A New Skin Brightening Ingredient
Written by Rachel Marlowe
When it comes to summer souvenirs, a smattering of newfound freckles is one thing. But melasma—a puzzle of brown patches resembling the inkblots on a Rorschach test—is quite another. A common form of hyperpigmentation that typically dapples the cheeks and forehead, as well as the eye and lip areas, melasma can be caused by elevated estrogen levels, plain old UV exposure, or heat. And it’s increasingly common among women in their 30s and 40s, affecting as many as five million people in the U.S. alone.
Los Angeles-based aesthetician Gina Marí has long recommended a varied protocol to treat dark spots on her red-carpet clientele—topical lightening agents, exfoliating acid peels, and nonthermal lasers that use acoustic energy to shatter pigment particles. Now Marí joins a growing number of facialists, as well as doctors, championing a new ingredient that’s already showing promise in Japan and South Korea.
Taken orally, tranexamic acid is designed to alleviate heavy periods, though the pill has also been found to reduce the appearance of melasma. Amit Pandya, M.D., a professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center with a background in internal medicine, was initially skeptical, but a review of the existing literature that he coauthored this summer underscored its efficacy. “Truly a breakthrough” is how Pandya recently described it. “There is a vascular component to the skin condition,” says Nancy Samolitis, M.D., a West Hollywood dermatologist, explaining why the medication has multipronged benefits; she has seen marked improvement in patients with compatible medical histories.
While tranexamic acid is not yet available over-the-counter Stateside, a topical form appears in the latest dark-spot launches, including SkinMedica’s Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum and SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense. “There still isn’t a cure,” Samolitis insists. “But things are looking a lot brighter.”
This article originally appeared on Vogue.com. We strive to provide interesting and helpful content, so we wanted to share with our professional network.