Hydroquinone has long be considered the bests treatment for skin discolourations. But, lately, it is gaining a bad reputation, prompting many consumers, and therefore brands, to look for alternatives.
There are many. Kojic acid, glycolic acid, licorice extract, vitamin c, and azelaic acid are just some of the more famous options. But Chanel has decided to go own a different route and use an innovative little-known molecule called TXCTM. Is it worth the splurge?
What Chanel Says
For a brilliant, even-toned complexion, as perfect as a fine pearl. The next generation of this potent, lightweight concentrate features an exceptional brightening formula that helps diminish the look of dark spots while evening, smoothing and soothing skin.
Cetyl Tranexamate HCL
The key ingredient, TXCTM is, according to the brand, an “exclusive ingredient, a molecular powerhouse developed by Chanel Laboratories in Japan” that “delivers 12 intensive hours of brightening benefits. Immediately and over time, TXCTM offers unprecedented results: helps diminish the appearance of existing dark spots, unparalleled brightness and evenness of skin tone; and new calming and soothing action.”
Listed on the label under the name cetyl tranexamate HCL, tranexamic acid prevents the formation of melanin by reducing the levels of prostaglandins and arachidonic acid, two components necessary for its production.
But does it work? We don’t know. There are no studies, as yet, that show how well it works on the skin. Even Chanel, who researched this molecule, conducted its studies in vitro (in an artificial environment outside a living organism) rather than in vivo (on people).
According to reviews, women are seeing, after several months of continuous use, a small improvement, so this ingredient may have some benefits for the skin. But, with so many skin-lightening alternatives on the market, do you really want to spend almost $200 to find out if this works for you?
Ascorbyl Glucoside, a form of Vitamin C, is, instead, a proven effective treatment against skin discolourations. It works by inhibiting the synthesis of melanin. That’s the good news. The bad one is that this form of Vitamin C has been little studied so we don’t know at what concentration it performs best.
Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract
The third skin-lightening ingredient included in the formula is licorice extract. It too works by inhibiting melanin production. Unfortunately, there is only a smidgen of it in the serum, so it won’t do much.
I had always heard that alcohol was irritating to the skin, and therefore should be avoided. So I was very surprised to come across this study, performed in 2007 on 15 volunteers, claiming the opposite. Its conclusion is that “alcohol-based hand rubs cause less skin irritation than hand washing.”
I’m still not convinced that alcohol is totally harmless because, when in my teens I used toners with it and little else, my skin always became drier and, in the long run, produced more oil. So frustrating!
But it seems that alcohol is not as bad as previously thought. Here, it is used to thin the formula and help the active ingredients better penetrate the skin. And, because it is cheap. Other penetration-enhancers are pricier, so they are not used as much. But from Chanel, a high-end luxury brand, I did expect a more sophisticated option.
Final Considerations On the Formula
My main problem with this serum, though, is the boring formula. In addition to the skin-lightening agents, which either haven’t yet been proved to work or are included in too little doses to work, the rest of the formula is made of emollients and humectants (ingredients that draw water from the environment into the skin) that moisturise it, keeping it soft and smooth.
Full Ingredient List
Aqua (Water), Alcohol, Isododecane, Triethylhexanoin, Glycerin, PEG/PPG Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Stearate, Steareth-2, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Sodium Acrylates/C 10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Steareth-21, Butylene Glycol, Disodium Phosphate, Parfum (Fragrance), Phenoxyethanol, BHT, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Tetrasodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Methylparaben, Polyquaternium-61, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein, Cetyl Tranexamate HCL, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Tocopherol
The Bottom Line
Chanel Le Blanc Brightening Concentrate contains an innovative molecule that may help lighten discolourations. But, in the absence of scientific studies proving its efficacy, do you really want to spend so much to find out?
Have you tried the Chanel Le Blanc range? If so, did you like it?