After years spent lifeguarding sans sunscreen and regular trips to the indoor-tanning bed during the era of Jersey Shore, it’s safe to say I put my skin through a lot in my teenage years — unnecessarily so even, as someone who was born in western Pennsylvania. Having wised up since then (sorry, Mom), I now never leave home without a layer of SPF moisturizer on my face and religiously slather on sunscreen during days spent in the sun.
My frequent trips to the beach this summer were spent seeking shade under a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking wrap while frequently reapplying my arsenal of various sunscreens. Excessive? Probably. But when you’re dedicated to making up for your skincare sins of the past, there’s no shame in pulling out all the stops.
With most things in life, however, irony catches up with us eventually. After washing my face post-beach one evening, I began to notice a dark shadow above my upper lip and mouth that certainly wasn’t there before. I prefer to go without foundation in the summer, so the realization of waking up the next morning only to see the discoloration worsened was a wake-up call to figure out what was happening to my skin and how I could stop it.
It turned out I was dealing with melasma — otherwise known as condition that causes hyperpigmentation to pop up on the skin seemingly overnight. It’s often referred to as “the mask of pregnancy” since it can be triggered by a change in hormone levels from pregnancy or even just a change in birth control. In my case, it was simply just my weekend exposure to ultraviolet rays that caused my cells to darken into a sun-induced mustache, despite my best sunscreen efforts.
As any beauty lover worth her serum would, I began to feverishly search for the best products available to help my skin restore itself to an even complexion. After trying a few products with no solid results, I thankfully landed on the only product that’s worked for me: Peter Thomas Roth’s Pumpkin Enzyme Mask.
With a cult following raving of the triple-action mask’s pairing of exfoliating pumpkin enzyme, resurfacing alpha hydroxy acid, and aluminum oxide crystals, I knew it would be good but I had no idea it would work its magic so quickly. From the first use, I left the mask on for five minutes and washed it off to notice the discoloration around my mouth had already lessened. There was a slight tingling sensation when I first applied it, like with most resurfacing products, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable and eventually subsided.
Not only did my skin look immediately brighter and refreshed with just one use, it was baby soft to the touch and my pores looked way less congested. I even noticed my makeup went on much smoother the next day. Since then, I’ve added the vitamin C and pumpkin enzyme-packed mask to my skincare routine twice a week and my melasma has entirely cleared up. Yes, I haven’t been spending time in the sun so it may happen again, but at least I’ll have this mask at the ready to brighten and even out my skin when the time comes.
Peter Thomas Roth’s Pumpkin Enzyme Mask is safe for use on all skin types, so there’s never been a better time to exfoliate your skin while staying seasonally on-brand. Right now the autumnal scrub is sold out at both Nordstrom and Sephora, but you can still snag it at Dermstore or Ulta. Since it’s the only product that’s really worked for tackling my melasma, I can safely say it’ll be a year-round staple for me — and I’ll be stocking up for next summer.