How Long Would 30% Glycolic Take to Even a Dark Uneven Skin Tone?

i am supposed to have brown skin and so does everyone in my family but after a summer of being in the sun almost all day from work my face and neck has become darker than the rest of my body,ive used some lightening creams but they just dont seem to be working fast enough, my face is dark brown now with the skin around my eyes and near my ears being lighter than the rest of my face, what percent of glycolic would work fastest for a dark african american skin? i need it to be more even

Doctor Answers 2

Even Skin Tone

Glycolic acid lotions can lighten skin over time. However, the most effective way to even skin tone (if you are not a candidate for laser treatments) and lighten dark spots is by using a combination of peeling agents. Obagi Medical Nu Derm System combines AHA's (glycolic & lactic acids), prescription strength retinoids and lightening agents. Lightening agents can be disappointing if purchased over the counter because the concentration is only 2%. Pharmaceutical grade lighteners are 4%. This combination of peeling agents has a synergistic effect and you may see results in as little as one month! Lastly, you may consider adding a professional peel or microdermabrasion to see a more dramatic result.

Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Skin discoloration after sun exposure

I assume its been a couple months now since your summer job, and you are now unhappy with effects of the sun. The changes you describe are normal and can be improved with nonablative peels such as glycolic acid. I would suggest you not do any at home glycolic acid peels especially this early after your sun damage and also due to your apparently sensitive skin.

Unfortunately, it is possible to get very strong preparations of glycolic acid online which may worsen your problem. I suggest going to your local drugstore and use an over the counter skin lightening cream which will use much milder and safer acids and/or 2% hydroquinone. Be certain to use a sunscreen every day while using these preparations to prevent further sun damage. If things are not better by the end of winter, see a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for more aggressive treatments.

Armin Moshyedi, MD
Bethesda Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 21 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.