Best At-Home Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation

by Linda Robison

Looking for the best at-home chemical peel for hyperpigmentation and age spots?

We'll show you what to look for in a home acid peel and what chemical solutions and active ingredients offer the best results.

These days you can buy almost anything online and unfortunately, some people may have damaged their skin by using medium peels or even deep peels like trichloroacetic acid (TCA peels) at home.

Brush and best at-home chemical for hyperpigmentation.

Home chemical peels for a smoother face: A safer option

If you're going to be using chemical exfoliants at home, make sure they're superficial peels or light peels - the type of chemical peel that can be used safely at-home.

Depending on the ingredients and strength, chemical peels can be used for a variety of issues, from dark spots and sun damage to reducing scars.

Different types of at-home chemical peels: How to choose a face peel for dark spots

Ok, what type of acid peel is best to reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation?

Well, first check out the active ingredients.

While all chemical skin peels will exfoliate dead skin cells, improve the appearance of fine lines, provide smoother skin, not all home chemical peels are the same. They have different active ingredients to target specific skin concerns.

There are basically two types of chemical peels designed for home use. These two peels contain different acids for different results:

- Salicylic Acid Peel

If you have the following issues, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) is best to target deep into pores to help clear them out.

  • acne
  • oily skin
  • clogged pores 
  • inflamed breakouts

Many salicylic acid peels also contain mandelic acid (which also part of the beta hydroxy acids BHA) and can also help acne-prone skin.

Is this one of the best at-home chemical peel for hyperpigmentation? Not unless you have post acne hyperpigmentation. The active ingredients have a slight whitening effect on the skin.

And mandelic acid can also help improve skin discoloration. But, if you don't have these specific issues, I'd skip it.

- Glycolic/Lactic Acid Peel

Both glycolic and lactic acid are considered alpha-hydroxy acids and are great for any age related skin condition.

If you have the following issues, these peels are your best bet:

  • dry skin, dull skin
  • uneven skin tone
  • rough skin texture
  • age spots, brown spots 

They offer numerous anti-aging benefits like collagen production, and stimulate new skin cells. These water-soluble acids are derived from plants and fruit acids.

While these at-home chemical peels are generally safe for sensitive skin and darker skin tones, make sure to do a patch test first before using.

Best chemical peel for hyperpigmentation

Best Home Peels for Pigmentation?

Glycolic and lactic acid peels are the best at home peels for your desired results.

But which one (glycolic peel or lactic peel) is best for hyperpigmentation? That depends on your skin type, you might have to try each one to see how your skin reacts.

Generally, both of these alpha hydroxy acids (AHA's) can help with hyperpigmentation and discoloration, but some women feel that glycolic acid peel work better for stubborn dark spots, and consider them more potent peels.

Others say that glycolic peels make their skin feel dry and tight. So which should you try first?

Dry or Sensitive Skin with Slight Discoloration

If you have dry or sensitive skin, it's a good idea to try a lactic acid peel first. Start with a lower concentration and over time work up to the higher concentrations.

At-home chemical peels containing Lactic Acid (from Skin Beauty Solutions) are one of my favorites and are very affordable. 

They offer a wide range of peels glycolic, lactic and salicylic acid along with buffered and even combination chemical peels. Their products come in small, inexpensive sizes (15 ml up to 16 oz. bottles) so you can try different strengths to see what works best for your skin type. 

Note: For best results, make sure your skin is clean and free from oils. This will allow the chemical peel solution (whether it's lactic acid or glycolic acid) to penetrate better. It will also shorten the amount of time needed to work. So make sure to follow the directions carefully.

Normal Skin with Sun Damage or Stubborn Dark Spots

Consider trying glycolic acid peels with added skin lighteners like Alpha Arbutin and Kojic Acid. This is a powerful combination for sun spots, dark spots and dark patches due to sun damage, aging, or hormonal changes.

The Skin Eraser (by Zenmed Reconstructive Skin Care) is a highly effective product for this type of stubborn hyperpigmentation.

Note: Use caution when going out in the sun. Sunscreen with a good PA+++ rating is a must while using this powerful skin lightening product. 

Best At-Home Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation 

Q: What is the fastest way to heal over-exfoliated skin? I read that Vaseline can help.

A: Applying Vaseline on over-exfoliated skin may not be the best way to heal it. Vaseline is a petroleum-based product that acts as an occlusive barrier, sealing moisture in the skin and preventing water loss. However, if your skin is over-exfoliated and very sensitive, Vaseline can potentially make it worse.

When your skin is over-exfoliated, it becomes more susceptible to irritation and may experience redness, dryness, and increased sensitivity. Using gentle, soothing products like fragrance-free moisturizers or products containing ingredients like aloe vera or fatty acids and ceramides may be more suitable for calming and hydrating over-exfoliated skin. 

CeraVe makes a simple one with cermides.

Zenmed makes one with Omega fatty acids and Cermaides. This also has anti-aging properties for crepey skin too.

Q: What percentage of chemical peel is best for hyperpigmentation?

A: It's best to start off with the lowest percentage the company offers. I use Skin Beauty LACTIC Acid Skin Chemical Peel 50%. But I started with their 30% solution and gradually worked up to 50%. It's all so individualized - so you'll have to try it first and see how well it works for you. 

Q: Is it normal to get spots after a chemical peel?

A: It's not normal, but it is possible to get more dark spots if you don't take care of your skin after a home (or in-office) chemical treatment. If possible, try to do the at-home peel at night and avoid prolonged sun exposure for the next few days after treatment. Also, make sure always use a sunscreen.

Q: All I use is a vitamin C serum that contains kojic acid. Should I be using a face peel too? What's the benefit?

A: The long term benefits of an at-home face peel are many, including improved collagen production, reduction in the appearance of fine lines, sun spots, brown spots, and better absorption of skincare products. Plus, makeup goes on smoother and your skin texture takes on a beautiful sheen.

Q: When I hear chemical peeling, I think of cosmetic treatments like office peels for deep scars and lots of peeling.

A: Most at home facial peels, are superficial peels and are pretty gentle compared to what you'd get at your dermatologist's office. 

You won't get the same results as a professional office peel, but, a regular at-home treatment can help improve the tone and texture of your skin. In fact, some derms recommend them as a boosting treatment in between professional in-office treatments.

However, keep in mind, if you leave the product on too long or don't follow instructions, you can cause some minor skin burns. So always use with caution.

Q: Can I do TCA peel at home?

A: Even though you can purchase TCA peels (trichloroacetic acid) online, they are very powerful, and many skincare professionals recommend against using them at-home.

Q: Is glycolic peel good for dry skin?

A: That depends on the person. Personally, my skin feels dry after using glycolic acid peels. My skin likes lactic acid peels and feels hydrated after a home chemical treatment.

 If your skin is not irritated and looks good, then I'd stay with glyolic acid peels, just moisturize well after each treatment.

Here's a tip: Add a layer of hyaluronic acid serum on damp skin. Then seal it in with a good hydrating moisturizer. Let that sit for a bit before adding makeup. Your skin will have that "glass" sheen.

Q: Are at home chemical peels good?

A: I like them very much! It's best to try different ones and see what works best for you. I like Skin Beauty Solutions and Zenmed Skin Eraser. For the price, they are pretty high quality. But there are a ton of them online and on Amazon.

Here's a tip: If your skin is dry, look for peels that contain lactic acid. If your skin is normal to oily, then try the glycolic acid home peels. Just make sure these are home peels that you can use without a dermatologists support.

Q: How long does it take to see results from at home chemical peel?

A: Most will see some results after just one use. Your skin will be clearer, softer and smoother with reduced appearance of fine lines. More results will be visible in about 1-2 weeks. But, regular use of facial peels will improve the color, tone, and surface of the skin. Most people report more radiant skin in a few months.

Q: Is it normal to have burn marks after chemical peel?

A: It's not normal, but it is possible to get more dark spots if you don't take care of your skin after a home (or in-office) chemical treatment. If possible, try to do the at-home peel at night and avoid prolonged sun exposure for the next few days after treatment. Also, make sure always use a sunscreen.

Q: Does petroleum jelly darken skin

A: There is no scientific evidence supporting the notion that petroleum jelly products, such as Vaseline, can darken the skin. Products like Vaseline have no effect on skin pigmentation.

The idea that it darkens skin seems to be based on observations of individuals with extremely dry skin, which reflects light differently, making it appear pale, and lighter.

Hydrating and moisturizing, can effectively diminish the pale appearance, restoring its natural healthy color and radiant glow.