Professionally administered chemical peels are one the best ways to lift unwanted discoloration and hyperpigmentation from the skin. These excellent exfoliators buff away dead skin cells (where pigment can live) while smoothing out the skin’s surface, leaving it softer, more even, and refreshed. But not all chemical peels are the same, and what works for one person may not work for another. In addition, skin tone often plays into what’s deemed an appropriate chemical peel, too, especially since hyperpigmentation is a risk of chemical peels done in darker skin. Two popular options are Vitalize Peel or MelanX, we describe them both and their pros and cons.
However, new advancements in the world of chemical peels open the door to even the darkest skin tones with the use and incorporation of anti-inflammatory ingredients that decrease inflammation and the risk of unwanted pigment.
Still, there’s plenty to know about chemical peels before opting for one. Peels range in intensity from superficial or light to medium and then deep (often not recommended for darker skin). No matter the strength of the peel, an acid-based ingredient (or several) will create an exfoliation mechanism in the skin. Peels are great skin refreshers that improve tone and texture while stimulating collagen production. They’re also heralded for their ability to treat fine lines and wrinkles, acne, and even common signs of aging.
One of the most significant benefits of using a chemical peel is that it will improve and lighten hyperpigmentation and discoloration. The discoloration isn’t necessarily the same from one person to the next. In some, it arises as tiny, light freckles. In others, it can display itself as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (leftover discolored spots from breakouts), patchy melasma, photoaging, uneven skin tone, or other forms of discoloration. No matter the cause and the severity of your hyperpigmentation, the disparity in your complexion can be reason enough to want to correct it.
Two popular peels that often go head to head are MelanX Peel and the Vitalize Peel. Here’s how to determine which one is best for you.
The MelanX Peel
MelanX is a level II chemical peel that tackles hyperpigmentation, a byproduct of aging, constant sun exposure, inflammation, and hormonal fluctuations. All skin tones are susceptible to developing hyperpigmentation and dark areas of discoloration. Unfortunately, the darker the skin, the more likely the risk of pigmentation since the melanocytes, which are responsible for creating pigment in the skin, are more active. Getting rid of unwanted discoloration isn’t always the easiest skin concern to tackle, but with the right products and treatments, you can do it.
We recommend the MelanX Peel, an intense medical-grade peel, for treating unwanted dark spots, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, and melasma, as well as acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. This at-home use peel kit comes with a 25-day post-care skincare regimen that includes a prescription-strength lightening (brightening) cream, retinol serum, soothing balm, and facial cleanser. Please remember that you must wear a red mask for 12 hours, so plan accordingly.
MelanX works to polish the skin and lift away pigmentation, so the skin is more even. The treatment will reveal your skin’s natural tone and radiant, fresh new skin. Performed either in-office or at home, MelanX speeds up the rate at which the skin naturally sheds to effectively remove unwanted pigment from the skin. Besides evening out the complexion, the MelanX peel also works wonders for smoothing the skin’s texture by lifting away dead skin cells that can clog the pores and mar your skin’s appearance.
If more even, brighter-looking skin sits high on your wishlist, you’ll want to consider the MelanX peel. It’s the most advanced prescription-strength chemical peel and skin-lightening system on the market, and it’s incredibly effective at penetrating deep into the skin to lift, correct, and lighten unwanted dark marks, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, melasma, and uneven skin tone. In the end, skin appears brighter and more luminous with less discoloration.
However, it’s essential to understand that MelanX works differently from other chemical peels. It is a process, and time and patience are necessary, as are consistency and adhering to the directions provided.
Once the peel is applied to the skin, it sits on the face for 12 hours. The skin will appear red during this time since the peel is that color. Then, the peel is washed off the skin, and a special 25-day aftercare kit is used, which continues to lighten and brighten the pigmentation. The skin will peel for about 7 to 10 days, on average. The peeling phase is rather intense, and if needed, you should schedule time off work and plan the peel around special events and occasions.
There are several benefits of the MelanX peel, including the following:
- Reducing pigmentation
- Softening fine lines and wrinkles
- Improving active acne and acne scars
- Better skin texture and tone
- Decreasing the appearance of sun damage
Once the entire course of treatment and the whole protocol is complete, the skin will be brighter, fresher, smoother, and more evenly toned. Most patients see a 50 to 70 percent improvement after just one treatment, and some report a 100 percent improvement in about 25 days. Some require maintenance peels to keep their skin looking great. Keep in mind that MelanX is not a quick peel and takes time to work, and for the results to surface—they can take up to 30 days. It’s crucial to complete all the necessary steps of the peel to see the full results.
The Vitalize Peel
The Vitalize Peel is different from MelanX and works to improve mild-to-moderate skin imperfections. This superficial peel is beneficial for enhancing collagen production and epidermal thickening. While it can help improve the appearance of discoloration, hyperpigmentation, and acne scarring, it’s not as intense of a peel.
Patients choose the MelanX peel over the Vitalize peel because it’s a one-stop shop. With the Vitalize peel, the full results aren’t often seen until three or six peel treatments, whereas it’s one treatment with MelanX. In addition, Vitalize offers less peeling time—usually two to five days—and a more moderate peel, meaning it will lift not as much pigment, discoloration, and dead skin off the surface.
Of all the SkinMedica peels available, the Vitalize Peel is said to be the strongest one of the family and compatible with many different skin types. Most patients who opt for this peel seek it out to correct skin damage.
After the Vitalize peel is applied to the face, it’s common for there to be some mild redness, which resembles a sunburn or a yellow tint to the skin. The coloration dissipates after a few hours, and the peeling begins. In about one week or so, the new skin will emerge. While some patients see a difference in their skin after one treatment, the best results are garnered with a series of up to six peels spaced out over a few months. The most improvement is seen in the skin’s texture, which boasts fewer lines and wrinkles and less roughness.