Acne aftermaths can last forever when hyperpigmentation is left behind. At Palo Alto Laser and Skin Care, we know that chemical peels are one of the best ways to remove brown spots and light scarring left behind by acne. But which peel is the “best?” That was the question behind research published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. There are many different peels available, but little research has been done that compares the efficacy of each. This study, published in 2022, compared two of the most popular peels: alpha and beta hydroxy (salicylic) acid peels, specifically for post-acne hyperpigmentation.
In total, 40 patients with this condition were split into two groups. Those who received a GA peel got 50 percent glycolic acid (GA) and those in the salicylic acid (SA) group received 30 percent of the acid. This procedure was done every two weeks for a maximum of six weeks. The “primary outcome” was recorded once every two weeks. A blinded evaluator managed the photographic assessment. The mean average age of the participants was 23.29 years old and there were 24 females along with 16 males. Both types of peels show “significant improvement” beginning with the first follow-up.
The Best Peel for Acne
Even though both peels performed well, the GA peel did show more reduction in post-acne hyperpigmentation during every follow-up appointment. The GA group enjoyed over a 75 percent reduction in hyperpigmentation in most patients. No participants in the SA group achieved such success. The researchers say, “Our results suggest that the GA peel was more effective than the SA peel in improving postacne pigmentation.”
Many people will have acne in their lives, and hyperpigmentation caused by this skin condition is common. Acne vulgaris can be brought on by a myriad of factors, including microbiological, immunological, and hormonal. It can happen to anyone at any age, though it is most common in teens (85 percent). The next most common group to be affected are those 25 – 32 years old (8 percent). Chemical peeling is a relatively affordable treatment for acne pigmentation and requires little downtime. However, skin color must be taken into account when choosing the right peel for you.
What to Know About Peels
If you have never had a peel before, the good news is that we have come a long way since the 1990s, when deep peels were the norm. Today, superficial and medium-depth peels are what most people receive. This means little to no downtime for light peels and a relatively quick recovery (1 – 2 weeks) for medium peels. When getting a peel, the process is quick. Skin is cleansed, the chemicals are applied, and then they are neutralized after just a few minutes. You may feel a slight stinging during application and/or neutralization, but it is not necessarily painful. In some cases, such as with very superficial peels, you do not even have to remove/neutralize the peel.
After-care is critical to protecting your skin and getting the best results. Your provider will tell you exactly how to care for skin in the delicate, peeling state. This may require applying certain topicals and every peel will require that you avoid unnecessary sunlight. As skin peels away, it takes the affected skin cells with it, including hyperpigmentation. This reveals younger looking, clear, glowing skin below the surface while also stimulating collagen and elastin production. Most people see optimal results in 2 – 3 weeks, but skin will keep improving from the inside out thanks to collagen production.
Scheduling Your Peel
Today, there are so many chemical peels available that the perfect one for you exists. However, a consultation with one of our skin care experts is the first step in the peeling process so you can get matched with the right product. Those with darker skin tones no longer have to worry about the risk of hypopigmentation as long as they are paired with a melanin-friendly peel.
To find out more about peels available in our office, get in touch today and schedule your consult. Every provider has been personally trained by Zuzana Likar to the highest standards. Call the office during business hours or, for the fastest reply, complete the online form now.