Posted by: Skin and Cancer Institute in Cosmetic Procedures

Woman receiving chemical peel

If you’re struggling with hyperpigmentation, you know how frustrating it can be to try to even out your skin tone. You may have tried several treatments, including topical creams and serums, but have not seen the desired results. If this sounds familiar, you might want to consider a chemical peel, which removes the top layer of overly-pigmented skin with chemical exfoliation.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition marked by dark spots on the skin. Melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, causes these dark spots. The different types of hyperpigmentation include sunspots, age spots, and melasma.

Sunspots 

These are dark spots that appear on the skin due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can trigger the production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Sunspots are usually small and round, and they tend to be more common in people over 40.

Age spots 

Also called liver spots, age spots are flat, tan to dark brown spots that usually appear on the face, hands, chest, and other sun-exposed areas. Age spots are common in people over 50 and are caused by a combination of sun exposure and aging.

Melasma 

Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation typically appearing as dark, patchy spots on the face. It’s more common in women than men and can be triggered by pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, and sun exposure.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation:

Injuries to the skin can lead to hyperpigmentation. For example, acne can damage the skin and trigger the production of melanin. This can lead to the development of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which typically appears as dark spots or patches on the skin. Acne, burns, mechanical injuries, allergic reactions, and other skin conditions can cause it. 

What Are Other Causes of Hyperpigmentation?

Many things other than sun exposure and injury to the skin can cause hyperpigmentation. These additional factors include hormonal changes and certain medications.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes can also cause hyperpigmentation. For example, pregnancy can increase levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones in the body, leading to the development of melasma, a type of hyperpigmentation typically appearing as dark, patchy spots on the face.

Certain Medications

Some medications can trigger hyperpigmentation. For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antimalarials, cytotoxic drugs, amiodarone, tetracyclines, heavy metals, and psychotropic drugs can cause an accumulation of melanin which is darkened by sun exposure.

How a Chemical Peel Can Help Hyperpigmentation

Chemical peels are a popular way to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation on the top layer of skin. They can help to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation by revealing brighter, more evenly-toned skin underneath. Peels can be done at varying depths, depending on your individual needs.

Are Chemical Peels Safe?

In general, chemical peels are considered safe for most people. However, discussing any potential risks with your doctor before undergoing a peel is essential. People with certain skin conditions, like psoriasis, eczema, or rosacea may not be good candidates for this treatment.

Who Should Perform a Chemical Peel?

If you are considering a chemical peel for hyperpigmentation, be sure to find a qualified aesthetician or dermatologist with experience performing this type of procedure. We recommend you book an appointment with the Skin and Cancer Institute’s aesthetician service providers. They will help ensure you get the best possible results in a safe environment under expert care.

Can I Treat Hyperpigmentation With a Home Chemical Peel?

Home chemical peels are a popular way to treat hyperpigmentation. Still, it’s important to understand that these products are typically weaker and less effective than peels done by a professional dermatologist. Chemical peels work by dissolving the top layer of skin, which contains most of the hyperpigmented cells. A weaker peel will only remove the outermost layer of skin, while a stronger peel can penetrate deeper into the skin. As a result, peels done by a professional are usually more effective at treating hyperpigmentation.

Use Home Chemical Peels With Caution

Be careful when using home chemical peels, as they can cause irritation and even burns if misused. If you’re considering using a home chemical peel to treat hyperpigmentation, talk to your dermatologist first to get guidance on which product is right for you and how to use it safely.

Summary

If you’re concerned about dark spots on your skin, you’re not alone. Skin hyperpigmentation is a common concern affecting people of all ages and skin types. While hyperpigmentation is usually harmless, it can be frustrating.

If you’re looking for an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation, a chemical peel at the Skin and Cancer Institute is a great way to improve the look of your skin, and it can be customized to meet your individual needs. We encourage you to book a consultation with one of our skilled aestheticians today to learn more about chemical peels.