For three years I've been trying to rid myself of the tiny coffee-colored half-moons that frame the side of my eyes at the very tippy-top of my cheekbones. The blotchy discoloration, melasma, is a formidable opponent that's fought off dozens of my tried-and-true products for hyperpigmentation. Until I tried Drunk Elephant's newly reformulated C-Firma Fresh Day Serum.
While hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids are the best over-the-counter treatments for melasma, I opted to try a potent vitamin C serum after other products burned my skin — or simply didn't work at all. C-Firma Fresh contains powerful ingredients like l-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, and vitamin E to help brighten and firm skin. The antioxidants and enzymes within the product, which are meant to be mixed together after purchasing to increase potency, help dissolve dead skin cells to reverse signs of aging and photodamage.
"Ascorbic acid at a 15 percent concentration, which is used in C-Firma Fresh, is a gold-standard treatment for improving uneven skin tone and discolorations," Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson tells InStyle. "The level of ascorbic acid used in C-Firma Fresh will act to disrupt excess melanin production in skin, which will help to reduce the look and appearance of brown spots while also reducing inflammation in skin."
I'll be truthfully honest: I tried Drunk Elephant's C-Firma Serum several years ago and actually didn't see results. But, every product deserves a second chance, especially after being meticulously reformulated to be more effective in smoothing skin and providing a more even complexion. Not just that, mixing the ingredients together post-purchase allows the customer to activate the serum themselves, which helps avoid expiration and oxidation of the serum while in warehouses and on shelves waiting to be purchased. This was a major issue with the brand's original formula and one they were determined to solve when re-thinking the popular skincare product.
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"The new shelf life for C-Firma Fresh is three years unopened (unmixed), or six months after mixing," Masterson says. "It is the only vitamin C product on the market that literally never touches the air once it has been mixed."
Masterson explains that other vitamin C serums made by manufacturers are exposed to air on the line, which causes the natural ingredients to darken. C-Firma Fresh's ingredients are only exposed for a short amount of time when you mix them, before being put into an airless, vacuum-pump container, so it all stays protected.
"We contain it in an opaque package too, so light is blocked out. I mix mine, use it daily for around three to four months until it's gone. It's still almost clear when I'm done," Masterson says. "I decided to do this so that my consumer would be getting the best of the best and never have to worry again about getting a product with a reduced lifespan."
I've been using the C-Firma Fresh serums for about four weeks now and, although I didn't expect to see much improvement, I can actually see an impressive difference in my melasma. Although not wholly disappeared, I started to see a distinct lightening in the discoloration about a week after using the product. I applied the product in the mornings and at night to attempt to expedite results and have been pleasantly surprised.
(Note: Please be sure to apply sunscreen over the product during the day to prevent further sun damage; vitamin C becomes unstable in the sun and can reverse any potential benefits you're seeing if you're not careful!).
I used C-Firma Fresh with my go-to Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser and Drunk Elephant's C-Tango Vitamin C Eye Cream. When I tell you, my skin has never looked this good. For as long as I can remember, I've had acne and dark spots scattered all over my cheeks and chin. Now, my skin is clear and beautiful — I've actually gone outside without a full face of foundation or cover-up for the first time in years.
Needless to say, giving Drunk Elephant's C-Firma serum another chance was well worth the results. I hope with continued use, my melasma will continue to lighten and, hopefully, fade into a vitamin C oblivion.
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