What is the best chemical peel for hyperpigmentation?

Is there a chemical peel that you recommend for hyperpigmentation? I've been living with this condition for about 7 years now, due to the fact that my skin is very white and sensitive. The worst part is that, every summer, I see new dark sunspots on my face so I have to wear a hat most of the time. I'm hoping that a chemical peel would reverse most of the damage that has already been done.


F, 58, California

Tags:woman age 55-64 sun spots dark spots hyperpigmentation sun damage

Hi Dora56,

First, depending on the type of condition causing the dark pigmentation you may benefit more from chemical peels versus other modalities like laser treatments. With that said, there is no specifically identified "best chemical peel" because there is a multifactorial approach to why a provider will chose one peel over another: skin sensitivity, age, skin type, timing, budget, etc.

Second, in our office we office Theraplex (Salicylic Acid) peels, Skin Medica (Jessner's solution + retinol) peels, and the VI peel (for the most part, exluding a few other types). After some discussion with my patients and determining the etiology of their darker pigment (i.e. Melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, sun damage) we come up with a reasonable plan - a plan that requires multiple treatment sessions.

Keep in mind that one chemical peel will likely yield little change in your pigmentation, and the perceived idea that one peel would act like peeling away a banana's peel reveals flawless skin is, unfortunately, unrealistic. Similar to weight loss, skin improvements require consistency, diligence, and maintenance.

Lastly, do your research and seek out the care of a trained professional before undergoing any treatment plan - and don't forget the sunscreen!

Good luck,

Dr. Downie