Can I Perform Chemical Peeling on My Back for Severe Pigmentation?

I consulted a cosmetics clinic after suffering from acne scars and old acne spots. after performing fractional laser on my whole back caused severe pigmentation in the acne spots and it looks terrible. I would like to know if chemical peeling is possible for the body? (back or shoulders) to enhance my problem and get rid of the pigmented spots?

Doctor Answers 8

Chemical peeling is an excellent choice for skin discoloration

Chemical peeling is an excellent choice for skin discoloration. However in many people with darker skin, superficial peels repeated many times is a better choice than deeper, aggresive ones. See further discussion below.

Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Chemical peels for hyperpigmentation on the body

Chemical peels are an excellent way of addressing hyperpigmentation on the body. As the skin is thicker, it may take more peels to get the results you want. The Vi peel is an excellent choice for hyperpigmentation on both the face and body.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist
3.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Chemical peels can remove dark spots from the body

Chemical peels can remove dark spots from the body. These peels should be light peels and repeated often so as not to further damage skin of the body.

Edward Lack, MD
Chicago Dermatologist
2.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Chemical Peels and Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Yes, chemical peeling can be performed on various areas of the body. The thicker skin of the back and shoulders generally handles peeling quite well. However, from what you describe it sounds as though you are prone to what we call “post inflammatory hyperpigmentation” or “PIH”.

PIH occurs when the skin over-produces melanin as a part of the natural immune response to protect the cells and is much more common in people with darker skin tones. If this is the case, any type of resurfacing procedure could put you at risk for more PIH.

To achieve your goals, I would suggest beginning a regimen with a topical lightening agent prior to undergoing any additional procedures. A prescription strength lightener, such as hydroquinone, should improve this pigmentation, as well as protect the skin from developing additional PIH following future procedures. PIH will often resolve some on its own, but it can take up to 12 months. It would be best to wait at least a few months after the laser treatment to receive a chemical peel. Having said that, chemical peeling could further improve the issue when performed with the appropriate acids and there has been a satisfactory “resting period” for the skin.

Hope this helps
Nick Slenkovich MD, FACS

Nick Slenkovich, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Chemical Peels on the back for hyperpigmentation

It is possible to lighten pigmentation on the back with chemical peels but it does depend on the individual. To decide which treatment would be best you have to look at many factors. Some of these may include how long it has been there, if there is active acne still ongoing, skin color, sun exposure, genetics, etc. Once I determine the answers to these and a few other questions I can come up with a treatment plan for the best possible results. There are also several different chemical peels available now. Some are made specifically for acne and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, others for sun damage discoloration, melasma, etc. There are times when a chemical peel may not even be necessary and the patient can be treated with other treatments, prescriptions, or medical grade skin care at home. It is important to do your research and go to the right doctor for your needs. My practice offers free consultations with our aestheticians to discuss all options available.

Alan M. Gardner, MD
Atlanta Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Acne and Pigmentation Treatment Program

My first question is whether the acne is until control. In the approach to treating acne scarring and pigmentation, the acne itself must always be addressed first. As long as you continue to breakout, more scarring will be created. Once your Dermatologist has stopped the breakouts, your options for scar therapy can be addressed. A series of Jessner’s peels may be appropriate to help lighten the pigmentation, or the use of a physician prescribed corrective skincare program. Typically these programs include products containing hydroquinone and exfoliating agents to even out the skin tone, which are used over a period of four to six months for optimal results. It is imperative to keep the sun off of your back as any amount of sun exposure will not only contribute to more hyperpigmentation, but also darken the pigmentation you already have. Consult with an experienced Cosmetic Dermatologist in your area to determine the most appropriate treatment for your skin condition.

Frances Jang, MD
Vancouver Dermatologic Surgeon
1.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Intense Pulse Light, Medium depth chemical peels, fractional co2 resurfacing, skin care can improve back pigmentation

Intense Pulse Light, Medium depth chemical peels, fractional co2 resurfacing, skin care can improve back pigmentation. With Fraxel resurfacing the pigmentation could be at many different levels. More superficially, I would consider more aggressive skin care light lightening products (retinol, hydroquinone, hydrocortizone), 15% alpha and beta hydroxy lotion, at home glycolic peels.  Also for superficial pigmentation, lighter chemical peels 10-25% TCA (Tricholoroacetic Acid) peels, and active / deep fx could help.  For dermal pigmentation, active and deep fx could improve the pigmentation intense pulse light with varying filters could improve this, as well as different longer length lasers from 585-1064.  Dermal depths are deeper and not accessible to most superficial treatments.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Several peels help even out discolorations of the back.

It usually takes several chem peels to even out the discoloration on the back.  Jessner's plus 20% tca is a common peel for the back every month for 4-5 sessions at 350-500 per treatment.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 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.