I have always promised that if I ever find a product that significantly improves melasma (large brown patches caused by defective cells failing to regulate melanin production, triggered by damage or hormonal changes, and worsened by heat and sunlight), I’d let you know. It’s been a long time coming.
My own melasma – which appeared in my 20s and stepped up several gears when I became pregnant, spreading across my forehead and down the sides of my face – has never responded to treatments, either cosmetic or medical (NHS dermatologists told me nothing could be done), so I’ve focused instead on the art of cover-up.
In fact, when I began using DCL’s C Scape High Potency Night Booster 30 (£108) six months ago, I was interested primarily in vitamin C’s antioxidant, firming and brightening effects. C Scape is a very high 30% concentration vitamin C paste with a gritty, sticky, not entirely pleasant texture, massaged into the face after cleansing at night. The results have been extraordinary. My forehead, previously 70% covered in a jagged brown patch, is now almost entirely melasma-free. The patches down my cheeks remain, but I’m persevering by using C Scape in month-on, month-off spells to avoid plateau (there’s been no regression during the downtime). Each spell of usage brings noticeable improvement.
This isn’t a perfect product – its potency means I become itchy and mildly irritated around my chin and mouth after a week (so I now skip the area altogether), and I’m not the sensitive type. The other obvious issue is the cost, which is prohibitively high for many. The Ordinary offers a 23% Vitamin C Suspension for just £4.90, which must surely be worth a try first (though it didn’t work as well for me) and a 30% Suspension (£5.80), but the latter’s silicone base isn’t conducive to keeping the active ingredient directly on the skin’s surface (always apply any vitamin C product first, with nothing between it and you).
By day, I use Dr Dennis Gross C + Collagen Serum (£72) or Drunk Elephant C-Firma serum (not available here, but shipped, tax-inclusive, to the UK via Sephora; $80), both of which brighten dullness instantly and have a makeup-friendly consistency. I don’t make such costly recommendations lightly, but in my direct experience, these work. And, for many years, literally nothing did.
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