Hyperpigmentation is extremely common in our sunny South Africa. And it only gets worse in summer. That’s why chemical skin peels are such a popular choice for achieving and maintaining your ideal tone of skin.

Now, we already know that most conventional sun-protection measures are less than ideal. Even sunscreen offering SPF 50 is only effective about 53% of the time. Apart from the far longer lasting effects of premature ageing, the sun also causes visible patches of dark, hyperpigmented skin.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Pigment is the colour or tone of our skin. Pigment is produced by a molecule in our body called Melanin. The more melanin present in your skin the darker your skin tone will be.  Less melanin gives lighter skin. But all skin types have melanin, just in different quantities.

Now, for the ideal skin tone, you want every part of your skin to contain the same amount of melanin. But, when skin becomes “hyper” pigmented, some parts of the skin start producing too much melanin. The result is hyperpigmentation: areas of skin with spots, splotches, freckles or patches that are darker the skin around it.


Treating hyperpigmentation

We distinguish between 3 main types of hyperpigmentation:

*Sun-induced hyperpigmentation
*Hormonal causes such as melasma (common during and after pregnancy).
*Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (to do with scarring and acne).

Long-term treatments may differ for the underlying causes of the different types of hyperpigmentation. But all treatments will contain a more immediate element, for helping you get rid of any existing dark skin in the meantime.

The most effective way to get rid of unwanted hyperpigmentation in the short to medium term is to stay out of the sun (the sun worsens all types of hyperpigmentation) and boost skin cell turnover. Basically, you want your skin to shed: to strip away dead and dying skin cells at a faster rate. This will allow new, even-tone skin cells to take their place.

There are various ways to advance skin shedding including laser treatments and advanced night-time renewal creams. But skin peels remain one of the most popular and effective treatment options.

What are chemical peels and how do they work?

Our bodies naturally shed skin cells – about 40 000 per hour or 1 million of them per day to be exact. It’s a completely natural process and it’s vital for keeping you and your skin in top health. You have about 1.6 trillion skin cells in our body, but each one only lives for about three weeks. Then it’s time for them to drop off and make space for a new cell.

This is how your skin regenerates. It’s vital for life.  As we get older, our skins often have trouble shedding at the right time. That’s when you start getting poor complexion, enlarged pores etc.

Chemical skin peels do exactly what the name says. They assist your body in “peeling” away old and unwanted skin cells, to speed up the regeneration process. The skin peel breaks the bonds between old, unwanted cells, making them “drop off”, to allow new cells to grow in their place.

With hyperpigmentation specifically, this process gets rid of the darkly pigmented cells faster. This allows the new, even-tone cells to take their place. In so doing, the hyperpigmentation goes away faster.

Types of skin peels used for hyperpigmentation

Your skincare therapist or doctor will advise you which peel is best for your particular case. But, in general, there are 4 main types of skin peels commonly used to treat hyperpigmentation.

  1. Glycolic Acid – Alpha Peel

Part of the fruit acid family, glycolic acid peels are alpha-hydroxy acid and one of the mildest and most popular types of skin peels available. Used to treat epidermal hyperpigmentation (on the surface layers of the skin), it’s an ideal lunchtime peel since there’s no downtime after the treatment.

  1. Salicylic Acid – Beta Peel

Called “Beta” because it is a Beta Hydroxy acid, the Alpha’s slightly harder working cousin. Salicyic acid peels also exfoliate (make skin shed) the top layers of skin like Alpha Peels.  They however have an added antibacterial effect and help clean and renew pores in the face and body areas.

Salicylic acid peels are used to treat all three types of hyperpigmentation.  If you are allergic to Aspirin you should not have a Salicylic acid peel.

  1. Tricholoroacetic – TCA

TCA peels are generally stronger and penetrate deeper than other peels.  It is used to treat really deep seated pigmentation.

The most notable differences between this peel and others are that TCA Peels will cause your skin to visibly shed (there is usually downtime). 

  1. Jessner Peels

The Jessner Peel consists of Resorcinol, Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid and is effective for the treatment of epidermal melasma.

Peels are further classified into 3 Categories:

Light Peel: Light to No flaking or downtime
Medium Depth Peel: Peeling and between 4-7 days downtime
Deep Peel: Peeling and 7-10 days downtime



What are some of the differences between the “Elaine Brennan Skin Renewal Peeling” and some of the other peelings on the market?

*Our peeling comes in the form of a cream which allows for easy and uniform application with no missed spots.

*Our peeling can be used on the eyelids without any risk of damaging the eyes as well as used on other areas of the body.

*Our peeling requires no pre treatment of the skin prior to peeling.

*Our patients are monitored throughout the peeling process. It is mandatory for patients to come into the clinic for the removal of the skin. Patients are not left to their own devices where skin may be prematurely removed resulting in skin damage.

*Our home care is extremely simple consisting of a healing and lubricating cream supplied to patients for use during the peeling process.

*Our peeling is safe, effective and suitable for all skin types, color and ages.

*Our peeling is not obtainable for purchase online and is available only through our authorized distributors. It is not suitable for home use and is carefully monitored by personnel fully trained in the technique.

*Our peeling requires a comprehensive and thorough training in the technique of application and the system in its entirety and is only made available for use to suitably qualified practitioners.

*Our peeling is based on resorcinol compounded in special non penetrating base ingredients; therefore the risk of carrying the peeling process too deeply into the skin is avoided. The special characteristics of our technique, is that no destruction of the living cells is involved. Unlike the majority of peelings which allow the physician to control the strength of the peeling, our peeling avoids the possibility of human error.