Beauty Insider

Tranexamic Acid vs. Alpha Arbutin – Solution for Hyperpigmentation

Tranexamic Acid vs. Alpha Arbutin – Solution for Hyperpigmentation

Have you heard about this newly in-trend goodie Tranexamic Acid? And why would we compare it with the star brightening ingredient Alpha Arbutin? First of all, it rose from the ground highlighting its powerful capability of lightening dark spots in just few days. Jus like Alpha arbutin, it works around the same mechanism which is decreasing melanin production. However, there’s a slight twist to that which will be discussed next. The question is, how well does it decrease your hyperpigmentation and is it better than the all-timer Alpha Arbutin?

What is the difference between Tranexamic Acid and Alpha Arbutin?

Tranexamic Acid

Tranexamic Acid is a synthetic derivative of lysine, a type of amino acid that means it can’t be found directly from natural resources. The lysine is responsible for hydrating and stimulating collagen production under the skin. 

Originally, Tranexamic acid (TXA) was discovered by a Japanese researcher Shosuke and Utako Okamoto for medical uses such as blood loss prevention and treatment. In 2017, its safety towards skin whitening agents has deemed reasonable hence the rise of Tranexamic Acid as a skin whitening agent.

In the last few years that Tranexamic acid has been used, it was mainly used to treat pigmentation disorders such as melasma. Because of this, it was mainly used to reduce hyperpigmentation or, in other words, dark spots on the skin. Aside from this, it was also proven to brighten the complexion, repair the compromised skin barrier, calm down the skin, and reduce skin damage from UV rays. 

Alpha Arbutin

Meanwhile, Alpha Arbutin is a new type of hydroquinone glucoside that was first established by Ezaki Glico for cosmetic uses as it has a strong inhibiting effect on human tyrosinase. Alpha Arbutin is a safer version of hydroquinone because it doesn’t actually kill cells as hydroquinone does. It is a natural ingredient found abundantly in berries like mulberry, cranberry, bearberry, and blueberry. 

The Alpha Arbutin is also known for its brightening and lightening properties that work well in reducing hyperpigmentation. It’s a gentle alternative compared to other more irritating solutions, which makes it great for those with sensitive skin. 

It is also known to address glycation, which can affect the elasticity and vitality of the skin.

How Do You Categorise Tranexamic Acid and Alpha Arbutin?

To make it clearer, both of these ingredients are categorised under different properties, although they similarly treat hyperpigmentation.

Tranexamic Acid is believed to be a skin whitening agent while Alpha Arbutin is a skin lightening agent. You might think they are the same but there’s a significant difference between these two. Skin whitening agent strongly strips off your pigments, resulting in drastic reduction of scars and dark spots. Whereas skin lightening agent decreases the appearance of hyperpigmentation moderately.

What distinguishes them is the degree of strength of the tyrosinase inhibitor to block melanin production.  Lightening has a milder effect on the skin compared to whitening products, which are more aggressive.

Comparing Both Ingredients

To further understand the difference between these two categories, you need to know that they have different ways of working through the skin to reduce hyperpigmentation.

Tranexamic Acid inhibits the pigment production process called tyrosinase synthesis and blocks the transfer of pigment. Consequently, less pigment will be produced, and existing scars won’t get darker but lighter instead. Tranexamic Acid is safe to pair it with other known brightening ingredients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid to maximise the benefits and improve the results. 

As for Alpha Arbutin, it inhibits the production of amino acid L-tyrosine which is essential for melanin production and melanosome maturation. Therefore, lesser melanin will be produced, and current scars won’t worsen. For more brightening effect, this ingredient is usually mixed with Vitamin C, AHA, and Hyaluronic Acid for an overall healthier and clearer complexion.

Treatment For Hyperpigmentation

As both ingredients generally treat hyperpigmentation, TXA treats more than just that. As mentioned before, Tranexamic Acid was first used in medical industries, which means it treats various medical issues and also skin condition called melasma. It is a common acquired disorder of hyperpigmentation that commonly affects those with skin of colour. Outside the skincare function, it was also known to stop excessive bleeding after surgery. Aside from topical application, it was also taken as oral form that helped treat against blood clotting.

Side Effects of Tranexamic Acid and Alpha Arbutin

Tranexamic Acid is safe to use for most skin types but to be safe, it’s always better to consult with your dermatologist to further assess how it can fit your skin type. Since every skin is different, it’s better to be safe. Reported side effects of Tranexamic Acid are dryness, flaky skin, irritation, and itchiness. Be wary of combining other ingredients with TXA since it might not work well with other solutions. Those with extra sensitive skin might experience some of these side effects. 

On the other hand, Alpha Arbutin may be a gentle alternative but similar with Tranexamic Acid, you should consult with your dermatologist. Alpha Arbutin is widely safe but it is better to slowly add this to your routine.

Benefits of The Tranexamic Acid and Alpha Arbutin On the Skin

As for benefits, they run around the same ones which focuses on discoloration. Tranexamic Acid and Alpha Arbutin both fade hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and dark spots. In return, you’ll get an evened-out skin tone with a fresh glowy finish.

TXA is a more effective and safer option to add to your routine compared to harsher, more irritating bleaching products. According to studies, it was frequently compared with another brightening ingredient, hydroquinone, but without the side effects that could affect the skin such as inflammation, dermatitis, and other skin conditions.

Not only that, both ingredients are a good preventive measure against dark spots and sunspots. However, since Tranexamic Acid is new in this cosmetic industry, Alpha Arbutin studies showed more benefits. For instant, Alpha Arbutin offers sun protection properties that reduce the degree of skin darkening or hyperpigmentation. 

Alpha Arbutin also is found to be gentle and great for sensitive skin as they carry no side effects. Meanwhile, TXA may also carry sun protection properties and boost of brightening effect if it is paired with Retinol, Vitamin C, and SPF. Both of these solutions work well alongside acne treatments to help lighten hyperpigmentation after each blemish.

How to Use Tranexamic Acid and Alpha Arbutin

Both of these ingredients are gentle on the skin and can be safely mixed with other ingredients in your skincare routine

As mentioned above, Tranexamic Acid works best with Retinol, Vitamin C, Kojic Acid, Niacinamide, and Vitamin E to get the most out of its lightening function for hyperpigmentation. When used in serum form, be sure to follow it up with a moisturizer.

Meanwhile, Alpha Arbutin mixes well with chemical peels, AHA (glycolic acid, mandelic acid, lactic acid), BHA (salicylic acid), Vitamin C, and Hyaluronic acid. These will for sure combat hyperpigmentation that’s stubborn on the skin. Remember to use with caution if you have sensitivity to this!

How to Incorporate Tranexamic Acid and Alpha Arbutin In Your Routine

You have the option to use either Tranexamic Acid or Alpha Arbutin in your routine. However, why not use both? Who knew that these similar but different ingredients can work together? Their similar properties when it comes to reducing hyperpigmentation earned them popularity in the skincare market because of how effective they are. Together, these two will definitely combat hyperpigmentation if that is your main skin concern and more. 

The rule of thumb when it comes to trying any new skincare product and new ingredients that your skin is not familiar with is to do a patch test along the side of your neck and/or along the inner part of your arm. If your skin does not experience adverse reactions within 24-48 hours, you may slowly incorporate either of these two into your skincare routine.

Start with applying once a week, to 2-3 times a week, to let your skin get used to these two ingredients. Ideally, you can apply Alpha Arbutin in the morning (AM) and Tranexamic Acid in the evening (PM). Do not forget to apply sunscreen during the AM and re-applying every 2-3 hours to avoid damage against harmful UV rays on the skin. 

Depending on the product you are using, typically the Tranexamix Acid and/or Alpha Arbutin can be used in the treatment or moisturizer step of your skincare routine. Using these two together in your routine can speed up the process of fading hyperpigmentation on the skin.

Final Verdict

Just like Alpha Arbutin, Tranexamic Acid functions as a tyrosinase inhibitor to lighten skin complexions. However, Alpha Arbutin also slows melanosome production which means lesser melanin will be produced. Together, Tranexamic Acid and Alpha Arbutin works perfectly together to fight melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and overall brighten the skin.

Depending on your skin’s needs, you can use the Tranexamic Acid and Alpha Arbutin on their own or together (AM or PM). One thing’s for sure, these two are must-haves when it comes to reducing hyperpigmentation and giving you a more radiant complexion!

Leave your thought here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *