I’ve been a happy user of Vitamin C serums for some time now. I even keep 2 to 3 bottles in my fridge as back-ups despite the fact that they’re not exactly cheap. But with Mentholatum’s Rohto Melano CC Concentration Measures Essence, I can get good, effective results from an affordably priced product.
A Different Design
Instead of a bottle, the Melano CC Essence (also known as the Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence) comes in a 20ml silver tube with a yellow cap. According to most studies on Vitamin C, as well as feedback from users, one of the downsides of ascorbic acid/L-ascorbic acid (LAA) — the most common form of Vitamin C — is that it degrades rapidly when exposed to light and air. This is why I store my serums in the fridge in their original boxes. But with the Melano CC Essence’s very opaque packaging, I was confident that I wouldn’t have to refrigerate it.
The product comes with a leaflet but it’s all in Japanese.
The tube also comes with the smallest nozzle I’ve ever seen, which makes it easier to control how much product to dispense. Most ascorbic acid serums use dropper caps but this still exposes the serum to air and light each time the bottle is opened. Another downside with the dropper is the difficulty of getting the last few drops of serum out of the bottle. For these reasons, I find the tube and nozzle design of the Melano CC more effective.
Under the Hood
Japanese beauty blog Ratzillacosme.com mentions ascorbic acid, tocopheryl acetate, dipotassium glycyrrhizate and thymol as the Melano CC Essence’s active ingredients. Ascorbic acid is Vitamin C, tocopheryl acetate is Vitamin E, and dipotassium glycyrrhizate is licorice extract. Both Vitamins C and E are known antioxidants that help combat free radicals, especially those generated through sun exposure and environmental pollution. Licorice extract brightens skin while thymol has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Other ingredients include water, ascorbyl palmitate, ethoxydiglycol, Alpinia katsumadai seed extract, butylene glycol, disodium edetate, EDTA, viscosity modifiers, and fragrance. Ascorbyl palmitate is a Vitamin C derivative approved as a quasi-drug in Japan at a 3% concentration while Alpinia katsumadai is a genus of the ginger family which has shown significant antioxidant activity based on this 2003 study.
I used this product as a spot treatment since it comes in such a small tube, but according to some customer reviews, there’s enough for use all over the face. At first, I used one drop each on selected acne scars on my forehead and cheek in the evenings every two days, then progressed to daily usage afterwards.
With this particular product, there was none of the stinging sensation that I usually experience with Vitamin C serums. Do note that your mileage may vary (YMMV) so if you’re sensitive to any of the ingredients, it might be better to look for a different type of Vitamin C serum. Because my targeted spots are small and still fairly new, the improvement in texture and color was noticeable. The one on my forehead has faded around the edges while the one on my cheek looks lighter.
The essence seems oily at first but dries matte.
Texture-wise, the Melano CC is not as thick as the other serums I’ve used. It’s clear with a very faint citrusy scent that dissipates quickly. It initially looks and feels oily on skin, leaving a thin sheen. The shine disappears after patting and doesn’t feel sticky at all. Its texture makes it easier to spread so you only need very little. If you’re looking to try a Vitamin C-based product for the first time, I recommend Mentholatum Rohto Melano CC Concentration Measures Essence because it ticks all the right boxes: affordable, easy to use, well-packaged and it works!
The Mentholatum Rohto Melano CC Concentration Measures Essence currently retails on YesStyle for US$15.90.