Have you noticed dark spots and patches all over your skin and are looking for a solution? You’ve landed at the right place!
Hyperpigmentation is a common condition caused by excess melanin production that results in dark patches on our skin and lips. Melanin is a natural pigment in our skin that gives it its color. Tanning and sun exposure can increase the amount of melanin in the skin. Dark spots, acne scars, hormonal imbalances, and sun and tanning bed damage are all common signs of hyperpigmentation.
While you cannot wholly eliminate melanin production (and you wouldn’t want to!), there are certain things you can do to reduce hyperpigmentation at home. Using a chemical peel for hyperpigmentation is one of the dermatologist-recommended ways to lighten up dark spots, fade acne scars and ensure an even skin tone. A chemical peel is a chemical version of an exfoliation, and provides more effective results faster.
In this article, we’ll look at 10 chemical peels. We’ll start with the best chemical peel for hyperpigmentation: Medpeel’s Medical Grade Glycolic 70% Maximum Strength Acid Peel.
- 1 Best Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation
- 2 Our Top Pick: Medpeel Glycolic Acid Peel 70% Deep + Peel Unit
- 3 Our Runner Up: Yeouth Glycolic Acid Peel 30% Professional Chemical Face Peel
- 4 Best Budget: QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel
- 5 Best for Melasma: Admire My Skin Dark Spot Corrector Remover for Face
- 6 Best for Acne Scars: Perfect Image Lactic 50% Gel Peel
- 7 Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation Buyer’s Guide
- 7.1 Who Should Buy a Chemical Peel?
- 7.2 Important Features to Consider When Buying a Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation
- 7.3 Frequently Asked Questions about Chemical Peels
- 8 Other Products We Looked At:
- 8.1 InstaNatural Glycolic Peel for Face
- 8.2 Eva Naturals Skin Clearing Vitamin C Serum
- 8.3 Voibella Beauty Glycolic Acid Peel
- 8.4 TOUCH 20% Glycolic Acid Pads Exfoliating and Resurfacing AHA Peel Face Wipes
- 8.5 LumiWill Cosmetic Glycolic Acid 70% Gel Peel
- 9 Conclusion
Best Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation
Our Top Pick: Medpeel Glycolic Acid Peel 70% Deep + Peel Unit
Key Points at a Glance
- The peel is suitable for all genders and skin tones, and types.
- It contains glycolic acid, an ingredient derived from sugarcane that helps remove dead skin cells.
- It revitalizes the skin.
- It promotes the production of healthy, new skin and tissues.
Medpeel’s Medical Grade Glycolic 70% Maximum Strength Acid Peel has several benefits that make it the #1 chemical peel for hyperpigmentation. In addition to lightening dark sports, this wonderous, deep strength peel reduces pore size, fights hormonal acne, and improves cell turnover. It rejuvenates and smoothens the skin. It also decreases signs of aging, like fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.
The best part about this peel is that it is suitable for all skin types. However, the price point is a bit high compared to other items on this list, but you get what you pay for! Whether you are a beginner or professional with chemical peels, Medpeel’s 70% Glycolic Acid Peel must be on top of your list.
The peel is super easy to use. Using gauge pads, apply the peel to your cleansed and dry face using a circular buffing motion. Leave the peel on for 3 to 4 minutes. Use after every 3 weeks. As your tolerance builds up, start using it after every 2 weeks.
You will start seeing results after 6 to 8 applications. Since the product contains an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), wear sunscreen and protective clothing after application. Avoid direct sun exposure.
And if you want to amp things up, consider combining with light therapy for hyperpigmentation.
This is the best chemical peel for hyperpigmentation available.
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Key Points at a Glance
- It contains hyaluronic acid to provide hydration.
- It minimizes the appearance of pores and helps unclog them.
- It is made with naturally-derived, vegan ingredients.
- The product is cruelty-free.
- The peel brightens and smoothens the skin.
If you are looking for a chemical peel with some natural anti-aging ingredients and that is not too strong, check out Yeouth’s 30% Glycolic Acid Peel with Retinol and Green Tea Extracts. The percentage of glycolic acid in this peel is much less compared to the one by Medpeel.
This chemical peel is an effective exfoliant that helps fight against aging signs like fine lines, dark spots and wrinkles. It boosts collagen production. Collagen is a natural protein in our body that holds our skin together. The peel is also super effective in fighting pigmentation and eliminating blackheads and whiteheads.
The glycolic acid in this peel (similar to that used by pricey Natura Bisse Extreme Peel, reviewed here)promotes cell turnover by shedding dead skin cells. It stimulates collagen production and hydrates the skin. Retinol is a secret anti-aging ingredient that is very effective in fighting against aging signs, including hyperpigmentation.
That said, improper use of retinol can worsen dark spots.
The peel also contains cucumber, chamomile and green tea extracts that provide essential vitamins and minerals to rejuvenate the skin after the peel. The best part about this peel that makes it a runner up is that it is free from harmful toxins like parabens.
However, the consistency is a bit watery, and the product smells like witch hazel, an ingredient that has raised questions in the world of skincare.
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Best Budget: QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel
Key Points at a Glance
- The peel is easily blend-able.
- It provides instant results.
- It fights all signs of aging (wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation).
- The natural extracts in this peel help control the effect of glycolic acid on the skin.
- It also helps reduce redness and irritation.
The Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel with Chamomile and Green Tea extracts from QRxLabs is the most affordable chemical peel for hyperpigmentation on this list. This fragrance, paraben, and silicone-free high-grade peel smoothens and brightens the skin, minimizes pores and fights fine lines and wrinkles.
This mild peel also removes trapped oil and dirt from pores and tackles hyperpigmentation issues like acne scars and dark spots.
A unique thing about this peel is that it has a gel-like consistency, unlike the peels by Medpeel and Yeouth. A gel peel has a greater viscosity and provides a much more advanced formulation. It is easy to apply and does not drip down the face. The peel contains chamomile, calendula and green tea extracts with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which help eliminate whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. You could use this in place of a blackhead vacuum.
Apply the peel on a dry, cleansed face and let it stay on for 1 to 3 minutes before washing it off with cool water. Remember to moisturize afterwards! Apply twice a week for best results.
A significant disadvantage of purchasing this peel is that the instructions are a bit weak. It is also not suitable for sensitive skin and can cause burning if not used properly.
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Best for Melasma: Admire My Skin Dark Spot Corrector Remover for Face
Key Points at a Glance
- This peel provides significant results in 4 weeks if used once or twice a day.
- It fades dark spots and improves complexion.
- It evens out skin tone.
- It includes the highest concentration of hydroquinone that is allowed without a dermatologist’s prescription.
Melasma is a skin condition that causes brown or gray patches to appear on the skin. It commonly occurs on the forehead, cheeks and the bridge of the nose. It is a type of hyperpigmentation caused mainly by thyroid problems, sun exposure, stress and hormonal imbalance.
To treat melasma, you should purchase the Dark Spot Corrector remover for Face by Admire My Skin. This god-send product is a mixture of 4 different acids: kojic acid, azelaic acid, salicylic acid and lactic acid. Each of these acids has its own purpose:
Kojic acid is a naturally-derived antioxidant that helps lighten the skin.
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid used in the treatment of acne scars and age spots.
Lactic acid fights dull complexion and evens out skin tone.
Azelaic acid’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties make it useful in cleaning bacteria from acne and treating skin conditions like rosacea.
This peel also contains 2% hydroquinone that fades dark spots and brightens the skin, providing significant results within 4 weeks. Vitamin C acts as a shield against pollution, brightens the complexion and reduces hyperpigmentation. However, using this peel can cause skin rashes and permanent scarring if it does not suit you.
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Best for Acne Scars: Perfect Image Lactic 50% Gel Peel
Key Points at a Glance
- The combination of two peels in the acid lightens discoloration.
- The peel gently exfoliates the skin.
- It promotes collagen and elastin fibroblast production.
- The peel also reduces irregularities in skin pigment.
Acne scars are reddish-brown indentations in the skin caused by the inflammation of acne blemishes. Also known as hyperpigmentation scars, they appear in place of a pimple when the skin produces too much melanin. Lactic acid 50% Gel Peel by Perfect Image is an excellent product to use to eliminate acne scars.
This can be a great compliment to light therapy for acne.
Unlike other peels on this list, the primary ingredient in this peel is lactic acid instead of glycolic acid. Lactic acid is milder than glycolic acid and helps exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and brightening the complexion. Regular usage of this peel as instructed delays signs of aging and boosts collagen in the skin.
This peel also contains Kojic acid, a famous skin brightening ingredient that helps lighten age spots, reduces freckles and fights hyperpigmentation. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This peel also contains a lot of natural ingredients. Green tea, licorice and bearberry extracts provide extra nourishment to the skin. Chamomile and cucumber extracts protect the skin barrier from damage and provide essential vitamins that revitalize the skin.
However, the peel can give a slight tingling sensation upon application, so be sure to use only as instructed.
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Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation Buyer’s Guide
Who Should Buy a Chemical Peel?
If you are dealing with skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, melasma, acne, acne scars, enlarged pores or rosacea, you need to exfoliate your skin chemically. If you suffer from one or many aging signs like wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots, you must also add chemical exfoliation to your skincare routine.
If you have an uneven skin texture that makes your skin look leathery, dry and weathered, chemical exfoliation can bring you many benefits.
The best way to exfoliate your skin is by using a chemical peel. Chemical peels containing ingredients that fight pigmentation (kojic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin C etc.) can effectively reduce dark patches.
However, people under a certain age must not use chemical peels. The safest age to use chemical peels is 18 years and above. Our skin needs to be a bit mature for chemical exfoliation to handle the effects of active ingredients. Chemical peels can be used safely by all genders.
Important Features to Consider When Buying a Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation
1. Laboratory Registration
Insanely cheap peels that do not mention any certification, pH levels, acid types or laboratory registration on the packaging are a big red flag. Having a certification from a registered lab is critical to ensure that you are applying a peel formulated with only the best ingredients that will not harm you and your skin in any way.
2. pH Levels
The lower the pH level, the higher the acid concentration of the chemical peel. A peel with a low pH will have more potent effects on your skin. If you are looking to treat mild hyperpigmentation, then a peel with a lower acid concentration would work best for you. However, if you have deeper dark spots or acne scars, a high acid concentration chemical peel for hyperpigmentation should be your choice.
3. Type of Peel
- Superficial Peels: BHAs and AHAs like salicylic acid and glycolic acid are used in superficial peel treatments. AHAs are the mildest peels since they contain fruit-derived acids. BHAs are lipid-based and a bit more useful than AHAs because they can penetrate deeper. Superficial peels are the most commonly used peels and can be administered at home.
- Medium Peels: Trichloroacetic Acids (TCA) are used in medium peel treatments. They are great for people with advanced pigmentation issues, evident sun damage and deep acne scars.
- Deep Peels: Phenol peels, such as those containing carbolic acid, are the strongest of all chemical peels. They dramatically rejuvenate your skin and give longer-lasting results. They are always administered by a dermatologist or a physician only once in your lifetime because they are super strong.
Frequently Asked Questions about Chemical Peels
How Effective Is at-Home Chemical Exfoliation?
An at-home skincare regimen that is performed regularly is more effective than irregular and expensive clinical treatments. Low to mild strength lactic, glycolic, mandelic, malic, Kojic and salicylic acid peels can be used 3 to 4 times a week for thorough skin exfoliation. At-home chemical exfoliation can give better results than derma treatments as long as you use your peels consistently.
What Should I Expect After Using a Chemical Peel?
After using a light to moderate concentration chemical peel, your skin will feel tight, like it does after sunburn. Don’t be scared if you notice redness. A little bit of redness is normal. However, your skin might experience much more after a deep peel. You might even experience slight discomfort. Your skin will feel tender and might also extract fluids.
New, pink skin will take some time to develop and will usually appear a few weeks after your peel. If your skin doesn’t peel off after a chemical peel, don’t panic!
You may end up with dry skin after a chemical peel. Hydrate and gently moisturize.
What Are Some Risks Associated with Using Chemical Peels?
Here is a list of some risks or side effects associated with using chemical peels for hyperpigmentation. They are more likely to occur if instructions are not followed.
- Bacterial infection
- Hypopigmentation (pale patches)
- Hyperpigmentation (excessive discoloration)
- Viral infection
Other Products We Looked At:
InstaNatural 30% Glycolic AHA Chemical Peel for Face provides an advanced exfoliation solution. The peel contains a beneficial blend of acids (lactic acid and hyaluronic acid) in addition to glycolic acid that reveals healthy and glowing skin after consistent use. The product also contains Vitamin C, which is a popular brightening antioxidant.
However, the product has a watery texture that might take time to be effective and produce results.
Key Points at a Glance
- The peel minimizes the appearance of pores.
- It shrinks blackheads and improves skin texture.
- It contains nourishing botanicals that make skin softer and brighter.
The Skin Clearing Serum from Eva Naturals is heaven in a bottle if you are looking for an all-in-one product to fix all your skin problems. The peel contains Niacinamide (B3 complex) that soothes troubled skin. Vitamin C brightens the skin and protects against UV rays.
Hyaluronic acid holds up hydration. Salicylic acid helps fight acne and blemishes, while MSM reduces inflammation. Retinol helps get rid of signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles and shrinks pores.
However, the product is not suitable for sensitive or young skin since it contains many active ingredients that may burn the skin.
Key Points at a Glance
- The peel is packed with essential oils and natural ingredients like aloe vera.
- It helps improve skin texture.
- It removes trapped dirt and oil from pores.
Advanced Anti-Aging Glycolic Acid Peel from Voibella Beauty is an excellent choice of chemical peel for hyperpigmentation and acne scars. The sulfate and paraben-free formula is a blend of 3 alpha-hydroxy acids, namely glycolic acid, lactic acid and Peruvic acid.
The peel literally “peels” away your dead skin in small particles, leaving it soft and bright. The glycolic acid helps fight acne scars and signs of aging. The lactic acid helps improve skin tone and reduces pore size.
Peruvic acid helps lightens hyperpigmentation and freckles. The peel, however, gives a tingling sensation when applied, which might bother those with sensitive skin.
Key Points at a Glance
- The peel is said to be more effective than physical exfoliators (scrubs) and microdermabrasion, a treatment for acne scars.
- It is a pure, filler-free peel.
- It has a potent pH of 1.5.
Almost all chemical peels mentioned in this list are serums in bottles with droppers or sprays. However, this product from TOUCH is a chemical peel that comes in the form of 50 round pads. The pads made from lycoll are infused with exfoliants that reduce discoloration, blemishes and acne, smoothening the skin in the process.
They also contain emollients that hydrate, protect and soften the skin. The pads are very easy to use. Just swipe them across your skin!
Conversely, the high concentration of glycolic acid can cause sun damage, causing dark spots to develop.
Key Points at a Glance
- The pads contain a moderate to high 20% concentration of glycolic acid.
- They are made to retain the ingredients and don’t dry out quickly.
- The pads contain green tea, chamomile, comfrey and cucumber extracts with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to provide moisture and protection.
The last product we reviewed was the Glycolic Acid 70% Gel Peel from LumiWill Cosmetic. Claimed to be a “skin rejuvenation therapy,” the peel works by breaking down the skin’s topmost layer. It minimizes scars, pores, acne, blackheads, wrinkles and fine lines. The gel compounds replenish the skin tissue by transferring water molecules that provide hydration into the skin.
For the best results, apply a thin layer of the peel on cleansed skin and wash off after 5 minutes. Repeat after every 1 to 2 weeks.
The peel is very watery, though and can take some time to show results, even though it claims to have a 70% concentration of glycolic acid.
Key Points at a Glance
- The glycolic acid in the peel is a great collagen booster.
- The product is free of parabens, phthalates, alcohol and genetically-modified organisms.
- Unlike other peels, this one contains COQ10, an antioxidant that fights signs of aging like hyperpigmentation effectively.
We hope this article gave you useful insights about chemical peeling treatments and helped you narrow down your choices. The best chemical peel for hyperpigmentation and our top pick is Medpeel’s Medical Grade Glycolic 70% Maximum Strength Acid Peel. The high-quality product is suitable for all skin types and is rich in ingredients that help fight hyperpigmentation.
The runner up on our list is Yeouth Glycolic Acid Peel 30% Professional Chemical Face Peel for beginners who do not want to experiment with Medpeel because of its high strength. However, both these products are pricey, so for a cheaper solution for hyperpigmentation, you can go with our budget pick: QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 30% Gel Peel with Chamomile and Green Tea Extracts. This affordable gel peel is free from all toxins!
Make sure you follow a proper skincare routine while using these peels and avoid bad skincare habits, like stepping outside during the day without wearing sunscreen.