Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation

Do chemical peels treat hyperpigmentation? What care should be taken when doing chemical peels for that condition?

Doctor Answers (21)

Absolutely! TCA or deeper chemical peels do very well to...

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Absolutely! TCA or deeper chemical peels do very well to treat hyperpigmentation. Great care should be taken though as pigment irregularities and scarring can occur if not done by an experienced clinician with close follow-up.

After a chemical peel, it is very important to keep the area moist until the outer layer of skin has regenerated. Watch for evidence of infection and cold sores as these can cause scarring if not treated appropriately.


Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Chemical peels

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Yes. Chemical Peels are a great for treating hyper-pigmentation. There are several types of chemical peels with different and multiple chemicals in them. Chemical peels vary in depth and strength as well. Skin Medica's Vitalize peel uses salicylic, lactic, and resorcinol. All are great to lighten pigmentation. Glycolic acid peels are effective as well. Multiple peels are needed for maximum  results. Usually peels in  a series of 3-6 peels is standard. 
It is always important to consult a professional for the appropriate skin treatment for your skin type. 

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Chemical Peels are Great for Hyperpigmentation

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Chemical peels are an excellent choice for the treatment  of hyperpigmentation.  There are many different kinds of chemical peels that are specifically formulated to help help even out the overall skin tone. One of them is a TCA peel that will treat hyperpigmintation, fine lines an wrinkles, while leaving the skin hydrated.  Care should be taken with ethnic clients and post treatment skin care can minimize post inflamatory pigmentation.

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

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Yes or no

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Chemical peels can be a fabulous approach to helping hyperpigmentation. Superficial peels can be done once a month, depending on the severity of your pigmentation. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you how many months of treatment you will need, but in general they are great for your skin. It’s a wonderful, healthy way to rejuvenate and bring out the new skin cells that will make you “glow”.  In addition after you have the procedure be sure to stay out of the sun and wear UVA AND
UVB protection. Deeper chemical peels that require “downtime” can also be helpful tools but depend on the patient. Some hyperpigmentation can actually be worsened by the peels. Be sure to discuss your specific case with a qualified physician.

Yael Halaas, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Chemical peels for hyperpigmentation

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Chemical peels are an excellent choice for the treatment of hyperpigmentation. That being said, make sure you are working with a professional who is experienced in treating your skin type, especially if you have dark skin, and who can manage any underlying skin conditions you may have. As board-certified dermatologists are the experts with respect to skin conditions, that would be your best choice. Of course, wear sunscreen and avoid sun exposure after any chemical peel. As far as other precautions go, that is a discussion uou should have with your treating doctor.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist
3.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Chemical peels are an excellent treatment for hyperpigmentation

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Chemical peels are an excellent treatment for hyperpigmentation. In fact, I prefer chemical peels over any kind of laser treatment for management of hyperpigmentation alone. This can be done using a more gradual approach, with a series of “light” chemical peels (generally, in my practice, this is a combination of glycolic acid, salicylic acid, kogic acid, Jessner’s solution, hydroquinone, and resourcinal) or a more aggressive type of peel, known as trichloroacetic acid (also popularized as a “blue” peel or known as a TCA peel). The more aggressive of these two approaches – the TCA peel – will usually require pre-treatment of the skin for 3-4 weeks prior to the procedure, for best results and to ensure that there are no negative consequences from the peel itself. Pre-treatment involves home application of topical skincare products, including topical vitamin C serum and a product containing hydroquinone and Retin A. Often these products are used again after the procedure to help maintain and prolong your results.

Michael R. Macdonald, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Melasma treatment with chemical peels

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Chemical peels belong to a broad class of treatments used to treat melasma.  A chemical peel does not work alone to treat melasma, but does in combination with topical and laser treatments. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Chemical peels, hyperpigmentation

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I use peels on many of my patients who are undergoing facial surgery. I feel that if a patient is going to invest time and money in looking rejuvenated, their efforts should also be directed to getting the skin in the best shape possible. This starts with a high quality doctor prescribed skin care program that I personally design for each patient. I take into account the patient's skin type and their goals. After four to six weeks of pre-conditioning, a peel is performed. The type of acid used for the peel is selected based on the goals of the patient's. TCA is generally used to diminish hyperpigmentaiton or brown discoloration, as well as fine lines. Salisylic acid is used for acne prone skin. Glycolic peels can be used ni a series for over all freshening of the skin. Each type of peel can be mixed in varying strengths and subsequently will come with varying recovery times. 

Patti A. Flint, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Peels are excellent for hyperpigmentation with a plus

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Chemical peels are one of the most effective treatments for melasma and other forms of skin darkening including "age spots" and freckiling.  The added plus is that they will improve skin texture as well.  They build up collagen and elastic fibers in the deeper layers of the skin while evening out pigmentation on the surface.  They are relatively inexpxensive for all that they do for the skin, but must be done by someone with extensive experience.  A chemical peel in the wrong hands can lead to a worsening of the condition and even scarring.  Done by the right person, there is very little risk with impressive results!

Victoria W. Serralta, MD
Arlington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

ViPeel helpful for hyperpigmentation

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My current favorite is the ViPeel because downtime is minimal and my patients are happy with their results. Be sure to minimize sun exposure after your peel. If your skin tends to darken in response to pimples or scratches, you may be able to avoid darkness by starting topical hydroquinone a week before your peel.

Daniel J. Ladd Jr., DO
Austin Dermatologist

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.