I’m a Latina Prone to Melasma—Here’s How I Keep My Skin Even and Bright
I’m proud of my Latina attributes: curvy body, dark brown hair, olive skin. What took a long time to accept, however, were my dark spots (post-acne marks, specifically) and that I’m prone to melasma. Those pesky areas of discoloration are very common if you're Latina, but annoying too. Latina babes, like myself, have more melanin in their skin, which results in frequent hyperpigmentation. Heat, sun exposure, and even hormones can trigger flare-ups. Because of this, everyday activities—like simply walking outside or outdoor workouts—can cause spots to appear.
I know a lot of Latinas struggle with this (I’ve seen my Mom deal with it), but I have learned through the past couple of years that my skincare routine is critical to keeping my skin spot-free. If you struggle with dark spots and hyperpigmentation, even melasma, here are a few skincare tips and ingredients that may help you too:
Chemical ExfoliatorsAdd chemical exfoliators, like AHAs, to your routine if you deal with dark spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) as I do. Unlike hydroquinone, an aggressive and harmful ingredient typically recommended for melasma, acid exfoliants gently dissolve dead, dull skin cells and even out tone without the side effects. After cleansing, swipe on an acid-based brightening toner like Weekend Glow to gently exfoliate away dark spots and brighten up post-acne marks.
Tranexamic AcidDespite its namesake, tranexamic acid isn’t an AHA. It’s a derivative of the amino acid lysine that impedes melanin production, but without irritating the skin. Tranexamic acid is effective on dark spots and is recommended by derms for those struggling with melasma. You’ll find both AHAs (kojic acid, specifically) and tranexamic acid in this Dark Spot Gel; I have insanely sensitive skin and it works like a dream. I’ve even applied it to other scars and have noticed a difference.
Mineral SunscreenDaily sun protection is key. It’s important to not only protect your skin from the sun but also defend against environmental and electric pollution, too. (The last one is especially important for me because my work involves working on my computer and phone every day.)
RetinolBecause of my sensitive skin I get scared trying ingredients with a scary reputation, like retinol. To even out skin tone and fade age spots, I use less irritating alternatives, like the bakuchiol found in this Gentle Retinol Serum. It’s made for sensitive skin (it’s actually the first retinol I ever tried), so my skin does not feel irritated after application. It’s a little secret age concealer: I always get a shocking response when I tell people I’m not in my 20s, but am actually 31.
I'm grateful we live in a time that has revolutionary skincare products that can help us Latinas feel our most beautiful selves. For more content about embracing your Latina roots and to follow my skincare journey, be sure to find me on Instagram @imlvh.