The old adage “a leopard never changes its spots” may apply in many situations, but I was hoping that the stubborn brown spots on my forehead and cheeks could be coaxed into fading. I have been struggling with hyperpigmentation for some time, during which I became obsessed with dark spot correcting skin care and tried almost every facial and beauty treatment on the market that promises brightening results (platelet-rich plasma micro-needling and soup-on the face, where absorption serum assisted laser to name a few), I basically spare no expense on my skin. But my quest to get rid of my sun-induced hyperpigmentation was becoming impossible, like it was something I would just have to live with. Once I got to the point where even full coverage makeup was having trouble hiding my sun spots, I decided to do a little more research on the possible treatments I had missed.
I opted for a chemical peel, specifically a VI Peel, which is what is known as a medium deep peel. Its blend of ingredients (including trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, and tretinoin exfoliators, and skin-brightening vitamin C) penetrates the top layer of skin, peeling away damaged skin cells to hopefully reveal the glowing skin beneath. “This peel is basically a bit of a buff for the skin, evens out tone while reducing fine lines and roughness. If anyone is concerned about photodamage, melasma, early signs of aging or even a little KP [keratosis pilaris]it would be a good treatment for them,” says Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Hamden, Conn. “It’s a great virgin peel for people who want to make a cosmetic leap—a good bet for first-timers.” When it comes to treating dark spots spots, “the phenol in the peel in particular is effective against hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Gohara, adding that what sets VI Peel apart from many other chemical peels is its ingredients “are all powerhouses against hyperpigmentation.”
I’ve heard a lot about chemical peels over the years. But after seeing Samantha Jones’ raw skin Sex in the city once upon a time I was nervous about touching my own face. However, in a last ditch effort to get a more even skin tone, I decided to tackle the VI Peel, which experts say is gentler than the others.
What is hyperpigmentation vs melasma?
I knew the brown spots on my forehead and cheeks were hyperpigmentation, but I wasn’t sure if what I had could be classified as melasma, which is particularly difficult to correct and might dictate the type of treatment I would need. So I turned to Nkem Ugonabo, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, to help me figure it out. “Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that typically appears on the face as small brown spots, classically on the cheeks, but they can also be on [the] forehead, upper lip, chin, etc,” says Dr. Ugonabo. The type of hyperpigmentation I have can be classified as melasma because of the small brown spots I have on my cheeks and forehead. With all the brightening skincare and facials I consistently, I felt my sun spots shouldn’t look so dark—and melasma is notoriously difficult to fade.