Chemical Peels: The [Hyperpigmentation] Fight Continues


When the weather begins to turn cold I know it’s time for my chemical peels.  The hours of daylight are much shorter and I spend even more time inside so it’s the perfect time to have chemical peels (reality:  I tend to stay inside year round).

I’m not a patient person, it’s too painful for me (in a psychological way) to wait a couple of months to see results from just using a product.  Chemical peels have so many functions.  They brighten skin tone, help with acne, reduce hyperpigmentation (on the surface), stimulates collagen and elastin, improves skin texture, and help minimize the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles.

The main reason I have chemical peels is to reduce my hyperpigmentation (you can read more about my unwanted tenants in my four part series previously written: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 ).  I’ve taken before photos and will take more photos along the way.  The photos will give me something to compare with later, because if you’re like me you forget what the “before” was and wonder if it was worth it.  Always take photos in the same place and lighting.  For example, I take the photos in my bathroom when it’s dark out so I know I have the exact same lighting.  I also make sure if I took the “before” photos in HD format that I do the same for the other photos.

I purchased a package of chemical peels (it’s less expensive this way) and had my first of four chemical peels in November 2017 with Wendy at Dilworth Dermatology and Laser in Charlotte, NC.  A “package” can vary as to how many you think you will need (I will go approximately every four weeks) and the cost will also be determined by which type of peel you have.  Your doctor or aesthetician can assist you with your choices depending on your budget and goals.

Not all brands of chemical peels are equal.  In no way am I an expert on the different brands but I do know when a chemical peel indicates it is 20% Glycolic Acid that may not be the true strength of the peel.  There are several factors and one is formulation.  Wendy uses the clinical line PCA Skin, which was founded in 1990.  I’m familiar with a couple of the brand’s skincare products but not the peel solutions so I asked Wendy for a little more information (and I looked on the website as well).

PCA Skin peels are ideal for every skin type.  There are different levels of PCA chemical peels and they’re designed to allow the aesthetician to layer different solutions (I call it a “cocktail”).  My first peel was a “Sensi Peel” which consists of the following acids:  TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid), Lactic, Azelaic, Kojic and Arbutin.  Since the PCA peels can be layered, Wendy made a cocktail for my chemical peel (doesn’t “cocktail” sound much better than something like “tailored”).  My first peel started with 2 layers of the Sensi, then 2 layers of the PCA peel with Hydroquinone (for hyperpigmentation), a layer of the Advanced Treatment Booster, then the PCA Pigment Gel with Hydroquinone, Rejuvenating Serum (antioxidant benefits) and Ultra Light SPF.

Just as there are different levels of PCA chemical peels there are also several types.  One example is the “Ultra Peel Forte” which is suited for the middle age client with sun damage and fine lines.  The acids used are 20% TCA and 10% Lactic.

A benefit to PCA chemical peel solutions is that they self-neutralize which means you don’t have to be concerned about getting burned (no pun intended – but it is a chemical peel after all).

I’ve had all four of my peels now and a lot of hyperpigmentation has been brought to the surface.  I’m considering IPL for the surface level pigmentation.  I recently began using ZoMedical Melamix with 4% Hydroquinone and PCA Skin Intensive Brightening Treatment 0.5% Pure Retinol Night* every 2-3 nights to see if this will help in conjunction with the chemical peels.  I will likely switch to Tretinoin after the PCA Retinol to use with the ZoMedical Melamix only because I’d like something a little stronger.

I would love to hear from you, please comment below and tell me about your experience with chemical peels and/or products you’ve used for sun damage, wrinkles, etc.

*Product was gifted for testing purpose



2 thoughts on “Chemical Peels: The [Hyperpigmentation] Fight Continues

  1. Hi Tracy, this was quite informative and touches on something that’s increasingly a part of my routine. I did one chemical peel at the dermatologist about two hundred years ago but now I tend to use surface stuff from specific brands. You’re right, purchasing a package from a location may be much better in the long term, plus there’s the added benefit of guidance from a professional. Looking forward to more updates:)

    1. Now that I will be using products to lighten the spots that have come to the surface I have some peel pads from Zelens I’m planning to add to my routine. It’s a brand I have not used before. If I don’t see more lightning from the products then I will have at least one IPL treatment.

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