9 Top at-Home Chemical Peels for Hyperpigmentation

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Hyperpigmentation is a common cause of concern and insecurity because it’s usually quite prominent on the skin. So you’re not alone in wishing there’s a way to eliminate it or, at least, make it less visible.

A woman is getting a facial peeling treatment at a spa.

And the good news is, there’s a centuries-old solution to this problem — chemical peels!

You may have heard of it as one of the skincare services offered by your go-to aesthetician or dermatologist. But did you know there are plenty of at-home chemical peels you can purchase and apply on your own?

So keep reading to find the top chemical peels for hyperpigmentation you can safely use at home!

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel
Editor's Choice
  • Great for first-time chemical peel users
  • Peel solution has 7 AHAs and BHAs
  • Moisturizing Step 2 solution for neutralizing acids
M-61 PowerGlow Peel Extra Strength 20%
Premium Pick
  • Easy one-minute and one-step peel
  • Has glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids
  • Deep exfoliating action to reveal youthful skin
Divine Pro Skincare Glycolic Acid 40% Peel
Budget Pick
  • 99% glycolic acid purity
  • Promotes collagen production
  • Anti-aging and diminishes appearance of pores

9 Top at-Home Chemical Peels for Hyperpigmentation To Reveal Radiant Skin

The chemical peel products you’ll find in this list have been formulated specifically for at-home use, even for beginners. So they should be safe to apply on your own.

Quick Tip

If you have underlying skin conditions and severe sensitivities, it’s best to consult a dermatologist before doing chemical peeling for hyperpigmentation at home.

1
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel

Here’s a great daily chemical peel product for beginners that combines AHA and BHA acids for an even skin tone.

Key benefits: quick application; formulated for daily use; removes dead skin cells and excess oils

Features:

  • Has glycolic, salicylic, lactic, mandelic, malic, and citric acids
  • Retinol
  • Green tea extract

Treat yourself with this easy-to-use treatment and bring back the radiance of your skin!

 

This may be the top face peel for hyperpigmentation to try if you’re new to at-home chemical peeling. You won’t need extra tools to apply this product because it comes in individually packaged pads.

two opened sachets of Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel on a satin surface

It’s a two-step peel with each pad packaged separately. 

Its Step 1 solution contains seven AHAs and BHAs that are known for their ability to reduce hyperpigmentation, diminish fine lines, and even out skin texture.

It also contains chamomile with anti-inflammatory properties. And you’ll only have to leave it for two minutes.

The Step 2 solution is designed to neutralize the effect of AHAs and BHAs to maintain a healthy balance.

And if you still need more convincing, you can find tons of posts on social media that show this chemical peel’s before and after effects on dark spots and other impurities!

2
MedPeel Glycolic Acid 70% Essential Peel Kit

Looking for a chemical peel with a higher concentration of glycolic acid? This one’s for you.

Key benefits: can help with melasma; great for experienced users; helps grow healthy skin cells

Features:

  • 70% glycolic acid
  • Caprylyl glycol
  • Hexylene glycol

It offers a more intense peel that helps address a myriad of skin concerns.

 

A 70% glycolic acid solution is one of the highest concentrations you can find in at-home chemical peels. This MedPeel kit packs quite an intense strength face peel for hyperpigmentation.

Its stronger formula means it’s best to be used by experienced users who have used formulas with lower AHA or BHA concentrations.

The MedPeel kit includes Peel Prep Solution, the Glycolic 70% chemical peel, and the Neutralizer Solution.

But its intensity delivers great benefits, including fighting acne on non-oily skin and removing blackheads or other impurities clogging the pores. If you have melasma, this could help fade out those dark patches.

3
QRxLabs Glycolic Acid 20% Resurfacing Pads

Love face peels that come in pads for easy use? Here’s one to try for gentle exfoliation.

Key benefits: enough exfoliation to make fine lines less noticeable; hydrating; reduce photodamage

Features:

  • Glycolic acid
  • Allantoin helps remove dead skin cells
  • Vitamins C, E, and B5 antioxidants

Revealing your younger, radiant skin is made easier with this at-home chemical peel from QRXLabs.

 

Some of the top at-home chemical peels for dark spots are gentle enough to be used daily, like the QRxLabs 20% Glycolic Acid Resurfacing Pads. 

But it’s still an effective solution for hyperpigmentation, effects of photodamage like fine lines and wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.

It’s also great for hydrating dry skin and promotes collagen production for a healthy skin cell turnover. So it can rejuvenate the skin and bring back lost radiance.

Antioxidants deliver reparative properties from sun exposure. And the combination of allantoin with extracts from green tea and calendula provides an anti-inflammatory effect.

4
Ebanel 30% AHA 2% BHA Chemical Peel Exfoliating Gel

You’re getting the benefits of both AHA and BHA ingredients for the best peel for hyperpigmentation.

Key benefits: helps remove dead skin; softer and firmer skin; calms skin irritation

Features:

  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Chamomile and green tea extracts

Do you prefer a chemical peel with a gel texture? Then this is exactly what you need!

 

There are several reasons to choose a gel-type chemical peel. For instance, it’s easier to apply and usually doesn’t need a neutralizer. And here’s a great option for you!

We love this one because its formula contains AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids) and BHA (salicylic acid). So you’re getting the best of both worlds and their amazing benefits to the skin.

The deep exfoliation you get from this will help minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines. And with regular use, you’ll notice acne scars, dark spots, and age spots fade.

5
InstaNatural 30% Glycolic Acid AHA Chemical Peel

Are blackheads and rough texture making you extra conscious about your skin? It’s time to grab this one!

Key benefits: brightens dark spots; minimizes appearance of pores; smoothes rough skin

Features:

  • Aloe leaf extract
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Vitamin C

It combines exfoliating acids with fruit extracts for healthier skin!

 

Its combination of ingredients is the best thing about this chemical peel. Glycolic is the main component for smoother skin by promoting skin cell turnover.

Vitamin C makes the skin firmer, and hyaluronic acid prevents drying out your skin from the peel.

It also has various plant extracts from aloe leaf, hibiscus, green tea, rosemary, pineapple, lavender, and more to nourish the skin.

You won’t have to avoid going out after using this because it doesn’t result in physical peeling. But it’s still effective for reducing dark spots and other skin impurities.

6
Divine Pro Skincare Glycolic Acid 40% Strength AHA Skin Peel

Want a straightforward glycolic acid-base solution? Check out this one from Divine Pro Skincare.

Key benefits: deep exfoliation; boosts collagen production; reduces the visibility of pores and signs of skin aging

Features:

  • Glycolic acid
  • 1-minute application
  • No visible peeling

It’s got enough glycolic acid concentration for a medium-depth chemical peel!

 

The absence of extra ingredients in this product ensures you’re getting the best benefits of glycolic acid.

It’s most suitable for oily and dull skin and reduces skin discoloration. 

With skin reparative properties, it’s a great face peel for hyperpigmentation and other skin damage from sun exposure.

With 99% glycolic acid purity, it’s formulated to boost collagen production to achieve skin-rejuvenating results.

7
Perfect Image Lactic 50% Gel Peel

If you want a chemical peel that mainly features lactic acid, this is the one!

Key benefits: diminish freckles and age spots; hydrating; even skin tone

Features:

  • Lactic acid
  • Kojic acid
  • Bearberry, licorice root, and cucumber extracts

A powerful exfoliator that removes more than just dirt — it eliminates dead skin cells, too!

 

Lactic acid has been scientifically proven to have positive effects on hyperpigmentation. But it also showed promise in dealing with mild wrinkles, rough skin, and the effects of photodamage.

And this product is also amazing for fading out stretch marks and improving skin elasticity by boosting collagen generation.

Kojic acid is a great addition to intensify the benefits to even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of freckles.

This is one of the top at-home chemical peels for hyperpigmentation if you’re looking for something more potent. This packs a stronger punch due to its lactic acid concentration, so it’s best to try lighter peels first.

8
M-61 PowerGlow Peel Extra Strength 20%

A one-step and one-minute solution that makes facial peels a breeze.

Key benefits: boosts skin cell turnover; visible improvement of pore size; great for acne-prone skin

Features:

  • Glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids
  • Lemon and orange extracts
  • Bilberry extract

Who knew face peels for hyperpigmentation can be this easy to do at home?

 

The top at-home chemical peels for dark spots are easy to use without compromising efficacy. And that’s just what you can expect here.

It comes in individually packed peel pads, but M-61 made the experience much easier because you’ll only have to apply it for one minute, and there’s no follow-up solution.

But you’ll notice immediate improvements at par with the results you expect from a professional face peel.

Glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids work together for deep exfoliation and reveal youthful skin. Bilberry extract is also a key ingredient for an even skin tone. It has chamomile and lavender extracts for a skin-calming effect.

All these reasons make this product the top chemical peel for hyperpigmentation!

9
Replenix Glycolix Elite Glycolic Acid Resurfacing Peel Pads

What I love about this is it is an at-home peel with medical-grade key ingredients and is rich in antioxidants!

Key benefits: visible improvements of age spots; removes excess oils; gentle anti-aging effects

Features:

  • Crystalline glycolic acid
  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Alcohol-free witch hazel

Its container has enough saturation, so you get enough solution even to the last peel pad.

 

It uses a crystalline glycolic acid (10%) with medical-grade potency for instantly noticeable skin improvements. And it’s formulated to the right pH level to avoid irritation without reducing its benefits.

The combination of vitamins A, C, and E acts as antioxidants to fight free radicals before they can cause damage to the skin. So your skin will not just look great, it’s healthy from the inside, too!

Its pore-diminishing effect comes from purified witch hazel that also helps remove excess oils on the topmost layer of skin.

What Is Hyperpigmentation, and What Are Its Different Types?

Melanin is the natural substance produced in our body that provides the pigment of our skin. And hyperpigmentation is when the skin makes excess melanin, causing noticeable dark spots.

Hyperpigmentation is common and can be caused by several skin traumas like burns, bruises, hormonal changes, and acne scars.

Here are the common types of hyperpigmentation that people experience:

Age Spots

Also known as liver spots, this type of hyperpigmentation typically appears as black or brown spots. It often develops on the face and hands and occurs when the skin gets too much sun exposure.

These spots are associated with aging and are more common in older individuals. Age spots are primarily caused by cumulative sun exposure over the years.

Sunspots

Sunspots, also known as solar lentigines or age spots, are common skin blemishes that appear as small, flat, darkened patches on the skin’s surface.

They are typically round or oval in shape and can vary in color from light tan to dark brown or black.

Sunspots are caused by prolonged and repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Unlike age spots, sunspots can appear on individuals of all ages, especially if they have had significant sun exposure.

Melasma

They commonly appear as larger patches of dark spots on the face, particularly on the forehead and cheeks. 

Hormonal changes can cause it, so pregnant women are prone to developing melasma.

Sun exposure and heat can worsen it too. But melasma can fade over time or be treated with light and medium chemical peels (more on these later).

Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

This one appears in areas that experience inflammation caused by skin conditions like eczema and acne breakouts and is triggered by an overproduction of melanin.

But any skin trauma can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). So this could also develop in other parts of the skin.

Post-inflammatory Erythema (PIE)

Post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) is a skin condition characterized by red or pink discoloration of the skin that occurs as a result of inflammation or injury.

It is often associated with conditions such as acne, dermatitis, or other inflammatory skin disorders. PIE should not be confused with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which is characterized by brown or dark spots on the skin.

Unlike PIH, PIE is related to the dilation of blood vessels (capillaries) in the affected area, which results in redness.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

Hyperpigmentation is common, but the ways to treat it are also widely available. And a chemical peel for dark spots is one of the usual approaches to deal with this issue and restore your skin’s youthful glow.

A chemical peel is essentially an exfoliating procedure. It delivers more significant results because it uses chemical solutions to peel the top layers of the skin. 

That’s why chemical peels for hyperpigmentation are also considered a skin resurfacing treatment.

You’ll find solutions for at-home peels for hyperpigmentation labeled as “rejuvenating” because that’s the main benefit of chemical peels. It’s meant to bring out clearer skin that’s more radiant and glowing.

Light Chemical Peels

Light chemical peels are superficial peels that primarily target the outermost layer of the skin (the epidermis). They are often used to improve skin texture, treat mild discoloration, and provide a refreshed appearance.

Light peels have minimal downtime and are typically well tolerated.

Examples of light chemical peels include the following:

  • Glycolic acid peel: This peel uses glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), to exfoliate the skin’s surface, improve texture, and treat mild hyperpigmentation and fine lines.
  • Lactic acid peel: Lactic acid, another AHA, is used to gently exfoliate the skin and enhance hydration. It is suitable for individuals with sensitive skin.
  • Salicylic acid peel: Salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), is effective for treating acne and controlling oil production. It can also improve skin texture.
  • Mandelic acid peel: Mandelic acid, an AHA, is milder and can help with exfoliation, as well as treating hyperpigmentation and acne.

Skin treated with light peels can recover within the week.

Medium Chemical Peels

Medium chemical peels penetrate deeper into the skin, reaching the middle layer (the dermis). They are used to address more significant skin issues, such as moderate wrinkles, deeper hyperpigmentation, and acne scars.

Medium peels typically require more downtime and may cause temporary discomfort.

Examples of medium chemical peels include the following:

  • TCA (trichloroacetic acid) peel: TCA peels are versatile and can be adjusted in strength. They are used to treat moderate wrinkles, sun damage, and more extensive hyperpigmentation.
  • Jessner’s peel: Jessner’s peel is a combination of salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol. It is effective for treating fine lines, uneven skin tone, and some forms of acne scarring.

The usual recovery time with medium chemical peels is between seven to 14 days.

Deep Chemical Peel

Deep chemical peels are the most aggressive and penetrate into the deep layers of the skin. They are used to address severe skin concerns, including deep wrinkles, extensive sun damage, and deep scars.

It’s best to leave this procedure to dermatologists because you may also need local anesthesia.

Examples of deep chemical peels include the following:

  • Phenol peel: Phenol peels are the deepest chemical peels and are typically used for the most severe skin issues. They can significantly improve the appearance of deep wrinkles, scars, and sun-damaged skin.
  • Baker-Gordon peel: This is a modified phenol peel used for facial rejuvenation, particularly in patients with severe wrinkles and significant skin damage.

Deep peels have the longest recovery time: 14 to 21 days.

Which Chemical Peels Work for Your Hyperpigmentation?

Chemical peels can be effective for treating hyperpigmentation, but the choice of peel depends on the specific type and severity of hyperpigmentation, as well as the patient’s skin type and other factors.

Here’s a table outlining some common chemical peels and their suitability for different types of hyperpigmentation:

HyperpigmentationChemical PeelsNotes
MelasmaGlycolic acid peelMild glycolic acid peels can help, but melasma may require multiple treatments and a combination of peels with other therapies.
TCA (trichloroacetic acid) peelTCA peels may be used cautiously, and lower concentrations are preferred for melasma treatment.
Lactic acid peelLactic acid peels are considered safe and can help improve melasma, especially in combination with other treatments.
Mandelic acid peelMandelic acid is gentler and can be beneficial for melasma with less risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peelsAHAs like glycolic or lactic acid can help lighten PIH by promoting skin cell turnover.
Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) peelsSalicylic acid is effective for PIH in oily and acne-prone skin as it can penetrate into oil glands.
Sunspots / Solar lentiginesTCA peelTCA peels can effectively target sunspots, but proper sun protection is crucial post-treatment.
Glycolic acid peelGlycolic acid peels can lighten sunspots, but several sessions may be needed for optimal results.
Jessner’s peelA combination of salicylic acid, lactic acid, and resorcinol, Jessner’s peel can help with sunspots.
Post-inflammatory erythema (PIE)Azelaic acid peelAzelaic acid can help reduce redness and inflammation associated with PIE.
Lactic acid peelLactic acid peels can be gentler on sensitive skin with PIE, but multiple sessions may be necessary.
Kojic acid peelKojic acid may help fade redness associated with PIE.
Age spots / liver spotsTCA peelTCA peels are suitable for age spots, but they may require downtime and careful aftercare.
Glycolic acid peelGlycolic acid can help improve the appearance of age spots, but multiple sessions are often necessary.
Phenol peelPhenol peels can be effective for deep age spots, but they are more invasive and require extensive recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Chemical Peels Safe for Dark Skin?

People with darker skin must be extra cautious before getting a chemical peel. 

Skin types with more melanin have the potential to develop prolonged hyperpigmentation when the chemical peel isn’t done right or if the solution used is too strong.

That said, light to medium chemical peels can also be safe for dark skin.

Experts note that glycolic, mandelic, lactic, salicylic, and citric acids are great ingredients for the top peel for hyperpigmentation on dark skin.

One study also found glycolic peels are the best for melasma treatment on dark skin due to their safety and efficacy.

Are Chemical Peels Safe for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women?

Hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy can cause a myriad of unwanted changes to the skin as well. There’s a reason why melasma is also widely known as the “mask of pregnancy.”

Chemical peels often contain higher concentrations that are best to avoid for pregnant and lactating women.

However, a scientific review by the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology in 2017 said glycolic acid peels are “relatively safe” for pregnant women. 

Still, the best course of action is to consult and follow the advice of your healthcare provider.

How Many Chemical Peel Sessions Are Required for Hyperpigmentation Improvement?

The number of sessions required varies based on the type and severity of hyperpigmentation. In many cases, a series of chemical peel treatments is needed, spaced several weeks apart.

Improvement may be noticeable after just one session, but for optimal results, multiple sessions are often recommended.

What Can I Expect During and After a Chemical Peel for Hyperpigmentation?

During the peel, you may experience a mild to moderate burning or stinging sensation, which is usually temporary. After the treatment, you can expect some redness, peeling, and dryness of the skin.

These side effects typically resolve within a few days to a week, depending on the depth of the peel. It’s essential to follow post-peel care instructions, including the use of sunscreen, to protect your skin during the healing process.

Are There Any Risks or Potential Complications With Chemical Peels for Hyperpigmentation?

While chemical peels are generally safe when performed by trained professionals, there are some risks involved.

These may include post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, scarring (rare with light peels), infection, and uneven skin tone. It’s crucial to choose a qualified practitioner and follow their recommendations to minimize these risks.

Find the Top Peels for Hyperpigmentation To Eliminate Dark Spots

A chemical peel, as intimidating as it sounds, can be an easy and effective skincare regimen done at home.

And to avoid unwanted outcomes, make sure to read the product’s label for detailed instructions on how to prep your skin before applying a chemical peel solution.

A woman getting a facial treatment at a beauty salon.

This is also where a patch test is highly recommended. Apply a small amount first on the back of your ear and wait 24 to 48 hours to observe if it irritates your skin.

AHAs and other exfoliating acids also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. So never forget your sunscreen once you start your at-home chemical peel journey.

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Authors

  • Ashley Pena

    Ashley Pena brings over 13 years of seasoned writing and editing expertise, fortified by her Bachelor of Science in Management. Esteemed in the beauty domain, her content captivates readers with its depth and authenticity. While she navigates a broad spectrum of beauty trends, Ashley shines particularly as our resident K-beauty guru. Her articles are a harmonious blend of passion and profound knowledge, inspiring readers on their unique beauty journeys.

  • Emily Zink

    With ten years in healthcare, Emily Zink bridges adult and pediatric medicine with cosmetic dermatology. A certified Family Nurse Practitioner, she's an expert in treatments like Botox, Dysport, and Sculptra, also diagnosing skincare concerns and offering wellness counseling. Specializing in neuromodulators and dermal fillers, Emily leads injections at her practice.

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