Why Did I Get a Brown Mark Immediately After Chemical Peel?

I tried the Jessner peel yesterday for acne scars, and am quite worried about the dark brown color on my face. I put on one layer. I neutralized it with a cold wet towel after 10 seconds - too much pain. There was frosting on one side. After half an hour, it turned into the dark brown mark I now have. Even my chin and neck, which didn't frost, also have dark spots. Forums say my skin should become brown before peeling, but I am not even close to peeling. Is this PIH? Is this mark permanent?

Doctor Answers 2

Post Chemical Peel Reactions

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Thank you for your question. Some skin, especially ethnic skin, can pigment if not pre-treated prior to a peel or any laser treatments.  I would stop doing any peels at this time and recommend Hydroquinone for the hyperpigmentation and using daily SPF 30 with zinc.  I would recommend being treated under the supervision of a Board Certified Dermatologist for safest and best treatment option. I hope this helps.

Browning of the skin after a chemical peel

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What you are describing is the exact response the skin goes through after a chemical peel so relax and let the peel do its job.  Avoid the temptation to try to start peeling the dead layer of skin off once it starts to actually peel.  It is OK to trim off a little sheet of skin if it bothers you, but just don't peel to the point ot tearing the skin.  For the next peel you might want to find an office where they offer DermaSweep peels with Jessners or TCA skin infusions.  By exfoliating the top layer of skin first, it really minimizes the amount of bronzing to the skin and the amount of peeling over the next week.

Steven Swengel, MD
Los Gatos Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

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