Should I Stick with At-home Peels for Hyperpigmentation?

I have brown skin, with hyperpigmentation on my neck caused by a cut I sustained years ago. I've since had an IPL, CO2 Laser, Chemical Peel, and steroid injections, and now my scar is extremely smooth, but dark brown in color! I tried an at-home TCA peel, which made my skin peel, get dark, and lighten up a shade! Should I keep doing the peels, opt for another laser treatment, or stick to bleaching creams?

Doctor Answers 4

TCA useful for hyperpigmentation

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TCA ise a useful peel for irregularites of the skin such as hyperpigmentation and dark patches. Further, TCA is a chemical peeling agent that smooths fine lines and removes some skin imperfections such as brown spots and sun damage. TCA may be combined with another peeling agent known as Jessner's solution. This allows a more uniform and thorough result. TCA is generally conisdered a"medium depth" peel and thus you should expect more than you would acheive with a glycolic peel, but less than with laser skin resurfacing. Healing time is usually 3-5 days.

Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Cut on neck with hyperpigmentation

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Brown skin is prone to hyperpigmentation.

Before you spend $$ on peels or IPL, try these topicals.

This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). 

I recommend Melarase AM and Melarase PM creams from Kare Skin as well as a broad spectrum sunblock like Spectrase. Bothe are from Kare Skin. Scler-x post inflammatory hyperigmentation relief complex is a great supplement to take as well. See link below. 

Spectrase is a wide spectrum sunblock SPF 50+that is also recommended to prevent ongoing inflammation. 

Reducing Hyperpigmentation Associated With a Scar: Scar Reduction

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Scars that are hyperpigmented have usually undergone a melanin stimulatory phase of wound healing that is exacerbated by inflammation.

In these cases, the first course of treatment should always be topical creams. If this does not completely improve the pigmentation, a chemical peel is warranted.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

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A series of light TCA peels should help

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As long as the peels are not too aggressive, the skin should continue to lighten with additional TCA peels. Aside from the at-home peels, topical tretinoin cream (Retin-A) can help as well. 

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

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.