongo oil to keep skin smooth, and hydrating peptides. 

$18 (Shop Now)

D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops

For a natural-looking, all-over glow in any season, try the antioxidant-rich D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Bronzing Drops. The lightweight formula is infused with soothing cocoa extract, fine line-eliminating peptides, rejuvenating vitamin D, and vitamin F (fatty acids), the latter of which promotes a healthy skin barrier. 

$36 (Shop Now)

E-Rase Milki Micellar Water

If you’ve yet to dive into the greatness of micellar water, you’re surely missing out. The beloved, ultra-gentle cleaning format gently grabs dirt, tones skin, and removes makeup all at the same time — and all without stripping or harming the skin. The hydrating, non-irritating E-Rase Milki Micellar Water offers a milky formula with nourishing omega fatty acids. “This is a great ceramide-based micellar water that’s perfect for removing makeup pre-wash,” board-certified dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson previously told Allure.

$28 (Shop Now)

Wild Marula Tangle Spray

Knots won’t know what hit ’em when the Wild Marula Tangle Spray makes contact. The leave-in treatment works three-fold to detangle, condition, and act as a heat protectant, thanks to moisturizing sacha inchi and pracaxi seed oils. Strengthening amino acids, on the other hand, will help prevent breakage-induced dryness that can settle in during colder winter months. 

$25 (Shop Now

ALLURE article

CoverGirl Launched Clean Fresh, an Affordable, Vegan Beauty Line

The clean beauty market is on track to make $22 billion by 2024. Those environmentally conscious beauty enthusiasts may have already swapped out some of their old products for ones that are better for the planet, but CoverGirl is looking to make the jump to clean beauty easier and cheaper than ever with its newest range Clean Fresh.

Clean Fresh is formulated without talc, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, mineral oil, or sulfates, according to a press release. It’s also completely vegan, and since it’s CoverGirl, we also know it’s cruelty-free and doesn’t test on animals.

The range is made up of four new products: Skin Milk Foundation, Cream Blush, Cooling Glow Stick, and Lip Oil. Together, they’re designed to let you create a full face of makeup — perhaps your first full face of entirely cruelty-free/vegan/clean makeup.

First up is Skin Milk, a liquid foundation that uses coconut and aloe for a dewy, moisturizing finish. It’s launching in 14 shades with an even split along the shade spectrum. Once your foundation is on, you can go in with the Cooling Glow Stick. Choose between four shades of shimmery pink designed to highlight cheekbones or anywhere else in need of some sparkle. Add color with the cream blush, then finish up the look with the high-shine, tinted lip oil.

CoverGirl Clean Fresh Cooling Glow Stick ($11)

CoverGirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation ($12)

CoverGirl Clean Fresh Cream Blush ($11)

CoverGirl Clean Fresh Lip Oil ($11, available exclusively at CVS)

Covergirl Clean Fresh Hydrating Concealer ($10)

Covergirl Clean Fresh Pressed Powder ($11)

Covergirl Clean Fresh Mascara ($11)

Covergirl Clean Fresh Prep & Set Water Mist ($10)

ALLURE article

Every Product In Selena Gomez’s RARE BEAUTY Makeup Line

The rise of the celebrity beauty brand is alive and well in 2020, just in case there were any doubts. The latest example comes courtesy of Selena Gomez, in the form of color cosmetics brand Rare Beauty, which made its official debut on September 3rd. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #17 series on my blog.

Touted as a “mission-driven brand,” Rare Beauty will donate 1% of all sales, “as well as funds raised from partners” to the Rare Impact Fund, which “aims to increase access to mental health resources,” according to a press release from the brand. It has an initial goal of raising $100 million over the next decade to “help address the gaps in mental health services for underserved communities, which will make it one of the largest known funds in support of mental health from a corporate entity.”

In a statement, Gomez said: “These products aren’t about being someone else, it’s about being who you are, whether that’s rocking a full face of bold makeup or barely any makeup at all. Makeup is something to enjoy, it’s not something you need. I want every person to feel beautiful exactly as they are.” 

Rare Beauty’s rather robust initial product offering includes a touch-up kit with refillable powder and blotting papers, a matte liquid eyeliner, eight shades of tinted lip balm, 12 shades of matte lip color, eight liquid highlighters, eight liquid blush shades, eight shades of a dual-ended brow pencil and gel, three tools, an illumining primer, a multi-tasking face mist and 48 shades each of both foundation and liquid concealer.

According to the brand, Gomez has had a hands-on approach to developing Rare Beauty, including product testing, design and mission. At launch, it will be available at Sephora in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Sephora inside JC Penney and at RareBeauty.com. There are plans for additional international expansion in place for 2021.

Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation $29

A weightless foundation with concentrated pigments that feels barely there while providing buildable medium-to-full coverage with a natural finish.

Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer $19

A lightweight, hydrating concealer with cake-free, medium-to-full coverage that lasts while brightening skin with a radiant finish.

Soft Pinch Liquid Blush $20

A weightless, long-lasting liquid blush that blends and builds beautifully for a soft, healthy flush. Available in matte and dewy finishes.

Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlight $22

A silky, second-skin liquid highlighter that creates a lasting, soft, and luminous finish.

Lip Souffle Matte Cream Lipstick $20

A weightless air-whipped lip cream that hugs lips with rich color and nourishing hydration that gives a soft velvety matte finish.

With Gratitude Dewy Lip Balm $16

A hydrating, nourishing balm that adds a hint of just-kissed color with a natural dewy finish.

Perfect Strokes Matte Liquid Liner $19

A longwearing, waterproof, matte liquid eyeliner formulated with ultra-black pigments for dramatic definition every time.

Liquid Touch Foundation Brush $28

A cruelty-free foundation brush packed with soft, silky bristles that build, blend, and buff.

Always An Optimist Illuminating Primer $26

A weightless, silicone-free, gel primer enriched with ultra-fine pearls for a lit-from-within glow.

(Available in a mini version for $14, 15ml)

Brow Harmony Pencil & Gel $22

A dual-ended, triangular-shaped, retractable brow pencil and tinted brow gel that creates naturally defined brows.

Always An Optimist 4-in-1 Prime & Set Mist $24

An ultrafine, glow-boosting mist that hydrates, primes, sets, and refreshes skin.

Blot & Glow Touch-Up Kit $26

A refillable two-in-one compact of touch-up essentials—blotting papers and a radiant powder-filled puff—for freshening up on the go.

Blotting Paper $5 & Powder Puff Refills $15

Liquid Touch Concealer Brush $16

A cruelty-free concealer brush with uniquely sculpted bristles and a pointed tip for precise coverage.

Liquid Touch Multitasking Makeup Sponge $14

 A plush sponge with a diamond-shaped tip for a precise application and customizable coverage.

UPCOMING PRODUCTS SNEAK PEEK!

Looks like we’ll be getting some eyeshadows & liquid bronzers.

Credit: Trendmood1 on Instagram