Dark spots are all too common nowadays and can be the result of too much sun exposure, acne, rashes, and even hormonal imbalances. Needless to say, they can be unsightly, particularly if the hyperpigmentation has become too severe to hide. Putting on layers of concealer won't do the trick, and it isn't really good on the skin to always have too much makeup on.
Many of those who suffer from an increasing number of dark spots turn to beauty spas and dermatologists to address them permanently. One of the most popular procedures for lightening dark spots is a chemical peel.
What are Chemical Peels?
What are chemical peels, and how do they lighten dark spots? A chemical facial peel is a type of cosmetic procedure that uses a chemical solution applied to the skin to remove or peel off the outermost layer. The goal is to remove dead skin cells and discoloration and encouraging new cells to come to the surface and result in younger-looking skin.
Chemical peeling solutions come in different strengths, each designed to treat various skin conditions with one more penetrating than the other. Light to medium face peel procedures are typically performed in beauty salons to address uneven skin tone, clogged pores, dry skin, fine lines, and acne scars. While a board-certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon performs the more invasive deep peels to address deep scarring, deep wrinkles, and similar conditions.
What Causes Dark Spots on the Face?
Dark spots arehyperpigmentations that are usually caused by excess melanin production when the skin is exposed to elements that make it vulnerable. Excessive sun exposure, acne scars, or hormonal changes can all be reasons why the melanin that our skin naturally procedures goes haywire.
The purpose of melanin is to protect the DNA and nucleus of each cell — and this is why our skin becomes tan when we’re frequently under the sun. However, when the skin becomes vulnerable due to too much exposure, the process of melanin migration goes wrong, forcing them to gather in clumps. These are what lead to dark spots and patches on the skin. This vulnerability is also the reason why acne scars easily leave marks.
Hyperpigmentation can happen in all skin types and may come as age spots, freckles, and the like, making your complexion look uneven. If your dark spots are starting to be a bother, or if you simply want to nip the problem in the bud, you can consult a beauty spa clinician or dermatologist to discuss if a chemical peel is feasible and to determine the options that will work best for your skin.
What Type of Chemical Peel Do I Need for Dark Spots?
The best type ofchemical peel for dark spots will depend on how dark, deep, and severe the dark spots are. The process is combined with topical treatments for dark spots that work to support the rapid turnover of pigmented cells to new and fresh ones, with the goal to either reduce the level of skin pigmentation or remove dark patches, likemelasma.
Light or Superficial Peels
A light, superficial peel removes pigmentation on the skin's top layer and has the least risk for complications among the three chemical peeling types. It is recommended for minor dark spots and dull skin. They take a few days to a week to heal.
Medium Depth Peels
A medium-depth chemical peel penetrates the outer and middle layers to address discoloration, uneven tone, age spots, fine lines, and more. This procedure can be done every three months to maintain smooth skin and a clear complexion. It will take your skin about one to two weeks to heal.
This is the most invasive type of peel as it penetrates the lower dermal layer to address different deep skin problems. It involves a pre-treatment procedure and several weeks of recovery. It is recommended to have a deep peel only once a year or even once in your lifetime. Do note that deep peels are to be considered only as a last resort, if at all, as they are incredibly invasive.
With persistent treatment using lighter procedures and active ingredients in the clinician-recommended homecare products, better results can be achieved in the long term. In fact, in most cases, chemical peels might not even be the best option for dark spots. There are peeling solutions that use natural enzymes to address light discoloration and skin tone problems, and these should be considered first.
Best Chemical Peels to Lighten Dark Spots
Using a chemical peel to lighten your dark spots is relatively simple. First, consult a professional to find out which type of chemical peel is recommended for your skin’s condition. Next, talk with a professional about how long the treatment should last and when you should schedule it again. Finally, pay attention to your after-care procedures and follow your clinician's instructions to a T.
Here are some of the best acid peel solutions for lightening dark spots.
Lactic acid chemical peels comprise alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) that help to remove the dead skin cells from your face, and they can be used as an anti-ageing treatment, too. The peel also helps with acne, wrinkles, pigmentation spots or any other blemishes you may have on your face. The best part about these is that there is no downtime, and AHAs are often in many of the products that are recommended for use at home. You will see results within days after the treatment.
Salicylic acid chemical peels (or beta hydroxy acids) are typically used on the face to remove acne, wrinkles, and sun damage. They can be applied as a treatment once or twice per week for three to four weeks with minimal downtime. Many of the recommended homecare products will also have BHAs in their ingredients. Side effects may include dryness, redness, itchiness of the skin, and irritation around hair follicles or other sensitive areas.
Glycolic acid is a chemical peel that has been used for decades to remove the outer layer of skin and reduce acne. It also reduces wrinkles, lightens age spots, and makes the skin smoother. Glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acids are also available as home chemical peels, although it's still best to consult your clinician before starting anything.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is one of the most popular peels for treating wrinkles, acne scars, or enlarged pores, although it should only be applied by experienced practitioners as it can be very strong. It is typically applied to the skin, starting with a few drops on a cotton pad or swab and then left on the face for anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes. The TCA penetrates deep into your skin because it's oil-soluble, so it can get in between all those layers of dead cells that make up your epidermis.
Tips on Getting a Chemical Peel to Treat Dark Spots
Chemical peels can treat many types of skin conditions such as acne, sun damage and wrinkles. Here are some tips that will help you stay on track on your journey towards clearer skin!
Besides using aftercare maintenance creams, sunscreen, and anti-inflammatory ointments, Lovoir Beauty recommends the following post-treatment skincare tips:
- Don’t pick at your skin during recovery.
- Use moisturizer every day to help keep both your peeling and new skin hydrated.
- Protect yourself from sun exposure with abroad spectrum mineral sunscreen, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide with SPF 30+.
- Sunscreen should be used concurrently before starting treatment because UV rays can lead to premature ageing of treated areas in some people.
The New Zealand heat can be pretty unforgiving so be sure to reapply SPF as often as needed throughout the day.
For more information about which type of chemical peel you should get for your skin type,book a consultation with our expert aestheticians at Lovoir Skin Body & Beauty. We will evaluate your skin and create a custom treatment plan that will work optimally to safely lighten and remove dark spots on the face.