Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is a real skin problem affecting lots of people. This means that lots of products are going to be used to get rid of said hyperpigmentation and I have used most of them. In one of my previous posts I explained why hydroquinone wasn’t that girl for me. I also talked about hydroquinone alternatives to consider if it didn’t work for you. There was another post on tranexamic acid and why I prefer it. In this one I will be directly comparing the efficacy of hydroquinone vs tranexamic acid for hyperpigmentation. Hopefully this helps us make an informed decision on what products to use.
A Little Backgroud
Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching agent and it’s been considered the gold standard for hyperpigmentation since forever. It is very effective at treating hyperpigmentation and it has the studies to back it up. Its safety has often been debated but one thing we know for sure is that it works. It has also been around for a while.
If hydroquinone is the OG tranexamic acid is the newer kid on the block. I couldnt name more than 5 products with tranexamic acid in them if you paid me. Tranexamic acid is also a skin lightening product that works similar to hydroquinone. The first time I used tranexamic acid was to control my heavy period so it was a real shock finding out it could be used topically.
My Experience with Hydroquinone
After using niacinamide, ascorbic acid, and exfoliating acids to get rid of hyperpigmentation to no avail I got anxious. I had heard all manners of unfounded lies about hydroquinone but I knew I had to try it if I wanted to clear my skin. Fortunately it wasn’t OCT in my country so I found a 4% tube and dove right in.
There was some little lightening but not enough to soldier through the irritating side effects. The product dried out my skin and had my pores looking thrice their usual size. It helped to fade out post acne marks but did nothing for the more stubborn melasma and older marks. But I knew it’s time was up when I noticed I had become about 3 shades lighter. It didn’t stop with the skin bleaching too, I was also red all over.
When I finally stopped using it I noticed that the dark marks which I thought were faded returned again. This was especially disheartening because those marks faded really I thought I had found the perfect
I was upset at results I got from hydroquinone because the product was affordable and would have been a great addition to my routine.
My Tranexamic Acid Experience
It took me a while to settle on a tranexamic acid product to try. Not because they were many but because they were so little available. After a lot of deliberation and research I settled on this one. I decided to go with it because it was a relatively new product and it had the highest concentration among them all. A whole 5%.
This was the complete opposite of the hydroquinone product I used when it came to texture and performance. I got better results from using tranexamic acid for month than hydroquinone for months. It put a big dent in my melasma and did wonders for stubborn old marks. I went out and purchased more after using the first bottle because I don’t ever want to run
My Verdict on Hydroquinone vs Tranexamic Acid for Hyperpigmentation
Tranexamic acid has less side effects than hydroquinone and I don’t think there is any risk of rebound hyperpigmentation. Tranexamic acid is the perfect example of slow and steady.
If you have resilient skin and don’t mind the intense lightening then I guess hydroquinone is great. But for the sensitive skin folks who love to take it gently tranexamic acid might be the answer. Keep in mind that formulation matters too and the results I got could have been due to good and/or bad formulation. Rebound hyperpigmentation may also occur with stoppage of hydroquinone.