Should I get microdermabrasion or a chemical peel to treat hyperpigmentation?

I am an African American woman and I do suffer from some hyperpigmentation on my face. I was looking into different non-invasive skin treatments that could help my issue. Has anyone had experiences with microdermabrasion or chemical peels? Is one more drastic than the other?


F, 36, Florida

Tags:age 25-34 face hyperpigmentation non surgical

Once I turned 32, I started to develop areas of hyperpigmentation on my face. I tried using makeup to cover up the blotches but hated the fact that they were so visible under heavy foundation. I finally decided to look into treatments to deal with the hyperpigmentation. I was really considering microdermabrasion because the treatments are quick, require no downtime, and remove all of the dead skin cells on your face. However, I was told that hyperpigmentation could only be addressed deep within the skin. Microdermabrasion will not correct this problem. A chemical peel would be able to treat my problem. I had a medium depth peel which requires a bunch of down time after because your face will really be peeling. I recommend taking at least a 4 day weekend.

I spent a lot of time out in the sun when I was younger and definitely have paid for it as I got older with sun damage and hyperpigmentation on my face. My best friend had a chemical peel to help with her discoloration, and it worked great for her. The only downside was that she had a lot of peeling with each session. I chose microdermabrasion because I have a tendency to pick at my skin, and I didn't think my sensitive skin could handle the peeling. After a few sessions, my spots were significantly lighter. I think the chemical peel is a little more drastic, especially since they have a mid-depth option which goes down deeper into the skin. If you are treating skin problems like acne scars I think you will get your best results from chemical peels. For hyperpigmentation, I think you can see positive results from microdermabrasion treatments and/or skin peels.

I started getting microdermabrasion to treat two dark spots I had on both sides of my mouth, and I saw really awesome results after just a few sessions. I’ve also gotten a few chemical peels. But I got those for different reasons – I just wanted to see if they could reduce the fine lines around my mouth. The chemical peels were way more intense than the microdermabrasion sessions. After each one, it took about a week for my face to heal. If I were just looking to clear up a few dark spots, I think I’d stick to microdermabrasion, which doesn’t call for any recovery time.

If you’re looking for the most non-invasive procedure, definitely go with multiple microdermabrasion treatments. I got a series of them, once every two weeks for two months, and it really evened out my skin tone. And they worked without any side effects – my skin just looked a little red after each treatment, but that quickly went away. I got a chemical peel one time, and it was a little bit harder on my skin. There was a lot of, well, peeling. Microdermabrasion treatments work without any downsides.