Tranexamic acid (TXA) is going to be the new hype in the West in the upcoming years. There are a few brands that have started playing around with the ingredient, and more are to follow suit. However, today I will review a pxroduct by Shiseido who were first to experiment with topical tranexamic acid in the 90s.
There are two active ingredients which help with hyperpigmentation liquorice root extract and tranexamic acid. There is no specific information as for the concentration of TXA, but the product is labelled as quasi-drug, so it contains around 2%. Tranexamic acid has been studied mainly as a drug to limit bleeding, but not much as a topical agent. There isn’t a lot of data on topical TXA, but here’s what we know. Oral TXA, 5% TXA topical creams, and intradermal injections fight best against melasma, for any these usually you need a medical prescription. In East Asian countries which regulate this ingredient don’t allow for high concentrations in OTC products, except for Thailand. As for smaller doses of TXA, we know that it helps with hyperpigmentation and overall works to brighten the skin. Studies show that it accelerates skin’s repairing processes from UVB damage.
As for the studies analysing TXA for skin discolourations, the issue is that the ingredient is usually tested with other components. In many cases, TXA is paired with arbutin, kojic acid, azelaic, acid, or niacinamide. For example, a study was conducted with a product from one of Amore Pacific’s brands, and the product in question contained 2% of both TXA and niacinamide. The product outstandingly reduced hyperpigmentation after two months. Moreover, the study points out the advantage of low-concentration TXA over niacinamide. It is well-tolerated and doesn’t cause red flushes.
One and the most important aspect that all TXA studies share is that the participants used sunscreen along with TXA. Sunscreen is paramount for treating hyperpigmentation, melasma, and similar issues. There is also a derivative of tranexamic acid – Tranexamic Acid Cetyl Ester Hydrochloride, which is proprietary to Chanel Beauty, and you can find it in their Le Blanc range. I have no idea how it compares to TXA.
The formula doesn’t include fragrance, but there are essential oils. I can’t sense them, and I don’t find the product irritating. But, it may be an issue for sensitive skin types.
First of all, I must say this product is very moisturising. When I use this serum in the morning, I skip my moisturiser and go straight to sunscreen because it’s hydrating enough on its own. After a few weeks of use, my skin feels plumper and softer. It’s fantastic just as a hydrating product.
As for brightening, it works. The results aren’t noticeable immediately, but after a couple of weeks of applying this product regularly, I could see a difference. My complexion is brighter, hyperpigmentation faded, and new hyperpigmentation also vanishes faster than usual. But I don’t use the serum on its own; I use it with either SVR Sebiaclear Hydra or Hada Labo Cream at night, so either with niacinamide or arbutin. I know these two ingredients work on their own too, but they wouldn’t give me the same results if I hadn’t combined them with TXA. My complexion looks much brighter. I didn’t have a good start with TXA, the PDC Serum was disappointing, but I am impressed with the results of this product.
Overall, it’s an excellent brightening and hydrating serum. It plumps up the skin and evens out the skin tone. It doesn’t irritate the skin, and it’s suitable for all skin types. I recommend it as a part of a multi-approach regimen for fighting skin discolouration issues. And don’t forget your sunscreen, it’s a crucial step in your routine, and especially when you struggle with hyperpigmentation.
Tranexamic acid*, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate*, sodium hyaluronate (2), purified water, decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, dipropylene glycol, polyoxyethylene (14) polyoxypropylene (7) dimethyl ether, behenyl alcohol, methyl polysiloxane, tri Glyceryl 2-ethylhexanoate, glycerin, batyl alcohol, polyoxyethylene/methylpolysiloxane copolymer, behenic acid, polyoxyethyleneglyceryl isostearate, edetate disodium, 2-methacryloyloxyethylphosphorylcholine/butyl methacrylate copolymer [liquid], orange [fruit] oil, sodium pyrosulfite, lavender oil, potassium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol *: “active ingredient” No indication: “other ingredients” (adapted from Amazon JP & translated using Google Translate)
Shiseido’s Aqualabel Bright White EX Serum retails for roughly €13.5 available from Amazon JP.