Beating My Pregnancy Melasma


After my first pregnancy I found myself with two lines of what I thought was freckles at the tops of my cheeks angling down towards my mouth. I thought it was just sun damage but I pretty quickly learned that I had actually developed some melasma that was amplified during pregnancy. Melasma doesn’t ONLY come with pregnancy, but the hormonal changes in my body made mine show up even more.

It would fade overtime and I had tried a few spot correctors to help lighten the area while I was trying to fight it.

This time around I tried Peony Instant Brightening Face Serum by Fresh and saw the most dramatic results that I had ever seen in my history of using dark spot correctors. It took about 6 weeks to really notice it and I’m so happy that the dark lines are gone!

I only had to use a little bit of product too, which was nice because it cost a pretty penny. I didn’t apply it all over my face either, I simply applied about a half of a pump to the tops of each cheek.

The newest area that I’m having some trouble with dark spots is on the right hand side of my chin. I’ll start using the Peony Instant Brightening Face Serum by Fresh there now to help fade those spots!

Have you had success with a dark spot corrector?

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Comments (53)

  1. Posted August 15, 2018

    Oh, the corrector sounds like a miracle worker! I don’t have freckles or anything myself – though I’ve always found them so cute, hah. ❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Julie says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Did you wait until after Emily was born to start using the product? Is it safe during pregnancy? Thanks!

  3. Tara says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    I so feel your pain. I had a HORRIBLE case of melasma that showed up after my son was born. It was truly a “mask”. I had huge circles on the apples of both cheeks, a mustache across my upper lip, over the bridge of my nose, and splatters all across my forehead. No make up would hide it. Just made my face look dirty. After trying everything under the sun, I found that hydroquonone was the only thing that would help it (unfortunately). The Obagi nu derm system has made it fade to the point that it is pretty hideable. But after 8 years, I still have it. But thankfully it isn’t even near what it used to be. It’s about 80% better. It gets darker in the summer. I ALWAYS have a physical sunscreen on my face— rain or shine, inside or out, any season. It is a struggle that never goes away.

  4. Jessica says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Thanks for posting! I struggle with melasma myself due to my birth control. It used to only be on my cheeks with didn’t bother me but now it’s on my upper lip and I look like I have a mustache:( I hate that! What do you recommend as far as a concealer? Unfortunately it’s still very noticeable with makeup on.

    • Jess says
      Posted August 15, 2018

      I use NYX dark circle concealer correcteur in color “light” to cover the melasma on my upper lip and then set with regular powder. Mine is also from birth control use!

    • Suzan says
      Posted August 15, 2018

      I have the same issue! It never occurred to me that my birth control was making it darken. I’ve used a vitamin c serum to lighten it, but I don’t use it in the summer. I’m afraid it will darken since I’m in the sun more.

      • Jessica says
        Posted August 16, 2018

        I’ve just started using a vitamin C serum myself. I hope it will help to lighten mine. I have read that apple cider vinegar works too. I’ve only tried it a few times. I hate the smell but it does make my skin feel nice.

  5. KM says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Ah! Thank you for posting this! I’ve had horrible melasma after both of my babies and it’s been hard to get rid of after baby 2. I’ve tried several things but will add this to the list! Love “seeing” your babes grow…little Emily is just precious (& so are the boys)!

  6. Posted August 15, 2018

    I was watching your instastories, and I was actually gonna reply with the question regarding dark spot corrector. I just purchased Neutrogena dark spot corrector, because I’m a drug store beauty product junkie, simply because I just can’t afford the otger stuff. Anyway, I’ve only been using it for a few days, so I can’t say if it works, but I can report that it is super light and leaves my skin silky smooth.

    • Katie says
      Posted August 15, 2018

      I’m a big fan of the Neutrogena dark spot corrector. It made a difference for me in just a few weeks!

  7. Dyan says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Do you think it would work on correcting sun spots also?

  8. Allison says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    I’ve tried a few serums but had no luck. I may have to try this!!!!

  9. Mimi says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    So that’s what that spot is… I got a patch on my forehead during my recent pregnancy and I had no idea what it was, so thank you! Are dark spot correctors the only way to get rid of it or does it naturally fade over time?

  10. Aleassa says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    The products that have really helped for my melasma after 4 pregnancies (and a lot of sun damage as well) has been the Rodan & Fields Brightening and Lightening regimens. I’m not trying to sell it, I’m not an active consultant, just wanted to mention that it has made a difference for me.

    • Kate says
      Posted August 15, 2018


    • Leticia says
      Posted August 16, 2018

      Thanks for sharing. I’ve been really really interested in this product but wasn’t sure.

  11. Melanie says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    I swear by this product. Don’t be fooled by the name, it does more than help with blackheads. It’s the most effective BHA that I’ve tried…hands down, and I’ve tried tons at every price point.
    This beauty is only $22.
    Give it a try. I promise you will not be disappointed.
    Added benefit…clean short list of ingredients 🙌🏼
    🙂 Melanie

    • Melanie says
      Posted August 15, 2018

      I should add that I use it to help fade skin discoloration.


  12. Rebekah says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    I have been fighting melasma for years. Not pregnant or on any kind of medication. I guess I’m just lucky with crazy hormones. I have had luck with Obagi products with hydroquinone. I’m also very strict with sunscreen. Still not gone but I feel like it’s better & im keeping it at bay.

  13. Angela says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Glad you found something that worked! I’ve never had to deal with melasma or pigmentation issues, but I’m pretty sure they would drive me nuts.

    Angela at Blush & Pearls

  14. Nicole Riley says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Thanks so much for posting this! I have HUGE melasma spots, both cheeks, near my eye and down my neck from hormone changes after radical hysterectomy. I have not been able to lighten the spots but I am trying to use Lancome Teine Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Color Corrector in Peach under my foundation. I am excited to try the face serum to see if I can finally fade the spots! Thanks Kate!!

  15. Stephanie B says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    I have a melasma mustache from birth control, and it’s one of my biggest insecurities! I started using the Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate a few weeks ago and am already seeing it fade. I’ll add this to my list of things to try. Thanks for the honest post about it – I’m so glad I’m not the only one!

  16. Gisela says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    I’ll have to try this! I have a line above my lip which makes it look like I have a mustache & another below my eye! Thanks for this recommendation!

  17. Jenna says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    The absolute best way and natural way to treat melasma is apple cider vinegar. Dilute it and rub it on your face with a wash cloth or put it in a spray bottle. Works like a charm!

    • Jessica says
      Posted August 18, 2018

      Do you wash it off after 30 minutes or leave it on all night? I’ve read different things online.

  18. HB says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    A combo of Pixi Glow Peel Pads and Shark Sauce ( no shark in the ingredients just a wacky name) by Holy Snails and that stuff was gone in four weeks.

  19. Sarah says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    I’m currently pregnant and have definitely developed melasma during this pregnancy. I’m just finished a sample of the BeautyCounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel and am about to order the full-sized bottle. I’ve been impressed with the before/afters I’ve seen of others treating melasma with it and like that it’s safe to use while breastfeeding. I don’t sell BeautyCounter and honestly am not impressed by most of their products I’ve tried, but this one seems like it may be unique in their line!

    • Rachel says
      Posted August 15, 2018

      Yes, it works. I’ve been after some sunspots, myself. A bonus is that it doesn’t have any ingredients to harm our delicate hormones! I’d be glad to hook anyone up!

  20. Jenna says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Try R+F reverse lightening I would love to help you out!

  21. KH says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Kate, didn’t you JUST finish the Olay 28 day skincare routine last week or the week before ? How have you been using the peony serum for 6 weeks if you were exclusively using another product line in the same time frame? That is seriously misleading, especially since Olay was PAYING you to use their product and not someone else’s. You need to pick a lane. Don’t jump at anyone willing to pay you. It cheapens your brand, and makes you less relatable.

  22. Jessica says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Did the spots begin to reappear when you stopped using the serum for the 28 day Olay challenge?

    • Kate says
      Posted August 15, 2018

      I was genuinely curious if they would but I think they are permanently faded. It was a good test period though to see if this product was something I needed to use daily for a LONG time and I didn’t see any darkness reappear over the 28 days I was using the 2 OLAY products! I’m very happy about that!

  23. Elle Matthews says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Your bare face is stunningly beautiful.

    • Kate says
      Posted August 15, 2018

      thank you so much, that’s very kind to say!

  24. Emily says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    I had/have the strangest form of this! I’m pretty fair-skinned and freckly like you, and when I was pregnant three years ago I got a dark outline around the outer edge of my top and bottom lips — it literally looks like I have lip liner on all the time! I still have it on the bottom lip and I swear it darkens during my monthly cycle. I mean, I’m lucky that it kind of looks good, but I would probably never wear obvious lip liner in real life, so it’s a little misleading and overall just weird! Pregnancy is nuts; I feel like there must be an evolutionary explanation for melasma (hello, linea nigra!) but what could it be?

    • Kate says
      Posted August 15, 2018

      strange! It may be the melasma maybe?

  25. Elizabeth says
    Posted August 15, 2018

    Omg yes! I’m so happy you’re addressing this! I’m 25 no babies but I’m in the sun often and out of no where I got a brown spot on the top of my cheekbone kind of under my eye. At first I was like oh just a new freckle that happens to be huge. And then I was like no!!! What is this! And it really started bothering me. So I bought the Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Sirum. So worth it!!!! After a couple weeks I noticed the spot lightening and after a month, GONE! Very impressed. I thought I was stuck with this brown spot and I’m very pleased with my results from this product.

  26. Erika says
    Posted August 16, 2018

    Skinceuticals Serum 15 worked really well for me, and I continued to use it long after my melasma was gone because my skin looked amazing. It stunk like crazy, though! Ultimately that’s why I gave it up.

  27. Kris says
    Posted August 16, 2018

    You are so pretty and spots and freckles can be a beautiful thing! But for those of you struggling with dark spots and pigmentation issues, have you ever thought of laser treatments? It surprisingly affordable and one in particular, BBL, can make freckles or spots literally fall off in just one treatment. I’ve had it done and it’s amazing! Any med spa or dermatologist uses them! You can even just spot treat one area that’s bothersome.

  28. K.S. says
    Posted August 16, 2018

    I second the question about the Olay challenge…did you use the Olay products and the Fresh products at the same time? Was the Olay challenge from a while ago and then you started the Fresh products? Just a bit confusing.

    • Samantha says
      Posted August 16, 2018

      I wondered this too, because maybe the Olay products helped lighten her skin also? For reviews, I prefer when someone uses a single new product for a long period of time rather than switching things up. That way, I can trust that the new product really made a difference itself.

      • Shelly says
        Posted August 16, 2018

        I think your best bet if you really want reviews is to go on actual purchase sites and read the reviews that paying customers leave on products (sites like sephora or ulta). There is no compensation for leaving reviews on products there and as such, I find there to be no motivation other than sharing for a person to give their honest thoughts. Maybe it’s wrong of me, but I have given up on bloggers giving genuine reviews of products since every week, they are sent something new to try for free and don’t really seem to give it a “college try” before giving it a big ol’ thumbs up (along with the “I only recommend products I love” disclaimer which should say “I only recommend products when paid). Just my $.02.

  29. Tcar says
    Posted August 16, 2018

    Kate! What do you use for sun protection on your face? Do you use a SPF daily?

  30. Posted August 17, 2018

    I would suggest the Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel! Have you heard about it? it’s done wonders for mine and my acne scarring, discoloration as well!

    • Kate says
      Posted August 19, 2018

      Good to know!

  31. Lacey VDP says
    Posted August 21, 2018

    Arbonne’s Night Time Genius Pads are great for this and are botanically based, so no harsh chemicals. <3

  32. Posted August 25, 2018

    Vitamin C is good. Glo therapeutics lightening serum is a good lightener but sunscreen will keep it under control the most. I own a MedSpa and some medspa treatments help more than anything. You have to control it because most likely you can not get rid of it. Suppression is key!

  33. Kevin says
    Posted September 11, 2018

    I used dermalmd lightening serum and I got rid of my melasma pretty good. I have some stubborn spots that are fading. I had a really bad spot that was gone in two days. If you have acne and bad aging skin with melasma it’ll take care of it in a few days.

  34. Ashley says
    Posted September 27, 2018

    That was my problem since I gave birth. It’s bothering me since I’m not used to it. Thanks for sharing your skin care, I hope this would help my spots too.

  35. Rachel Elizabeth says
    Posted March 25, 2019

    I have only been using dermalmd lightening serum for almost 3 weeks and I can see a huge difference. I suffer from terrible Malasma which is something I was cursed with after the birth of my son. Any amount of time in the sun makes it worse. This serum has lightened my skin dramatically. I use it twice a day.

  36. Leah Greuel says
    Posted June 18, 2019

    I’m having issues not only with melasma, but also my hair has COMPLETELY changed postpartum (my littlest is 3 months) so not only do I have to deal with the literal fall out of hair, but the texture is now too smooth to hold a curl! I’m going to add the spot reducing cream ASAP to my Amazon cart, but any suggestions on how to get my new to me texture to hold a wave like it used to?

  37. Missy says
    Posted July 9, 2020

    I tried looking for this product but seems Sephora doesn’t have it anymore. Did it change names or can you suggest another product.

    I’m 50 and started having Melasma on my face this summer. Guess my hormones are changing. Lol

  38. Elizabeth says
    Posted July 13, 2020

    I’ve been using Dermalmd Skin Lightening Serum for approx 2 weeks, 2 times a day. I use if for melasma under the eyes after pregnancy (5 years ago). It may sting slightly sometimes and I’ve got really sensitive skin, so that’s saying something that it doesn’t burn terribly. I can already tell a huge difference in the brown spots and my skin looks so much brighter. I will keep using until the spots are completely gone, which I don’t think will be much longer.