Japanese powerhouse brand Rohto makes my absolute favorite and Holy Grail vitamin C product ~ the Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence (also known as Melano CC Medicinal Stain Essence). They recently came out with what I consider an upgrade of the formula ~ the Melano CC Anti Spot Premium Essence. I am going to review and compare the two spot essences as well as give you a run down on the other CC tube product in this line, as I do get asked questions about the differences. Melano CC Anti Spot Premium Essence was provided by Kirei Station, a premier Japanese online beauty store, where I have been purchasing my Japanese skincare FOR YEARS. They also take requests too ~ if you see something that is on the Japanese beauty market, drop them an email or DM them at their IG account ~ they will see if they can stock it!
I received some of these products complementary to review and was not paid. All reviews are my own honest opinion and I never have been asked to write copy for a brand. This blog post might contain promo codes, affiliate and referral links, which using my links will help generate a small commission that helps support my blog at no extra cost to you.
My skin type and concerns: Oily, aging, blemish prone, pores, hyper-pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.
CC Brightening Vitamin C Moisturizing Cream is a totally different beast, so I will talk about those ingredients later on. For now, the two CC Essences have some shared ingredients. Japanese skincare products do not tell you the concentrations or percentages of their vitamin C.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) will help reduce the production of melanin, which is what causes hyper-pigmentation. It will help brighten up your skin tone, leaving it radiant and glowy and help with reducing and preventing fine lines and wrinkles. Alas, vitamin C is normally very unstable and has a short shelf life. So, Rohto Pharmaceuticals has worked to add stability to ascorbic acid (activated, unstable Vitamin C), so it won’t oxidize and be rendered useless. What did they do to stabilize their product? They added another vitamin C ingredient: stable ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate which is both a powerful antioxidant & brightening agent. It is an oil soluble form of vitamin C ester, helps prevent cellular aging, reduces the production of melanin, does not exfoliate or irritate the skin while being safe for sensitive skin types. It can be used in higher doses & can go for 18 months without oxidizing, so this has a LONG shelf life. A bit more from Truth in Aging
A form of Vitamin C, more specifically, the tetraester of ascorbic acid and isopalmitic acid. Works as a powerful antioxidant and whitening agent, with both anti-acne and anti-aging capabilities. It’s a potent, oil soluble form of Vitamin C Ester. Like other forms of Vitamin C, it helps prevent cellular aging by inhibiting the cross-linking of collagen, oxidation of proteins, and lipid peroxidation. It also works synergistically with the antioxidant Vitamin E, and has demonstrated superior percutaneous absorption and stability. Many studies have confirmed the skin lightening, photo-protective, and hydrating effects it can have on the skin. It can be found in various skin care products such as anti-aging serums, eye treatments, skin lightening gels and lotions/creams. Unlike L-Ascorbic acid, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate will not exfoliate or irritate the skin. It is well tolerated by even the most sensitive skin types. Also unlike regular Vitamin C , it can be used in high doses, and for up to eighteen months without oxidizing. source Truth In Aging
Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate works well with antioxidant vitamin E, tocopherol, helping to prevent and reduce free radical damage caused by UV rays. Alpinia katsumadai seed extract (Alpinia White) is a plant extract that will help with fading hyper-pigmentation with its strong, non-toxic melanin suppressors. It helps brighten and moisturize your skin, while reducing redness and irritation.
Let’s start with the brand new product! Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Premium Essence that is takes the best from the original CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence and pumps up the volume. This is a targeted essence ~ I guess you can use it all over your face, but go easy with it as you should only need several drops to cover your face. This has FOUR vitamin C ingredients ~ ascorbic acid, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate and two new ones:
Ascorbyl glucoside is a derivative of vitamin C and isn’t as potent as ascorbic acid. This means it is good for all skin types and it does provide the same benefits ~ combating free radical skin damage, inhibiting the production of melanin to help prevent hyper-pigmentation and boosts collagen production. Once this is absorbed into the skin, it will break down into l-ascorbic acid. Ethyl ascorbic acid is another stable, vitamin C derivative and what makes this unique is that it is soluble in both water and oil. It is non-irritating and it is considered to be very effective in aiding with collagen production and brightening skin
Melano also added vitamin B6 with pyridoxine HCL which has antioxidant benefits and can help reduce sebum. Amino acid serine is here, which has NMF (natural moisturizing factors) and moisturizes the skin. Allantoin is a non-irritating ingredient that calms the skin, helps soften, hydrate and protect. Antimicrobial O-Cymen-5-OL is a preservative which helps reduce inflammation and prevent acne-causing bacteria from forming. There is also lemon and grapefruit extracts in here, not essential oils, but the extracts, so those are natural AHA ingredients that can help gently exfoliate and brighten the skin.
The packaging is similar to the original CC Spot Essence ~ it comes in a vinyl tube, with a special tip that helps prevent backflow into the product… meaning, once you squeeze it out, you can’t suck it back in. This ball tip applicator helps prevent oxidation of the product, so DON’T SNIP IT OFF. The ball tip is very important to note, as there are fake CC products out there and they never seem to get the tip correct. Instead of an all silver tube with a golden drop, this tube is more bold with its usage of gold and silver. You will not mistake this for the original CC product.
The essence has that same slightly oily feel to it, comes out in little drops ~ you aren’t supposed to use a lot of this product, just enough to spot treat your face. However, because of its slip, I have covered my face with just 5 drops. The scent is a brighter citrus scent, which Melano describes as yuzu. Despite the oily texture, this actually sinks into my skin and doesn’t leave any greasy residue. There is not stinging or irritation when I use this product as well, because the pH level of this product is 6.0 to 6.5
A higher pH level is not necessarily bad for a vitamin C product ~ it just means that for brightening and lightening hyper-pigmentation, it will take longer. I happen to like a higher pH level in my vitamin C products because ones that are lower have a tenacity to break me out in areas that I never have pimples ~ so I know it is irritating to my skin. This doesn’t cause my skin to turn red or flush.
Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Premium Essence is designed for PIH ~ Post-Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation, which is caused by skin injury ~ from infections (acne), cuts and burns. For me, it is those red/purple-brown spots that occur after a blemish has healed and it has left its mark behind. I can state that just like the original product, this does fade fresh PIH quickly and will work over time with older PIH spots. This essence also helps with pore care and softening skin, due to all of the lovely vitamin C and other vitamins in here ~ my skin may not be glow-up ready, but this essence really helps keep my skin healthy and clear
This is a concentrated serum, so a tube of this will last 5-6 months if you use 4-5 drops daily. You can use this day and night ~ make sure to always wear sunscreen whenever you use a vitamin C product, even with one as gentle as this product!
Actives: ascorbic acid, pyridoxine HCl, allantoin, O-Cymen-5-OL Other Ingredients: water, ethyl ascorbic acid, ascorbyl glucoside, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, tocopherol, butylene glycol, alpinia katsumadai (Alpinia White) seed extract, citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract, citrus grandis (grapefruit) fruit extract, serine, propanediol, isopentyldiol, propylene glycol, PEG-8, alcohol, PPG-6-decyltetradeceth-30,, sodium metabisulfite, disodium EDTA, fragrance cosDNA
My updated review on the Rohto Melano CC Medicinal Stain Essence with Vitamin C & E. I purchased this product many times and even picked it as PR ` that is how much I love this product. This Japanese essence is actually a spot treatment for acne and also for hyper-pigmentation. This has the same common ingredients plus isopropylphenol , also known as thymol. This is commonly extracted from thyme and it is known for its anti-septic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. This ingredient will help lessen infection from blemishes and reduce acne. I have been using this product since 2015 and it converted me to vitamin C. Up until that point, all vitamin C products would irritate my skin and cause me to break out horribly. This CC Spot Essence reduced fresh PIH scarring and doesn’t break me out in pimples.
Just like the new CC Intensive Anti-Spot Premium Essence, this is a stable vitamin C product, can be used in higher doses and go for 18 months without oxidizing, so this has a LONG shelf life. This has a pH level of 6 to 6.5
Melano CC Essence comes in a vinyl tube that looks metallic with the infamous ball tip applicator. The essence is a very faint yellowish color … or it could be that my essence is a bit older but it never darkens to orange ~ this is as dark as it gets. It has an oily feel to it, absorbs into my skin fairly quickly without any greasy residue, but I do have to be careful not to too much of it. If I do, then it makes my skin greasy. It does not leave a matte finish at all, but then again, it isn’t a mattifying product. Melano CC Essence has a sour-orange scent to it, which does fade once you apply it. This has helped so much with healing my blemishes and closed comedones, as well as removing fresh PIH ~ again, it isn’t overnight and it does take longer than most vitamin C products, but this did fade my PIH, which normally would hang around for months.
Actives: ascorbic acid (active vitamin C), tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E derivative), dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, isopropylphenol Other Ingredients: ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, ethoxydiglycol, alpinia katsumadai seed extract (alpinia white), butylene glycol, disodium EDTA, thickeners, fragrances cosDNA
Well, obviously, the first thing is the ingredient list. Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Premium Essence took out the brightening, inflammatory licorice and antbactieral ispropylphenol and replaced it with two additional stable vitamin C ingredients and replaced the preservative. They also tossed in vitamin B along with two softening and moisturizing ingredients, allantoin and serine. The new ingredients and replacements are a major step up ~ just the inclusion of two more vitamin C ingredients is swoon worthy.
The pH level is still high, so that didn’t change. The Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Premium Essence has a clear oily texture whereas the Melano CC Medicinal Stain Essence has a faint yellowish tinge with an oily texture. The scent is now very apparent ~ Melano CC Medicinal Stain Essence sour-orange scent now smells like burning oranges when compared to the bright and light citrusy scent of Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Premium Essence.
I also found that the original Melano CC Medicinal Stain Essence feels more oily on my skin in comparison with Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Premium Essence ~ I used just use the Melano CC Medicinal Stain Essence at nighttime, but with the Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Premium Essence, I can use it during the daytime as it really doesn’t leave a trace on my skin.
All in all, both products are fantastic. I used the Melano CC Medicinal Stain Essence for 6 years without issues, so I am happy to step up and replace it with the Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Premium Essence, which I do like a lot better ~ from the scent, the texture and the ingredients, it is a winner!
I have tried the Melano CC Brightening Vitamin C Moisturizing Cream as well (this was given to me as PR a few years ago). This does have vitamin C in here in the form of stable ascorbyl glucoside, along with vitamin E, for brightening, antioxidant care. Anti-inflammatory licorice is included as well, helping to soothe and calm the skin, reducing hyper-pigmentation. Exfoliating AHA lactic acid will help remove dead skin cells and tidy up the top layer of your skin while BHA salicylic acid goes deep into your pores, unclogging them of oil and debris. This also has moisturizing and nourishing jojoba, rose hip and green tea oils in here well as mineral oil. This cream is supposed to help brighten your skin, heal blemishes & reduce hyper-pigmentation & freckles.
The tube is really similar to the essences, with only the cap looking different ~ it is longer. This has a pointed tip applicator and the cream’s texture is lightweight and smooth. It absorbs nicely into my skin and does not leave a sticky or tacky residue.. However, this is only 23grams of product in a tube, so as an all over facial moisturizer, I feel I would just run thru this quickly. As Melano isn’t sold in my local drugstores, like it is in Japan, this product really has to perform if I decide to stock up on it. Did it perform?
Alas, other than moisturizing my skin, I didn’t see any benefits. I even tried using it as an eye cream to see if it would brighten my dark circles, but it didn’t. It isn’t a bad cream ~ it is full of lovely ingredients, but I wasn’t wow’d by this as I am with the essences.
Actives: ascorbyl glucoside, tocopheryl acetate, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, O-Cymen-5-OL Other Ingredients: water, salicylic acid, prunus yedoensis leaf extract, oenothera biennis seed extract, simmondsia chinensis seed oil, lactic acid, hydrolyzed brassica alba seed extract, rosa canina fruit oil, disodium EDTA, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, carbomer, potassium hydroxide, cetyl alcohol, PEG-50 hydrogenated castor oil, glyceryl stearate, pentylene glycol, glycerin, mineral oil, triethylhexanoin, caprylic/capric triglyceride cosDNA
Where to Purchase
Kirei Station not only carries these three products in the Melano CC line, but others as well ~ I really love the Rohto Melano CC Whitening Mask (masks in a tub) ~ they are on the smallish side, not really great mask material & not soaked with essence, but WOWZA, they work beautifully! All prices are in USD
- Rohto Melano CC Anti Spot Premium Essence (new) 20 mL $24.00
- Rohto Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence (original) 20 mL $18.10
- Rohto Melano CC Brightening Vitamin C Moisturizing Cream 23 grams $12.10
With every purchase, you earn points and those points can be used as “cash” with your next purchase at Kirei Station. If you purchase on Saturday, Japanese time, your points are doubled!! Kirei Station ships globally and you can see which countries they actively ship to here.
[ disclaimer: some products were received for review purposes ]