A common skin care problem Indian women face today is pigmentation. If you remember, sometime this month we spoke about what makes Indian skin so different from the rest. Dr Aneesh Sheth, CEO at Dr Sheth Enterprises, made a statement that Indian skin has evolved to its environment and is prone to pigmentation at some point or the other. There are a number of factors that could trigger our melanin production and some of them are, hormonal influences, skin injuries, inflammation and of course, sun exposure. To treat pigmentation, some women resort to laser treatment, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and retinoids.
Of late, there's a new skincare acid that's taken the beauty world by storm. Yes, it's tranexamic acid! (Add it to your skincare glossary right now) Today, we're going to learn what tranexamic acid is all about, how does it treat pigmentation and how to include into your skincare routine.
It helps to fade away dark spots, tackles skin discolouration and minimises pigmentation marks caused by acne scars. That's all fine, but what is it and is it really good for your skin? We asked Celebrity Skin Expert & Medical Head of The AgeLess Clinic, Dr Harshna Bijlani, to throw some light on the subject.
"Tranexamic acid traditionally is a medicine that is used in surgery, especially gynaecological surgery to stem bleeding. However, recent studies show that it has a positive impact on pigmentation, especially in melasma which is a form of hormonal pigmentation."
How does one use this?
It can be taken by oral consumption, as a topical application and can even be injected into the areas that have melasma or pigmentation.
What is pigmentation?
In a nutshell, your skin gets its colour from melanin (coloured cells). When your melanin production goes into overdrive, you get pigmentation (darkening of the skin). Tranexamic acid works by blocking one of the steps in the melanin production process and hence reduces pigmentation.
As explained earlier, as tranexamic acid blocks one of the steps in the melanin production process, it prevents pigmentation caused due to UV damage and also has properties that are anti-inflammatory and helps strengthen the skin barrier. Studies have also shown promising results in treating melasma which is a type of hormonal pigmentation that is seen as the butterfly pigmentation on the cheeks and nose, commonly triggered during pregnancy, during the peri-menopausal period, due to hormonal changes or oral contraceptives.
"The consumption of tranexamic acid can cause abdominal bloating, gas and even cause lighter flow during periods. So if you have light periods normally, avoid taking tranexamic acid while on your period. If someone has a history of clotting or bleeding issues then I would recommend you avoid oral consumption of tranexamic acid.
On a side note, I would also like to add that this in no way is a substitute for sun protection. While tranexamic acid can help reduce pigmentation, it does not protect your skin from sun damage so you still need to wear your sunscreen every day and continue your normal practices of sun protection, wear a hat or carry an umbrella and try to avoid the sun during peak hours if possible."
If you do intend to use tranexamic acid on your skin, please not only do a patch test first but also loop in your dermatologist just to be safe.