August 14, 2020

8 Best At-Home Chemical Peels for Hyperpigmentation

8 Best At-Home Chemical Peels for Hyperpigmentation

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Dark spots and acne scars are common hyperpigmentation issues that we all want to avoid. Sadly, though there are a bunch of precautionary measures you can easily take, you can’t keep these issues from happening completely.

The best thing you can do is to get a reliable product to fade hyperpigmentation. This is where an at-home chemical peel comes in.

A good at-home chemical peel for face will not only lighten dark spots and acne scars, but it will also brighten overall complexion.

Keep reading to learn more about the 10 best at-home chemical peels for hyperpigmentation.

Table of Contents

8 Best At-Home Chemical Peels for Skin Hyperpigmentation

Our Pick

This chemical peel by QRXLabs is our pick for best at-home chemical peel for hyperpigmentation. Apart from having a potent formula, it’s also easy to apply on the skin.

It’s considered a mild skin peel because it has 30% Glycolic Acid. This ingredient peels your skin to reveal a smoother and brighter complexion. It’s great at deep cleaning the pores from trapped dirt and oil too.

20% Lactic Acid is also present to enhance the exfoliating and resurfacing properties of the peel. With regular use, you’ll also notice less noticeable fine lines and wrinkles. Any other hyperpigmentation issues like acne scars and dark spots will also appear more faded.

The peel is mixed with pure Calendula, Green Tea, and Chamomile extracts as well. These ingredients have antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.

How to Apply: After cleansing, apply an adequate layer of the chemical peel all over your face. Let it stay on for 1-3 minutes, depending on your skin’s sensitivity to the acids.

We recommend you apply a chemical peel neutralizer afterwards. Once neutralized, wash off the peel with cool water. Apply a nourishing serum and moisturizer (and sunscreen if you’re applying it during the daytime) as aftercare.

To be safe, consult your dermatologist or doctor in case you’re taking any prescription medicine or other topical solutions with this product.

Pros

  • Lightens hyperpigmentation like dark spots and acne scars
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Reveals a brighter overall complexion
  • Treats pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads
  • Easy to spread and blend onto the skin

Cons

  • The bottle doesn’t come with instructions like other peels do
  • Not suitable for sensitive skin

Best for Sensitive Skin

If you’re still reluctant about using an at-home chemical peel, then you should check this out. Since it’s formulated with 100% natural ingredients, the formula is much gentler on sensitive skin.

It contains Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) from White Willow Bark and Pomegranate Enzymes. This component unclogs congested pores, smooths out rough texture, and renews the skin for a natural glow. It also gets rid of dead skin buildup which contributes to hyperpigmentation as well.

Other ingredients include Calendula, Alfalfa, and Arnica extracts. These provide added nourishment for the skin as the peel sets in. Beet Root extract and Pink Clay also lessens possible irritation by soothing the skin.

Many users have said that this peel works quick enough that you notice effects after leaving it on overnight. It minimizes pores, brightens complexion, and softens texture.

If you want something that’s sure to be effective but without extra strong chemicals, then this is a good acid peel choice.

How to Apply: After cleansing, apply a thick layer of product all over your face and neck. Let it stay on the skin for 20 minutes and then rinse off with warm water.

We recommend that you use this chemical peel up to 3 times a week for best results.

Pros

  • Gentle and plant-derived formula
  • Exfoliates to smooth out texture and resurface brighter skin
  • Lightens hyperpigmentation like dark marks and scars
  • Quick and noticeable results

Cons

  • Pricier compared to other chemical peels
  • Container is smaller than most chemical peels are

Best for Oily Skin

Excessive oiliness on top of hyperpigmentation can definitely make you feel more self-conscious. So why not use a product that can solve both at once?

This product by Dr. Dennis Gross is the best at-home chemical peel for hyperpigmentation that we recommend for those with oily skin. Not only does it have lightening ingredients, but it also rebalances your skin’s oil production.

This is the brand’s best-selling product since it was developed by a real dermatologist. He formulated an easy-to-use chemical peel that’s safe to use alone at home. The results are just as good as getting a professional peel.

People who’ve used this product notice that hyperpigmentation and discoloration issues become less noticeable. It’s effective at lightening uneven marks and age spots.

A combination of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is what makes up this face peel’s formula. For every box, you get 30 2-Step packets.

Step 1 Packet

The Step 1 packet contains a face pad soaked in AHAs and BHAs to treat hyperpigmentation.

It has a mixture of Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, and Lactic Acid. These are gentle exfoliators that slough off dead skin cells and smoothen texture. They lessen buildup on skin so that other active ingredients can have better absorption.

Chamomile and Camellia Sinensis Leaf extracts are also added. These have anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritation.

Step 2 Packet

The Step 2 packet also has special ingredients. It’s meant to be a neutralizer for Step 1.

Retinol is the main component. It offers great moisture to the skin to enhance elasticity and make wrinkles less noticeable.

Green Tea extract is also present in the Step 2 pad. As a natural antioxidant, it strengthens the skin and protects it from free radicals.

How to Apply: After cleansing and drying your face, massage the Step 1 pad all over. Let it settle into the skin for 2 minutes. Massage the Step 2 pad all over your face and let it dry up completely. Make sure you don’t rinse.

Apply a nourishing moisturizer after. During the daytime, make sure you wear a sunscreen with SPF of at least 30.

Pros

  • Fades dark spots and hyperpigmentation
  • Exfoliates the skin for smoother texture
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties
  • Nourishing formula

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other chemical peels
  • Some of the packets tend to leak and tear during shipping

The Ordinary products are well-loved because they’re both affordable and effective. It’s probably the most popular brand to explore if it’s your first time experimenting with at-home chemical peels. The formulas are gentle on the skin despite their potency.

Their AHA + BHA Peeling Solution is their most recommended skin peel and for very good reason. It’s specially-formulated with the perfect amount of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) to reveal healthier skin.

The 30% AHA concentration consists of Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, and Citric Acid. They’re what exfoliate the skin’s uppermost layer to get a brighter complexion. Any uneven marks or dark spots will also be lightened.

2% BHA is composed of Salicylic Acid. It mainly unclogs the pores and cleans out any trapped oil to prevent pimples. Ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin B5, and Tasmanian Pepperberry are also part of the formula. They moisturize, soothe, and heal the skin all at the same time.

What people love about this peel is that it’s the perfect balance between basic and acid, which is tricky to achieve for a chemical peel. This allows for less irritation or negative reactions to occur as you get rid of hyperpigmentation.

How to Apply: After cleansing and drying the face, apply a thin layer of this peel all over. Make sure to avoid your eye area. Let it stay on the skin for a maximum of 10 minutes, depending on your skin’s sensitivity and tolerance.

Rinse off the product with lukewarm water while still avoiding touching your eye area. Apply a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 if using this during the daytime. You can use this chemical skin peel twice a week, at most.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Brightens and lightens complexion
  • Decongests clogged pores to prevent acne
  • Has soothing and nourishing ingredients

Cons

  • There are a lot of counterfeit peels sold online
  • Gives a slight tingling sensation upon first application

This is another product that we think is worthy of being called the best at-home chemical peel. One tub of this peel contains 60 one-step pads.

Each pad contains a Glycolic Acid concentration of 30%. This ingredient is a chemical exfoliant that can slough off dead skin cells to reveal a smoother texture and brighter complexion. It also controls sebum production to lessen occurrences of acne.

This peel is also infused with Vitamins A, C, and E which have anti-aging properties. Along with another component called COQ10, they all work together to clarify and nourish the skin. You can expect a healthier glow with regular use.

The best part is that this chemical skin peel has no parabens or fragrances. It’s safe enough to be used every day, even by those with sensitive skin. It’s an easy-to-use remedy for hyperpigmentation.

How to Apply: After cleansing, swipe one pad all over your face. Avoid your eye area. Those with normal skin can use this twice a day. For those with sensitive skin, it’s recommended to use this just once a day.

Wear a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 after using this chemical skin peel.

Pros

  • Smoothens and brightens complexion
  • Has exfoliating properties that prevent acne
  • Infused with vitamins and anti-aging ingredients

Cons

  • You’ll feel a slight tingling sensation the first time you apply it because of the Glycolic Acid
  • More expensive compared to other chemical skin peels

Glycolic Acid is the main ingredient of this peel that lightens hyperpigmentation. The concentration is at 30% for smoothening, brightening, and clarifying the skin.

Retinol is also present in this peel because of its anti-aging properties. It’s known to enhance the renewal of skin cells to delay the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

To provide extra nourishment, antioxidants and plant extracts are also added to this chemical skin peel. The combination of Green Tea, Chamomile, and Cucumber extracts strengthen the skin to protect it from damage.

With regular use, this chemical skin peel lightens acne scars, dark marks, and hyperpigmentation. It gets rid of dead skin buildup to reveal a healthier complexion.

We find it to be another product worthy of being called the best at-home chemical peel. Even just the Glycolic Acid content alone makes it a highly effective acid peel that’ll deliver great results.

The best part is that it’s free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. It doesn’t have fragrance, triclosan, or GMOs either.

How to Apply: After cleansing, apply the peel all over your face with a cotton pad or your fingers. Avoid getting it in your eye area. Let it stay on the skin for 10 minutes and then rinse off with cool water.

Apply moisturizer and sunscreen after using this chemical peel as it makes the skin vulnerable to sunlight.

Pros

  • Fades hyperpigmentation by exfoliating the skin
  • Nourishing and moisturizing formula
  • No harsh ingredients

Cons

  • You’ll experience a slight tingling sensation when you first apply it
  • Applying this on active breakouts can aggravate them further

We’ve mentioned in our Best Moisturizers for Aging Skin Over 60 article how much we love the Drunk Elephant brand. Not only does it have highly effective formulas, but all of its products’ packaging are also very appealing. They give a great pop of color on our skincare shelves.

The T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial deserves to be called the best at-home chemical peel because of its formula. It has a great balance of face acids like AHA and BHA to gently exfoliate the skin.

25% AHA comes in the form of Glycolic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Lactic Acid, and Citric Acid. They remove dead skin cells to speed up skin renewal. This component lightens hyperpigmentation issues like spots and acne scars.

2% BHA is from Salicylic Acid, a known pore un-clogger. It clarifies your pores to prevent acne. It can also calm down redness and inflammation.

Other ingredients include Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, and Virgin Marula Oil. These are known moisturizers.

Passionfruit Seed, Pomegranate, and Pumpkin Ferment extracts provide added antioxidants that strengthen the skin. Matcha, Milk Thistle, Cactus, and Apple extracts do the same and also offer soothing properties.

How to Apply: After cleansing and drying your face, apply an adequate amount of product all over. Let it stay on the skin for 20 minutes and then rinse off with lukewarm water. Use this chemical peel only once a week.

Pros

  • Brightens hyperpigmentation like scars and spots
  • Decongests pores to prevent acne
  • Moisturizes the skin with nourishing ingredients
  • Has a plant-derived formula that soothes the skin

Cons

  • Some users receive a defective pump
  • Expensive compared to other chemical peels

As opposed to most peels on this list, this chemical peel uses Lactic Acid instead of Glycolic Acid as its star ingredient against hyperpigmentation. It’s a slightly gentler alternative to it, after all.

Similar to Glycolic Acid, the Lactic Acid content in the formula is great at exfoliating dead skin cells for a better complexion. Apart from that, it also boosts skin collagen production to delay signs of aging.

This chemical peel also contains Kojic Acid, a popular skin brightener. It will lighten age spots and hyperpigmentation to reveal a more even skin tone.

A combination of Bearberry, Licorice, and Green Tea extracts are also present for added skin nourishment. Cucumber, Chamomile, and Comfrey extracts also further strengthen the skin’s upper barrier to protect it from damage.

With regular use, you’ll notice less noticeable hyperpigmentation issues and spots on your skin.

How to Apply: After cleansing, apply this all over your face using a cotton pad. Let it stay on your skin for 1 minute and then rinse off with cool water.

Pros

  • The combination of different acids lightens discoloration
  • Gently exfoliates the skin
  • Nourishing formula

Cons

  • Gives a slight tingling sensation upon first application

What to Look for in an At-Home Chemical Peel

To finally overcome any hyperpigmentation issues that you have, you must make sure to know what exactly to look for when choosing a chemical peel. There are two important factors to consider when finding an acid peel for your skin.

Chemical Exfoliants

Most chemical peels use ingredients like Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, and Salicylic Acid as the main exfoliant. These contain Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) which gently peels and exfoliates the skin.

Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid, in particular, are known for their effective skin-lightening powers when used properly.

If Gycolic Acid interests you, then you should check out our article on the Best Glycolic Acid Products.

Acid Concentration

Consider the amount of acid concentration you need.

The higher the concentration, the more powerful the brightening effects of the chemical peel will be. If your hyperpigmentation spots are darker, then consider getting a chemical peel product with a high amount of acid concentration.

If you’re just looking for something that’ll fade milder hyperpigmentation issues like acne scars or sunburns though, then a chemical peel with a lower acid concentration will probably do.

Important tip:

Make sure to do a patch test on your skin before fully trying out any type of acid or peel on your skin. If intense burning or stinging happens, then it’s best to get something with a lower concentration instead. Also, make sure to consult your dermatologist to be safe.

Nourishing Ingredients

You wouldn’t want to apply a strong exfoliant on your skin without adding nourishment to cushion the blow. As mentioned, most skin peels for face contain potent acids. They can dry out your skin if you don’t pair them with a soothing ingredient.

The most common ingredients added to chemical peels are Green Tea, Chamomile, and Hyaluronic Acid. They’re known to soothe and moisturize the skin so that hydration levels are still balanced.

Other components like Calendula, Aloe Vera, and Niacinamide also provide calming properties for the skin. They prevent redness, inflammation, and irritation.

How to Care for Your Face After Using a Chemical Peel

Once you’ve found the right chemical skin peeler, then it’s important to do proper aftercare. Your skin is at its most vulnerable after a chemical peel so it needs special treatment.

Avoid Other Active Ingredients

You should avoid other strong acids and peels after your chemical peel. 

If you’ve already used a Glycolic Acid or Lactic Acid peel, then make sure you don’t apply a serum that contains those same acids. You’ll risk over-drying your skin or even relapsing the hyperpigmentation that you just tried to solve.

Retinol is another ingredient you should avoid post-peel. Though it’s an anti-aging ingredient, it could be too strong on your freshly exfoliated skin.

Wear Sunscreen

Even when you’re not using peels, this is an important tip to follow. Wearing sunscreen prevents the formation of spots and hyperpigmentation on your skin.

When indoors, an SPF of 15 is a good amount to use on the daily. If you’re stepping outside during the daytime, make sure to wear an SPF of at least 30.

Personally, especially after getting a peel, we like to use an SPF of at least 40 though. It offers maximum protection against hyperpigmentation This is since our skin is most vulnerable to the sun after an acid peel.

If you need options, check out our Best Non-Comedogenic Sunscreens article.

Conclusion

We hope that this article has helped settle your reluctance with using at-home chemical peels. Now, you can get brighter skin even without a professional device.

Just be sure to follow the proper routine and aftercare so that your skin doesn’t get irritated.

Take your pick from the list above so you can finally move on to a better complexion!

Paola Diaz
Paola Diaz

Hi, I'm Paola! A skin care enthusiast and nature lover. Creating content that promotes proper skin treatment and keeping a healthy glow is my way of sharing with the world how healthy skin can go a long way. I’m a firm believer of natural beauty that radiates inside all of us. All we need is the right kind of nourishment that inspires our wellness from inside out. So it’s really not about physical beauty alone – it’s the beautiful life we can create for ourselves when we connect with our own nature and see there is beauty that shines from every one of us.