Tranexamic Acid Dark Circles Melasma

Discover how the topical tranexamic acid treatment I followed for three months worked out for the prominent dark circles and melasma I had developed due to persistent local inflammation in the under-eye area. And get acquainted with the latest skincare products with tranexamic acid that can make a difference.


Hi guys, and welcome if you are new to the blog!

As promised in my last article, I am telling you the results of my combination treatment with tranexamic acid from beginning to end (July to October 2022). In other words, I will walk you through the objective outcomes and my subjective impressions.

What results have I gotten so far?

Let us start with a swift reminder of the situation. In 2021 I underwent several vascular laser sessions to improve vascular and ocular rosacea. The procedure ended up causing some cutaneous trauma (inflammation) in the under-eye and surrounding areas.

I developed pronounced post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and even a sore left undereye. You can read what happened and what tranexamic acid does within the skin in my previous article.

After a while, the issue was not getting any better. So I decided to see a new dermatologist the last summer. He prescribed me a cream including 4% tranexamic acid, hydroquinone, retinoic acid, and a corticosteroid. Please find the details of it in my preceding article.

Photograph of me in June, before starting the treatment: the reddish and brown pigmentation were deeper and more widely spread under the left eye (right on the picture).
Me last June, before starting the treatment. The reddish and brown pigmentation were deeper and more widely spread under the left eye (right on the picture).

I applied the cream on alternative nights for three months (from July to October). The following has happened since I started the treatment.

First month (July-August)

As early as three days after beginning the treatment, I noticed a sudden depigmentation of the whole area (under the eyes and the top of the cheeks). 

It was a wow effect. Seriously. I was astonished. I guess that significant baseline cutaneous inflammation was persistently feeding melanin synthesis locally. And hydroquinone and tranexamic acid shut that down immediately

Wow effect: photograph of astonished man looking at a picture on his computer. Similarly, I noticed an astonishing depigmenting effect on the first days of the tranexamic acid treatment.
I noticed an astonishing depigmenting effect on the first days of the treatment.

From there, the situation kept getting better: the pigmentation slowly faded. However, I could still see in full bloom all the new dilated (visible) blood vessels that had arisen after the aforementioned vascular laser procedure.

Second month (August-September)

Following that, the dark circles and melasma situation continued progressively improving. The purplish and brownish pigmentation did not cease fading, albeit gradually.

The sore and swollen skin patch under my left eye became much less painful and inflated with time. 

What was left behind after two months was mainly the red-bluish pigmentation related to rosacea and dilated blood vessels. And a hint of melasma (excessive brownish pigmentation). Thus, the picture improved a lot. 

Photograph: cutaneous dilated blood vessels typical of vascular rosacea.
Dilated blood vessels typical of vascular rosacea.

I could also see that some of the smaller dilated blood vessels which arose in the under-eye region after the vascular laser became less noticeable. Thus, the anti-inflammatory and blood-vessel-shrinking actions of the tranexamic acid formula worked well for me.

Third month (September-October)

Nearly three months in, the dark circles did not stop fading: the purplish and red-bluish hue attenuated even more. Honestly, it’s impressive to witness the effectiveness of that tranexamic acid blend.

Remember from my last article that the blood vessel and red pigment vanishing effects are related to the actions of tranexamic acid within the skin (and the global anti-inflammatory effect of the formulation). 

At this point, the sore area under my left eye did not ache anymore. In addition, I noticed that the tiny dilated blood vessels there were barely perceptible.  

I would also say that the bigger enlarged (visible) blood vessels, those right underneath the left eye, are less apparent.  My dark circles are also more even now (smaller and more similar)*. 

[*For clarity, recall that, following the vascular laser procedure, the pigmented area under my left eye was significantly greater than that under the right eye].

In summary, the treatment was a success. I am happy with the result and the lack of side effects. Now I resemble more a brown or polar bear than a panda bear 😉

Photograph of a man celebrating victory: my combined treatment with tranexamic acid was a success.
My treatment with tranexamic acid was a success.

Skincare products with tranexamic acid

After my experience, I would recommend tranexamic acid.

From my point of view, it deserves a try for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (including post-acne, for example), melasma, or even dark spots from the sun. 

Photograph: asian woman with marked melasma/postinflammatory pigmentation on her cheek.
Woman with marked melasma/hyperpigmentation on her cheek.

Thus, I leave here three options that might be worth an attempt (see the links below).

The first product (from the brand Facetheory) is the only one on sale in Europe and the UK. That might change in the future.

Exaglow Serum S10 5% tranexamic acid serum

Naturium Tranexamic Topical Acid 5%

Naturium Multi-Bright Tranexamic Acid Treatment 5%

I have only used that first product yet, but they all contain 5% tranexamic acid and seem worth a go.

To be continued

Despite the success of the combination treatment with tranexamic acid, I still have a red-purplish pigmentation that I did not have before the vascular laser treatment (still the result of the vicious cycle of inflammation I developed in the area).

Photograph of me now, a few months after the prescription treatment with TXA. You can see a significant reduction in the skin hyperpigmentation around the eyes.
Me now, a few months after the prescription treatment with TXA.

And the dark circles and hyperpigmentation, especially underneath the left eye – which has more visible, dilated blood vessels – can still improve.

I always had dark circles, but they were symmetrical and mild (with no visible blood vessels).

After quitting the prescription cream, I started using the product from Facetheory with 5% tranexamic acid highlighted above (Exaglow Serum).

Therefore, I might follow this article with a final chapter including the results of a tailor-made regimen – containing 5% tranexamic acid and other appropriate active ingredients – that I designed for myself (to maintain or even improve the results obtained with the medical prescription).

In addition, I might consult with the same dermatologist in the following months.

My next steps after the success of the prescription treatment containing tranexamic acid: keep wearing sunscreen, tailor-made skincare regimen with tranexamic acid, follow-up consultation with the dermatologist.

After all, I guess a topical treatment (not a laser procedure, or likewise) may be, again, the best option. I will keep you posted!

Have you dealt with post-inflammatory pigmentation or melasma? What products helped you with that (if any)? Did you try tranexamic acid?

Share your mind in the comments section below!

If you liked this article, please do not forget to subscribe to the blog! You will receive my newsletter with my latest perks every two weeks. Exciting!

Additionally, please leave any questions you may have below or send me a DM on Instagram (@drmariamonterrubio). I answer them promptly!

See you next time! Meanwhile, do not forget to exercise your daily dose of self-care, confidence, and joy – because you must nourish your precious body & soul to impact the World in your unique, valuable ways.

With Love,


For your reference:

Topical treatments for melasma and their mechanisms of action. González-Molina V et al., J Clin Aesthet Dermatol, 2022; May; 15(5): 19-28.


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