Hyperpigmentation After Glycolic Peel

I had my 4th Glycolic Peel (30%) done a month and a half ago, and while the first 3 treatments were great, this one left my skin damaged. What should I do? It first crusted, especially my chin and neck, then when the crusting peeled off after a week, I was left with very red skin that broke out.

Even after the redness and breakouts went away (this took another 2 weeks) my skin became dark (about 4 or 5 shades darker than my normal medium-fair tone), it looks like a thousand fine lines/wrinkles have appeared on my face (I'm only 25 years old) and my chin has tiny bumps all over which just aren't going away. The cosmetic clinic I went to is telling me to give it more time, but I just don't trust them anymore. What should I do?

Doctor Answers 3

Glycolic Peels

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Glycolic peels are performed as a mechanism for chemical exfoliation. In patients with olive skin or hormonally sensitive melasma, patients may develop pigmentation as a result of postprocedural inflammation.

In cases of hyperpigmentation, early therapy with Melarase creams may improve results.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

You had a glycolic acid burn - there is usually no scarring and it will take time for this to heal.

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Thank you for your question.

It does sound like you either had a deeper peel effect or a slight glycolic acid burn; both are normal with glycolic peels and can happen with anyone at any time (yours was the 4th time). Dry skin is usually the cause, and although this happened to you, don't worry. The darkness will take time to resolve and you can do two other things: 1. Wear sunscreen and avoid the sun, and 2. Get a hydroquinone or Triluma prescription to bleach the dark areas.

With time, no matter what it looks like now, it will heal. They always do.

Hope this helps!

Don Mehrabi, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologist

Hyperpigmentation after Glycolic Peel

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Anything different in your daily skincare regimen can alter the results of a chemical peel. If you tolerated the first 3 Glycolic peels well, did your technician change anything during the 4th treatment?  Keep your skin hydrated and protected with at least SPF 30.  Also applying a topical lightening cream of 4% Hydroquinone will help reduce any major pigmentation changes.  An alternative to Hydroquinone if you are sensitive would be Kojic Acid and Arbutin.  Keep in mind that this might take some time, so be patient and it should go away soon. Good luck!

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.