If you want to get rid of dark spots, you need the best chemical peel for hyperpigmentation. Scrubs, serums, and creams can only do so much.
Chemical peels are good for hyperpigmentation because they rapidly remove the darkened layers of skin. It may take several treatments, but the process works.
Moreover, you don’t need a prescription to get a chemical peel for dark spots. The only thing you have to do is decide which active ingredient to try. But they all take care of acne scars, melasma, hyperpigmentation on the legs, and more.
Here are the best at-home chemical peels:
|The best chemical peels for hyperpigmentation||Why we love them|
|QRx Labs Lactic Acid 50% Gel Peel with Kojic Acid|
|QRxLabs Chemical Peel Neutralizer|
|YEOUTH Glycolic Acid Peel 30% Professional Chemical Face Peel with Retinol|
|Admire My Skin Dark Spot Corrector|
|Perfect Image Hydro-Glo 40% Peel Pads|
By the way, don’t forget the neutralizer. Chemical peels are very acidic and will burn the skin if left on for too long. You must neutralize the acid with a base like baking soda to end the treatment. Fortunately, we’ve included two of the best after peel neutralizers in the reviews below.
Table of Contents
- How does a chemical peel help hyperpigmentation?
- Who shouldn’t do a chemical peel at home?
- Best Chemical Peels for Hyperpigmentation in 2021
How does a chemical peel help hyperpigmentation?
A chemical peel exfoliates the skin that’s been darkened by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, sun damage, acne scars, liver spots, melasma, and so on. All of these dark spots happen when the skin makes too much melanin to compensate for injury or hormonal imbalance (1).
The acid in the chemical peel dissolves the bonds between the skin cells so that the skin peels off. Think of it like removing old paint from a house. Eventually it gets down to fresh, new skin that isn’t over pigmented.
If you went to a dermatologist, the doctor could tell you the depth of the procedure needed to resurface the skin (2). For example, a light chemical peel treats uneven skin tone and acne. A medium peel goes deeper to erase wrinkles and pitted acne scars.
In any case, it’s not your garden-variety exfoliation. A chemical peel requires a certain amount of recovery time depending on the skin’s sensitivity and how deep the peel goes. You’re guaranteed to have reddened skin and some soreness from an office procedure.
When you do a chemical peel at home, it’s crucial to follow the directions to the letter. Never leave it on the skin for longer than the recommended time. Always neutralize, moisturize, and wear sunscreen, too. The peel will make your skin more sensitive for a while, so you might need to skip wearing makeup for a couple of days.
Who shouldn’t do a chemical peel at home?
If you already have sensitive skin with rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis, skip the peel until you consult with a doctor.
Those with dark skin need to be careful because chemical peels may cause hypopigmentation, or a loss of color. Keloids, or scar tissue, are another undesirable side effect.
Persons prone to cold sores (herpes) should also check with a doctor because the peel could cause a flare-up.
Finally, persons taking oral acne medication should also get medical advice before using a chemical peel.
Best Chemical Peels for Hyperpigmentation in 2021
Now, if we haven’t scared you away, check out the best chemical peels below.
QRx Labs Lactic Acid 50% Gel Peel with Kojic Acid and Bearberry & Licorice Root Extracts
If you’re in a hurry to eliminate dark spots, this is a potent level 2 peel with some of the best skin lightening ingredients available. Warning: it’s medical-grade and it’s not buffered. If you’re new to using chemical peels, we highly recommend choosing a lower concentration to start with.
As you’ll see, there are different active ingredients in chemical peels. This one uses lactic acid, the mildest and most moisturizing of all the alpha-hydroxy acids. (And yes, it’s the same stuff that builds up in your muscles and makes them sore after exercise). But just because it’s mild, doesn’t mean it’s safe. It’s in a 50% concentration in this peel, but it’s blended with Kojic acid, bearberry, and licorice root.
Kojic acid and bearberry are similar to hydroquinone which lightens skin color by preventing melanin formation. While hydroquinone is cleared by the FDA for skin lightening, the other two ingredients are not officially recognized for this purpose (yet).
As you might imagine, this peel is a triple threat to hyperpigmentation. It’s a good thing it contains licorice root, which is both soothing and good for evening out skin tone.
We also like how the gel formula resists dripping unlike some liquid peels. This simplifies doing a patch test before using it over a larger area.
Put a dab behind your ear, under your chin, on the inside of your wrist, or somewhere else out of sight. Let it work for one or two minutes before neutralizing. (See the neutralizer below). How does your skin look? To play it even safer, watch your skin for the next twenty-four hours to see how it reacts.
Don’t worry, the bottle has enough for twenty complete facial treatments so there’s plenty to spare.
Happily, it has no parabens, artificial dyes, perfumes, or silicone. It’s made in the USA and comes with a money-back guarantee.
Users say if it’s used properly, the skin peels and heals within a day or two. It will look and feel baby soft with a noticeable reduction in discoloration.
- Potent level 2 chemical peel for maximum results in minimum time
- Features skin-lightening ingredients similar to hydroquinone
- Free of perfumes, parabens, artificial colors, and silicone
- Made in the USA, comes with a money-back guarantee
- Gel provides twenty treatments per bottle
- Please do a patch test and read all the directions
QRxLabs Chemical Peel Neutralizer
Before we go any further in the reviews, here’s the neutralizer you need. It stops the chemical peel from working so that it doesn’t burn your skin.
This is a professional-grade neutralizer effective for medical-grade peels like the one above. It works with lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, TCA, and other types of acid peels.
Not only does it protect against injury, but it also calms the skin to relieve tingling and burning with green tea and chamomile. But the active ingredient is sodium bicarbonate – baking soda.
Yes, it’s like those elementary science experiments with vinegar and baking soda. The vinegar is acidic, the baking soda is basic, and when you mix them together you get neutral.
Why spend the money on this product instead of making your own neutralizer with baking soda? Because no matter how you blend it, the homemade neutralizer is going to be gritty and harsh to your skin. This one is smooth and soothing.
What happens when you use the neutralizer? Cover all the areas where you’ve used the peel with a generous layer of neutralizer. It’s going to foam up and feel warm and tingly. Once it stops foaming, the peel is neutralized. However, leave the neutralizer on the skin for ten minutes before rinsing to make absolutely sure.
- An absolute must, this neutralizer stops all types of chemical peels from working
- Smooth blend of sodium bicarbonate with soothing ingredients like chamomile and green tea
- Calms the burning and tingling
YEOUTH Glycolic Acid Peel 30% Professional Chemical Face Peel with Retinol
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid like lactic acid. It’s moisturizing and has anti-aging benefits. It’s the perfect ingredient for a chemical peel. In this product, it’s paired with retinol for even better results.
Retinol is proven to resurface the skin. It’s a powerful anti-acne treatment that also smooths wrinkles and fades dark spots. As you might imagine, this is the ideal peel for mature skin with hyperpigmentation or acne-prone complexions with post-inflammatory scars.
Furthermore, the vegan formula has hyaluronic acid for extra hydration. That’s essential when using a chemical peel that strips away dead skin.
It contains no parabens, plus it’s fortified with cucumber, green tea, and chamomile extracts for extra soothing. Users say repeated treatments (at least a week or two apart) make both the color and depth of acne scars less noticeable. It leaves the complexion looking fresh and renewed once the skin heals.
Take note that you’ll need to wear sunscreen outdoors to avoid sunburn after treating your skin with glycolic acid or retinol. Keep applying it for at least a week after doing a peel.
- Renews aging skin and improves acne-prone complexions
- Vegan formula with soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, green tea, cucumber, and chamomile
- None – just remember to put on sunscreen
Admire My Skin Dark Spot Corrector Remover for Face
Are you someone who doesn’t like to waste time? This peel doesn’t waste time, either. It combines lactic acid, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, Kojic acid, and vitamin C for maximum effect.
What are all these things and why do they matter? You already know about lactic acid and Kojic acid from the first peel we reviewed. Salicylic acid is used to combat acne as it’s not only an exfoliant, but also good at penetrating oil to unclog pores and reduce inflammation. Then, there’s azelaic acid that’s derived from wheat and barley. It treats rosacea and acne.
Lastly, vitamin C isn’t a chemical peel, but it’s excellent for brightening skin tone and stimulating collagen production to firm the skin.
In other words, this chemical peel doesn’t just fade hyperpigmentation but it also works against signs of aging like wrinkles, large pores, and fine lines. The manufacturer says results will be visible in four weeks or less.
- Fades hyperpigmentation and reduces pores, fine lines, and wrinkles
- Has anti-acne properties
- Results in four weeks or less
- Please allow sufficient time for skin recovery between treatments
Perfect Image Hydro-Glo 40% Peel Pads
If all this talk of chemical peels and neutralizers is frightening you, that’s okay. You don’t have to jump into the deep end before getting your feet wet. If you’re feeling hesitant, try using a peel pad. Although we selected the 40% concentration, they are available in a 10% version, too.
The formula blends lactic acid, mandelic acid, Kojic acid, and bearberry to lighten dark spots as quickly as possible. Why the papaya and pineapple? These fruit acids also exfoliate the skin.
Then, there’s licorice to brighten skin tone and soothe redness while glutathione (an antioxidant) fights off damage caused by free radicals.
The label lists no parabens, drying alcohol, or perfumes.
- Blend of lactic, mandelic, and Kojic acid plus bearberry to exfoliate and brighten the skin
- Enhanced with botanicals like licorice root
- Free of parabens, drying alcohols, and artificial fragrances
- Also available in a lower concentration
Chemical peels will get rid of hyperpigmentation. It takes time as it requires repeated treatments along with time for the skin to heal. On the bright side, it’s possible to do chemical peels at home and enjoy brighter, smoother skin within a few weeks.
We hope our reviews helped you find a solution today. If so, we’d love to hear about your experience. Please leave us a comment below.
1. https://medlineplus.gov/skinpigmentationdisorders.html accessed July 9, 2021
2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/chemical-peel/about/pac-20393473 accessed July 9, 2021