I Tried A Chemical Peel To Help Heal My Hyperpigmentation Woes

As I enter my thirties, I want to reclaim my status as "the friend with great skin".

I Tried It

Something went terribly wrong when I hit 31! Work was great, my love life was intact, and my relationships with friends and family had never been better, but my skin was an entirely different story.

In the past, I was labeled by my girls as "the friend with great skin". I could pick and choose the days I wore make-up; foundation and concealer were optional for me and hardly ever worn. My skin glowed on command and was flawless. That is, until a few days before my 31st birthday.

Writer Ianthia Smith

Pimples of epic proportions popped up on my cheeks and on both sides of my forehead, just above the brows. When one blemish disappeared, another appeared almost instantly in its place. The bumps were painful, swollen, and tore my skin leaving massive breakage and tears. "Healing" actually turned to hyperpigmentation and I found myself wearing makeup everywhere, even in the gym (only to watch it drip onto the floor mat as I did my fifth set of squats).

The worst part was, I couldn't figure out why all of this was happening now. I've had pimples before, but the size and frequency at which these appeared was alarming, I just knew something was wrong.

My "glow up" had dimmed and I didn't know what to do.

I tried everything, including but not limited to changing my diet, working out more, drinking more water, changing my makeup brushes, updating my skincare regimen…nothing worked! I finally visited my doctor who suspected I had a hormonal imbalance and put me on birth control and Retin-A. She also suggested that I try a chemical peel.


This sounded painful, but I was desperate to get back to the skin I knew and love. I quickly booked a consultation with the recommended dermatologist who confirmed that hormones were to blame for my skin problems and that a chemical peel would help to rid my face of dead, broken, and dull skin. She explained that the process uses a mixture of different acids that are applied to the face, given time to dry, and ultimately shed a thin layer of the skin to reveal a new glow.

About a week later, I went in for my chemical peel application. When I arrived at the doctor's office, I had to fill out a consent form and then, it was peel time! And if you ever consider this option as a solution to your dermatology-related woes, here's what you should expect:

Before My Chemical Peel Appointment


Before the application, I used a moist cloth to remove all products, sweat, and oil that was on my skin. The doctor then came in and used a cotton ball to apply the small cup of brown liquid to my skin. After about four passes, all the liquid was gone and it was time to wait and peel.

The Chemical Peel Procedure

Day One

The day of the peel, my skin had a noticeably orange color, of course because the product was still on. There was no tightness, no pain. I experienced a slight stinging sensation from sun exposure, but that's normal and once I blasted the air conditioning in the car, it became less bothersome.

I was given a post-peel kit, which included some anti-itch cream, sunscreen, and moist towelettes that acted as mini-peels that I had to apply for the next two or three days.

The Next Few Days

By the second day, my skin was still pretty normal looking. In fact, I even wore makeup on this day and no evidence of peeling was noticeable. My skin still felt fine and looked pretty normal as the orange-like glow started to fade.

Day three was when the fun began. I was almost excited to see my old, bruised, and damaged skin start to peel away. It started around the mouth area, as predicted. Since we're constantly talking and chewing, the peel usually starts here first. What began as a small spot of peeling earlier that morning had spread around my entire mouth and instantly I could see the amazing difference between my old skin and the new glow peeking through. It was like magic!

Day Three

Day four was pretty intense as the peel was in full effect! I could now see other parts of my skin start to tighten as it prepared to peel. Peeling around my mouth had now increased to my cheeks and forehead! With each passing hour, the old skin was turning a darker color and was slowly starting to lift away. So far during the process, there had been no pain, minimum itching, and hardly any discomfort…except for when I looked in the mirror, of course.

Here is where you'd want to load up on your favorite Netflix shows and snacks and stay indoors.

Day Four

By day five, my entire face was peeling, and I could now see the skin that had troubled me for so long falling away to reveal a new, softer, more supple face. It was indeed a scary sight to behold, but I could already see the results and it was so worth it. I could see a new me, ready to shine through. Aesthetically speaking, days five and six were pretty much all the same as the peeling continued.

In A Week

Seven days later, my new skin had arrived! The peeling was completely done and my face had never been softer and smoother. The dry patchy skin was gone, scabs and scars left behind from tearing had disappeared, my uneven tone had balanced out. Finally, my hyperpigmentation was lightening and my glow up was back on the come up.

The day before my chemical peel appointment, I had somehow convinced myself to cancel, but at the very last minute I changed my mind and I'm so happy I did.

Day Seven

Not only did the chemical peel have immediate benefits for my skin, but even more than two months later, I can still feel its effects.

I haven't seen one of those dreaded pimples in months (knocks on wood), my dark marks are still lightening, and my foundation now glides on my skin like butter. The downtime wasn't that bad either, I personally only needed seven days, and I was only stuck in my house for three of them.

Here's What I Think About Chemical Peels

Writer Ianthia Smith One Month Post-Peel

The words 'chemical peel' does sound scary next to each other, but for me it was a much needed addition to my tired skincare routine and I've now added it to my annual calendar. For anyone experiencing stubborn acne issues that just won't go away, I would really recommend speaking to your doctor about this procedure. It might change your life, just like it did mine.

Our faces go through so much drama on a daily basis, and just like everything else in our life we sometimes need to shed a layer or two to get back to our glory days.

Ianthia Two Months Post-Peel

Click here to watch my full journey or watch my experience by clicking the video down below:

Originally published September 11, 2018

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