Can tranexamic acid penetrate skin and be an effective ingredient to treat hyperpigmentation?

Yes, tranexamic acid can penetrate the skin, but its effectiveness at doing so can depend on the formulation. Tranexamic acid is often used in skincare products for its ability to address hyperpigmentation and improve skin tone. When formulated correctly, it can absorb into the skin’s upper layers where it works to inhibit the melanin synthesis process, which is key in treating discolorations like melasma or sunspots.

The molecular size of tranexamic acid is relatively small, which generally allows for better skin penetration compared to some larger molecules. However, for optimal penetration and effectiveness, it is typically formulated in serums, creams, or lotions with an appropriate pH and in combination with other ingredients that enhance absorption.

Skincare formulations that include tranexamic acid are often designed to maximize its stability and penetration, ensuring that it can effectively reach the areas of the skin where it is most needed.

A study titled “Skin Penetration and Antioxidant Effect of Cosmeceuticals Containing Tranexamic Acid” by Lin et al., published in the journal Molecules in 2021, provides scientific insights into the ability of tranexamic acid (TA) to penetrate the skin. This study aimed to determine the optimal conditions for tranexamic acid delivery in skin care formulations.

In this study, the researchers developed several formulations containing tranexamic acid and tested their penetration abilities using in vitro skin models. The results demonstrated that tranexamic acid could effectively penetrate the skin, particularly when formulated at specific concentrations and pH levels that enhance its stability and delivery. The study also noted that the addition of certain enhancers could further improve the penetration of tranexamic acid into deeper layers of the skin.

These findings are crucial as they support the use of tranexamic acid in dermatological products designed for treating hyperpigmentation and related conditions.