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Best Chemical Peel for Sun Damage

I'm concerned about how to get rid of sun damage and dark brown spots on my face. I'm 37, caucasian and have medium skin pigment and tone.

Can you please advise which chemical peel (if any) would work best for these issues? What concentration is necessary for the chemical peel to be effective?

Doctor Answers (11)

Sun damage and the treatments

+3

At Home treatments for sundamage; 1- Zinc oxide sunblock - I like EltaMD for prevention. 2- Hydroquinone 4% lotion or creams as a bleaching agent for the skin. 3-Retin-a for dispersion of melanin granules, thus reduces the chance of further sunspot formation. Doctors office treatments; 1- Alpha Hydroxy acid peels - (lactic, glycolic, acetic, salicylic) are better light peels with minimal downtime (lunch hour peels) and modest melanin dispersion. 2- Jessner Peels - a great intermediary peel - 3-4 day downtime without a mess, just peeling. Better at bleaching the skin then AHA. 3- TCA Peels - different percentage peels have a different amount of bleaching effect. The stronger the concentration, the longer the downtime and the better the effect. 4- Phenol peels have big permanent bleaching effect with mazing wrinkle reduction. Patients are too white afterwards. Hope this helps.


New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Optimal Chemical Peel for Sun Damaged Skin

+2
The optimal chemical peel depends on the type of skin damage you have and the pigment in your skin. Generally, a moderate strength TCA peel enhances your skin turnover and allows you then to get on medical grade skin care including Retinol or Retin-A.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Best chemical peel for sun damage

+2

You have many choices as how to address your sun damage especially given your lighter skin type. An evaluation would be necessary to determine which is best. You also would have to consider how much downtime you would be willing to tolerate. Having worked in both California and New York, I am aware that people tolerate more downtime on the West coast and that TCA peels are more popular. In New York, I would probably treat someone like you with a series of Jessner's peels which are great for sun damage but have less downtime per treatment. There are many choice other than chemical peels including lasers, IPL and products. Get evaluated by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Wear sunscreen daily and good luck!

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist
3.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Best Chemical Peel for Sun Damage

+1

In addtion to preventative measures - sunscreen, hydroquinone and Retinoids topically, a TCA peels can be used effectively to rejuvenate the sun damage facial skin..  It is important to pre-treat with some prescription creams first. This is to prevent brown spots following a TCA or any other peel, laser or deep dermabrasion procedure. This is  called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The inflammation part is a normal part of the healing process but unfortunately you are sensitive to the sun which is what causes it. Ideally your doctor would have pre-treated your skin some weeks before your treatment with Retin A, 4% hydroquinone, and a strong SPF sunscreen and/or other agents to prevent this from happening. As soon as you are given permission you would again start these products plus perhaps Kogic acid and use them for some time. Once they are established it is more difficult to get rid of. The same treatment can be done again but this time use products recommended by your doctor before and after. If these were not suggested you might want to seek another plastic surgeon or dermatologist to treat you. We personally like the Obagi Blue peel due to its safety and predictably great results

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

You need an examination to figure this out

+1

Hello,

The pigment change you describe would probably be ideal for a TCA peel although lighter peels may also lighten it somewhat. Depending upon your skin type and preferences in length of recovery and desire for (or against) anesthesia, TCA would probably be your best bet.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Chemical peel ideal choice for hyperpigmentation and sun damage + Melarase creams

+1
Assessment of patients preoperatively is crucial to the success of a chemical peel. Although a clinical examination is necessary for individualized recommendations, Caucasian patients with melasma and sun damage are candidates for a medium depth TCA peel.  A good alternative is once monthly Melapeels that we perform in our office. These peels have minimal downtime and are excellent for sun damage.

I routinely perform chemical peels in my office and have found them to be effective with a high safety profile. Preoperatively, I instruct patients to utilize a specific and accelerated skin protocol to ensure that the risks of the chemical peels are minimiized.

I often ask my patients to begin the Melarase program after the TCA peels to maintain results and improve the skin. Surgery90210

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

A multiple approach plan is likely the best.

+1

Bojana,

To help improve your skin, it is best to start with prevention with SPF sun block and moisturizers for your skin. The next step is to start with good skin hygiene and a maintenance program. This could include Retin-A and possibly Hydroquinone. The next step would be intervention with chemical peels or laser. However, your plan has to be individualized to your skin, so it is hard to give specifics without examining you.

I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Multiple TCA peels work wonders !

+1

For the average 37 yr old caucasian with medium complexion and with sun spots and sun damage, I recommend 1 or 2 chemical peels of the combination Jessner's solution plus 35% TCA given at 2-4 week intervals. The cost is roughly $1000-1,500 each and does wonders for the skin although you do look bad for about a week or so. Some patients prefer no down time and therefore will do 5-6 lighter Jessner's solution plus 10% TCA peels at 2 week intervals at a cost of roughly $350 each. Good after-care is very important with use of a steroid lotion such as desowen lotion twice a day for 2 weeks and a combination bleaching cream with retin A after 1-2 weeks at night and SPF sunscreen in the morning.

Once you get your skin looking great then don't forget to do a light one every 6 months as a refresher to keep your skin looking refreshed.

Sincerely,

David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

There is no generic answer to this question.

+1

The most important decision for you is not which peel, but which doctor. There are so many great options to improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin, that it is impossible to recommend just one. It is important for the doctor to choose the right peel or laser for your individual needs, skin type and lifestyle. A really good pre- and post-treatment skin care regime must be given for optimal, long-lasting results. Lastly, sun damage means you are at risk for skin cancer. Can your doctor recognize a skin cancer? A board certified dermatologist can give you the best skin care advice, design a protocol for skin care, and check for skin cancers.

Mary Lupo, MD
New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Effective skin care program may help without peel

+1

I would not limit your choices to a chemical peel. Various peels can be effective, but their results are often improved by starting first with an effective prescription-grade skin care treatment program.

Skin preparation should entail daily application for about 4-8 weeks. Use products that contain RetinA (trentinoin, not "retinoids"), hydroquinone 4%, and hydroxy acids. We use the Obagi system, under supervision of our aestheticians, including education and monitoring. Concentrations and frequency of application is adapted for each patient, and adjusted as you progress.

At times skin pigmentation problems improve very well with this treatment alone. If not, it is excellent preparation for subsequent peels or other treatments. Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments may be more effective than peels.

So ask about some other alternatives and thorough skin pre-treatment.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.