Can Deep Chemical Peels Reveal the Lighter Skin Underneath?

Sometimes when you get a scab, it will stay there for a while. Then, when it lifts, the skin is lighter and never returns to original color. If you want to achieve a lighter skin tone, can this be done with Chemical peels?

Doctor Answers 4

Not exactly

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Deep chemical peels can act that way.  They do tend to cause depigmentation.  That is, the part of the skin that creates brown pigment is decreased causing the skin to become lighter.  This would depend on many factors.

Chemical peels

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 Ideally chemical peels are used to bring out even skin complexion.  The goal is not to lighten the skin.  However, it does not mean that this can not be achieved. The deeper the peel depth the more likely hyper-pigmentation will occur early on. This will likely go on to become hypo-pigmented.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Lighter Skin with Chemical Peels

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yes, it can be done with Phenol peels. However, you have to remember it is going to be permanent and there is risk of uneven lightening. You should first try lightening creams like Triluma to see if that helps you enough. If it is not enough then you can inquire about chemical peels for lightening.


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Chemical peels don't exactly reveal lighter skin

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Dear Zoozoo

A scab forms on the skin after a full thickness injury to the skin. When the scab falls off the exposed skin has been largely replaced by new collagen that forms a scar and it is white because there are no pigment cells in the scar. Scars tend to stay white for ever.

This is precisely the result that we are looking to prevent with a chemical peel or a laser skin resurfacing. The goal is to injure the skin to stimulate the repair process. However, the depth of injury is controlled and the healing process is managed to avoid scab formation and stimulate full thickness regeneration of the skin. Done properly, there will be improvement in skin color by virtue of the turn over of the skin elements and removal of sun spots and other dyschromias. Certain extremely deep peels will produce a so-called porcelain white skin. This is generally a very unnatural change in skin color and texture that is considered for older individuals who habitually wear foundation and need profound skin tightening. For younger individuals, this type of skin change is usually highly undesirable and best avoided by limiting the depth of the chemical peel.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 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.