October 15, 2021 What Are The Benefits Of Oral Tranexamic Acid For Your Skin?
Salicylic, hyaluronic, glycolic, and mandelic skincare acids have long been associated with effectively treating various skin conditions, including melasma. Now, the benefits of oral tranexamic acid are starting to emerge with promising data filtering in from research studies and doctors’ offices.
Tranexamic acid is a synthetic analog of lysine that, when taken orally, interrupts melanin production and reduces dark spots. In this study and this study, researchers found that oral tranexamic acid was effective in the long-term treatment of melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (Tan, Del Rosario).
Here’s a wrap-up of the top benefits of oral tranexamic acid, according to science.
The six top benefits of oral tranexamic acid for your skin
#1. Effectively treats all types of melasma
There’s currently little doubt that oral tranexamic acid effectively treats epidermal, dermal, and mixed types of melasma. Individuals taking oral tranexamic acid experienced a significant reduction in dark spots and darkening within eight to twelve weeks, and the results persist as long as they continue the treatment.
Oral tranexamic acid’s current use as a skincare treatment was discovered by accident when a patient taking it for a different condition noticed her melasma improving. That was in the seventies. Over the years, multiple double-blind placebo studies have replicated these results, providing a solid scientific foundation supporting its efficacy (Colferai).
#2. Works for all skin types
Oral tranexamic acid provides comparable results across all skin types, an incredible feat when you consider many other treatments only work for specific skin types.
This is a breakthrough in skin care because most treatments, especially topical ones, must be formulated for specific skin types. This is especially challenging for individuals with combination skin. Oral tranexamic acid’s inside-out action in treating melasma makes it a suitable treatment for all skin types.
#3. Prevents post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a significant concern for some people, especially after dermatologic treatments like laser therapy and chemical peels. Affected individuals tend to experience an excessive production and abnormal distribution of melanin.
One study found oral tranexamic acid to effectively prevent PIH in multiple scenarios, including after acute skin injuries like abrasion, thermal burns, and irritant dermatitis (Lindgren). It concluded that individuals taking oral tranexamic acid could expect a significant reduction in PIH development, with similar benefits replicated in other types of hyperpigmentation.
#4. No major side effects
One of the important benefits of oral tranexamic acid for skin care is its few known side effects, making it an excellent option for individuals with sensitivity to other skin treatments. The only side effect reported was mild stomach discomfort in some individuals, with the rest showing no side effects (Wang).
A major side effect that oral tranexamic acid side steps is skin dryness, which occurs with repeated topical use of most skin acids (including topical tranexamic acid). Individuals taking oral tranexamic acid show no signs of skin dryness and can safely use it as a long-term and effective treatment for persistent melasma.
#5. Reduces skin sensitivity to UV rays
Scientists believe oral tranexamic acid inhibits melanocytes’ ability to create melanin, which, in turn, appears to reduce skin sensitivity to UV exposure.
In one study, researchers exposed skin to UV radiation and, after subsequent treatment with oral tranexamic acid, found a significant reduction in melanin formation (Li).
These breakthrough results demonstrate how oral tranexamic acid stops the formation of melanin at its source, making it a safe and highly effective treatment option.
#6. Pairs well with other skin therapies
Orally taking tranexamic acid makes it an excellent candidate for use with other topical skincare formulations like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, retinol, and SPF sunscreen.
While oral tranexamic acid is highly effective in reducing the amount of melanin in the skin, these other treatments can help improve the skin’s elasticity, moisture retention, and brightness.
In most cases, pairing treatments this way will have no side effects because oral and topical treatments do not necessarily interact directly with each other.
Oral tranexamic acid benefits FAQs
How long do oral tranexamic acid skin benefits last?
Individuals taking oral tranexamic acid for melasma typically start seeing results after eight to twelve weeks. However, when they stop taking it, results wear off over three months, with initial symptoms coming back in full effect by the end of that period.
The scientific reason for this is that oral tranexamic acid acts as a melanin inhibitor. If it remains present in the body, it continually prevents the excessive production of melanin and keeps the skin evenly toned. When stopped, melanin production resumes, resulting in a return of the original symptoms.
How to maximize the benefits of oral tranexamic acid
The best way to maximize the benefits of oral tranexamic acid is to speak with a medical professional on the best dosage you should take, as well as other treatments you can pair it with. Since melasma symptoms vary from individual to individual, it is essential to have a tailor-made treatment formulation that meets your needs.
For example, here at ClearifiRX, all of our treatments are uniquely formulated to match the individual skin profiles and needs of every individual we treat. Therefore, getting the correct oral tranexamic acid formulation is the best way to maximize the benefits of oral tranexamic acid.
Do higher doses of oral tranexamic acid give better results?
Before addressing this question, it is critical to note that oral tranexamic acid is a prescription-only drug that can be dangerous if taken in the wrong way. That’s why we recommend speaking with a medical professional before taking it.
That said, the effectiveness of oral tranexamic acid will depend on an individual’s response to the treatment at different dosage levels. For instance, some might have excellent results at a very low dosage, while others will need a slightly higher one to see better results.
Speak to a healthcare professional to ensure you get the dosage that gives you the best results.
The benefits of oral tranexamic acid are manifold, making it one of the most exciting breakthrough treatments for melasma in recent years. Individuals with refractory (stubborn) melasma can expect to see better results from taking oral tranexamic acid either as a stand-alone treatment or as part of a regimen.
Alongside these benefits, it is also necessary to look at the other side of the coin and explore the possible side effects of oral tranexamic acid, especially considering that doctors initially used it to treat bleeding disorders.
Custom Melasma Treatments At Home
ClearifiRx makes getting effective melasma treatment easy. To learn more about the benefits of oral tranexamic acid in treating melasma and how it can work for you, complete our onboarding process to speak with one of our board-certified dermatologists today. They will develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs, and your prescription is mailed directly to your door. To get started, click the button below.
- Colferai MMT, Miquelin GM, Steiner D. Evaluation of oral tranexamic acid in the treatment of melasma [published online ahead of print, 2018 Dec 9]. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;10.1111/jocd.12830. doi:10.1111/jocd.12830
- Del Rosario E, Florez-Pollack S, Zapata L Jr, et al. Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of oral tranexamic acid in the treatment of moderate-to-severe melasma. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018;78(2):363-369. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.09.053
- Li D, Shi Y, Li M, Liu J, Feng X. Tranexamic acid can treat ultraviolet radiation-induced pigmentation in guinea pigs. Eur J Dermatol. 2010;20(3):289-292. doi:10.1684/ejd.2010.0912
Lindgren AL, Austin AH, Welsh KM. The Use of Tranexamic Acid to Prevent and Treat Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. J Drugs Dermatol. 2021;20(3):344-345. doi:10.36849/JDD.5622
- Tan AWM, Sen P, Chua SH, Goh BK. Oral tranexamic acid lightens refractory melasma. Australas J Dermatol. 2017;58(3):e105-e108. doi:10.1111/ajd.12474
- Wang JV, Jhawar N, Saedi N. Tranexamic Acid for Melasma: Evaluating the Various Formulations. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2019;12(8):E73-E74.