Amy Chang, known to her over one million TikTok followers as @bondenavant, recently shared with The Cut that she developed melasma at the age of 27 after she stopped using birth control. The common condition can be stubborn, but Chang said she’s found some products that have helped minimize the issue.
“Melasma can be triggered by any sort of hormonal fluctuations like getting off birth control, having a baby, breastfeeding or perimenopause,” Chang explained to The Cut. Not using the proper sun protection can also exacerbate the issue. Chang admitted that as a kid, there weren’t many precautions taken before heading outside. Now, Chang maintains a thorough nighttime routine to manage her melasma and prevent inflammation.
Chang, who partners with SK-II, says the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence ($185) has helped a lot with her melasma. “I think because my skin barrier is slightly compromised — people who have acne or sensitive skin, their barrier tends to be a little bit weaker — my skin really looks great with this product because the B vitamins that are in its fermented yeast help to strengthen the skin barrier. When the skin barrier is stronger, there’s less inflammation, which is how I think it’s helping with my melasma,” explained Chang. She added that it also helped reduce redness.
SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum ($154) “contains tranexamic acid that blocks the overproduction of pigment and a super-gentle acid, phytic acid, which is gentler than lactic acid, to maintain healthy cell turnover so my skin looks bright,” said Chang. However, she noted that since it’s so gentle, it takes time to demonstrate significant results.
Chang said the CurrentBody Skin LED Light Therapy Mask ($380) is so easy to use—you can even use your phone while wearing it. “It uses red LED, which have been shown in studies to reduce inflammation by stimulating the mitochondria in the cells, so they work more effectively. When your skin cells work more effectively, you speed up wound healing and reduce redness,” explained Chang. “Melasma often manifests as light-brown, dark-brown, or bluish patches, but these patches can become red or inflamed, giving the pigment spots a reddish undertone. I feel like this mask has helped to eliminate the reddish undertone of my melasma and helped prevent general inflammation I experience.”
For an everyday cleanser, Chang trusts La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser ($15). “I’m a huge fan of La Roche–Posay cleansers as someone who has such sensitive skin — they are formulated for people dealing with eczema and rosacea and all kinds of inflammatory skin issues.”
To prevent irritation and redness from retinol, she now uses growth-factor serums in their place, like the Biopelle Tensage Intensive Serum Ampoules ($136). Chang said growth factors have made a huge difference in her skin. “The Biopelle ampoules contain animal-derived growth factors from snail mucin…I also use them as a stand-in for retinol because growth factors stimulate collagen and elastin and offer me the same anti-aging results that I’m looking for without the redness and irritation that usually come with retinol,” said Chang.
Before layering on the Biopelle serum, Chang uses Babor Hydra Plus Ampoule Serum Concentrates ($30). “I like these ampoules in particular because they have probiotics, which help to strengthen the skin’s microbiome. I had perioral dermatitis a few years ago, and I found that applying topical probiotics really improved my skin,” said Chang. She seals all of these skin care steps in with SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 ($130).
When it comes to anti-aging tools, Chang said this magic wand was able to erase her “elevens.” She uses the Ranavat Kansa Wand Facial Massage Tool ($70) in the evenings. “I hold my skin, and I lightly drag the wand across my eyebrows, then I massage up into my hairline because the muscles in the forehead extend back and underneath the hair. When you’re able to relax all of this, everything in the forehead relaxes. I was able to get rid of my elevens from doing that consistently every night,” said Chang.