Melasma Peels

Chemical peels are an effective treatment modality for melasma. The Cosmelan peel is the most popular, however has a recovery time of up to 2 weeks. Glycolic, salicylic & retinoic acid peels work slower than Cosmelan, but they do not have downtime.

Recovery

1 - 21 days

Results

7 - 28 days

Treatment Time

5 - 10 minutes

Aftercare

SPF + pigment correctors

Treatment science score

The Science of Chemical peels for melasma

  • Peels are an effective way of treating melasma pigmentation
  • The most effective peels are Cosmelan or Dermamelan peels
  • They have downtimes of 7 to 21 days
  • Cosmelan or Dermamelan only require one session
  • Glycolic & lactic acid peels are gentler solutions with no downtime
  • AHA peels require a series of 5 sessions for best results
  • Selecting the most suitable peel for your melasma will yield the best possible results

The Cosmelan Peel is one of the fastest ways to treat melasma pigmentation, however it is associated with a prolonged recovery of one to two weeks. Regardless, it can be useful for patients wanting immediate results with only one treatment.

Why chemical peeling for melasma?

Chemical peels act as exfoliants, removing excess pigmentation in various layers of skin. The speed of removal can be super quick (think Cosmelan peeling) or slowly (glycolic peels, salicylic or retinoic acid).

Fast peels require only one session; however, recovery is protracted at 2-3 weeks. Slow peels require 5 sessions; however, recovery is instant.

What types of melasma peels do we preform?

Our clinicians are versed in the following peels –

  • Cosmelan peel
  • Dermamelan peel
  • Jessner peel
  • TCA peels
  • Glycolic & lactic acid peels
  • Salicylic acid peels
  • Retinoic acid peels

Our experience spans over 20 years & includes all forms of peeling- from superficial to deep.

What is the Cosmelan peel mask?

Cosmelan mask is a two-step program for melasma.

  • Step one is an in-office chemical peel mask.
  • Step two is an at home skin care routine that lasts 12 weeks.

It has a high efficacy rate for treating melasma (around 60% success), albeit a long recovery phase of up to 2 weeks.

What is Dermamelan & is it better?

Dermamelan is a supercharged Cosmelan program that is 30% more powerful than Cosmelan. It involves a similar program consisting of a clinic peel followed by a similar 12-week skin care routine at home. It has a marginally higher efficacy rate compared to Cosmelan, albeit a skin recovery phase of over 21 days.

When do we recommend the Cosmelan or Dermamelan peel?

Cosmelan & Dermamelan has a narrow window of application. It is best employed for –

  • Superficial or mixed melasma
  • For patients with an allocated downtime of up to 14-21 days
  • For non-sensitive skin types

We commonly employ this peel for our out-of-town visitors.

What results can I expect?

Pigment starts to improve at the one-week mark & will continue to improve over the next few weeks. Maximal results are seen at 6 -12 weeks.

*Not all cases of melasma will respond to Cosmelan, it has an efficacy rate of 60%. Cosmelan has a long safety record with over one million cases treated worldwide.

What are glycolic or lactic peels & are they any good for melasma?

Glycolic, lactic & mandelic peels are termed AHA or alpha hydroxy acid peels. They are useful in removing melasma pigmentation, however they require a series of 5 sessions spaced 2-3 weeks apart for best results.

These peels are less effective than Cosmelan or Dermamelan peels, however they do not have any downtime. AHA peels are best used to help prevent melasma from recurring.

What are salicylic & retinoic acid peels?

These peels that can help reduce melasma & other forms of pigmentation by increasing the turnover of pigment in the upper layers of skin. They do not work as well as Cosmelan or Dermamelan, however have minimal downtime.

Peel type

Recovery

Number of sessions

Efficacy

Cosmelan/Dermamelan 7-21 days 0 days 1-4 days
Glycolic / lactic acid 1 5 3-5
Retinoic / salicylic acid 60+% 30+% 30+%

What is the recovery following chemical peels?

Recovery depends on the peeling agent we employ. Here is a guide-

Peeling agent

Glycolic acid

Cosmelan

Dermamelan

Recovery 0 d 7-14 d 14-21 d
Number of sessions 5 1 1
Efficacy ++ ++++ ++++

How do I know what is the best type of peel for my melasma?

Our clinicians will advise you on the most suitable peel, taking into consideration-

  • Clinical factors: depth of pigment, activity of melasma
  • Downtime: based upon your work & lifestyle
  • Skin sensitivities: including background rosacea, acne & dermatitis

Are lasers a better option than peeling for melasma?

Lasers can clear up melasma pigmentation within a few short weeks & require 4 sessions for best results. They provide better clearance rates of pigment compared to chemical peels (80% vs 60%) & have zero downtime.

Cosmelan & Dermamelan peels require only one session, however recovery time takes up to 3 weeks. Peels work best with superficial pigmentation, whilst lasers work best with both superficial & deep melasma.

Treatment

Recovery

Number of sessions

Cost/efficacy

Pico lasers 0 day 4 $$$ 80+% effective
Cosmelan / Dermamelan 14 -21 days 1 $$$ 60+% effective

What sets The Melasma Clinic apart from other clinics that offer chemical peels

At The Melasma Clinic our clinicians are experts in all forms of peeling, including TCA, phenol, AHA, BHA, Jessner, Cosmelan, Dermamelan & retinoic acid peels.

We select the best peeling agent based upon the level of pigmentation, your skin type & sensitivity as well as your allocated downtime. We are also experts in laser & light-based devices with a collection of over 40 energy-based devices.

The Melasma Clinic difference

Our specialist clinic can effectively treat pigmentation in all skin types, employing bespoke treatment protocols that consist of skin care actives, picosecond lasers, clinical peels & in some cases prescriptive medication. With 20 years of dermatology behind us, we can manage all forms of pigmentation, from melasma, through to post inflammatory pigment.

Can the chemical peel be used on all skin types?

Yes. Darker skin types can be safely treated with most chemical peels including Cosmelan & Dermamelan peels.

What types of melasma are resistant to Cosmelan peels?

Though effective in most cases of melasma, Cosmelan has a failure rate of 30-40%.

Certain patterns of melasma are more resistant to treatment, including –

  • Dermal melasma
  • Erythrotelangiectatic melasma
  • Rebound melasma, especially microneedling
  • Jawline melasma

Understanding the level of pigmentation & melasma subtype will improve your chances of success.

Your clinician will guide you through your specific protocol & pigment corrector. This only applies to potentially irritating agents, it is not a blanket guide for all topicals/pigment correctors 
.
Still sensitive, even if short contact? 
.
1️⃣Use half the amount (dilute in moisturizer) 
.
2️⃣ moisturiser before & after
. 
3️⃣Titrate use, ie. skip a day….or three
.
4️⃣Test spot for allergy (very rare, skin irritation more common). Use a tiny amount, apply to the inner arm, photograph 📸the reaction taking note of the time it takes to develop irritation. Show this to your treating clinician to interpret & they will guide you. Irritation is different from allergic reactions💯
.
👉🙏🏼Addition of topicals will be guided by your treating clinician, based upon your skin sensitivity, current topical use & treatment (peels vs lasers). Timing is important 
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #melasma #dermatologistsydney

Your clinician will guide you through your specific protocol & pigment corrector. This only applies to potentially irritating agents, it is not a blanket guide for all topicals/pigment correctors
.
Still sensitive, even if short contact?
.
1️⃣Use half the amount (dilute in moisturizer)
.
2️⃣ moisturiser before & after
.
3️⃣Titrate use, ie. skip a day….or three
.
4️⃣Test spot for allergy (very rare, skin irritation more common). Use a tiny amount, apply to the inner arm, photograph 📸the reaction taking note of the time it takes to develop irritation. Show this to your treating clinician to interpret & they will guide you. Irritation is different from allergic reactions💯
.
👉🙏🏼Addition of topicals will be guided by your treating clinician, based upon your skin sensitivity, current topical use & treatment (peels vs lasers). Timing is important
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #melasma #dermatologistsydney
...

Dr Vee Mang is an Australian trained physician with extensive experience in skin, having worked in the field of dermatology. She’s a cosmetic physician who works with Dr Van Park & Dr Davin Lim in Woollahra, Sydney
.
👉Her interests: Pigmentation, neurotoxin, acne management, anti-aging
.
📖Bookings: Open for consultation, send your expression of interest at our website, melasmaclinic.com.au Yes, an expression of interest is required for the Sydney clinic. 
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #melasma

Dr Vee Mang is an Australian trained physician with extensive experience in skin, having worked in the field of dermatology. She’s a cosmetic physician who works with Dr Van Park & Dr Davin Lim in Woollahra, Sydney
.
👉Her interests: Pigmentation, neurotoxin, acne management, anti-aging
.
📖Bookings: Open for consultation, send your expression of interest at our website, melasmaclinic.com.au Yes, an expression of interest is required for the Sydney clinic.
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #melasma
...

Dr Van Park is the co-founder of The Melasma Clinic. She’s a key opinion leader in the field of aesthetic injectables with her innovative & novel injection techniques with neuromodulators & soft tissue injectables
.
👉Rumor has it that Davin Lim fixed her melasma & hence why she founded this clinic. 
.
📖Bookings: She’s closed her books, but occasional consults may arise 
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #drvanpark #dvp #clinicdvp #cosmeticphysician

Dr Van Park is the co-founder of The Melasma Clinic. She’s a key opinion leader in the field of aesthetic injectables with her innovative & novel injection techniques with neuromodulators & soft tissue injectables
.
👉Rumor has it that Davin Lim fixed her melasma & hence why she founded this clinic.
.
📖Bookings: She’s closed her books, but occasional consults may arise
.
The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#themelasmaclinic #drvanpark #dvp #clinicdvp #cosmeticphysician
...

Davin Lim is a technician & co-founder. He comes up with the diagnosis, management plan & settings, nothing more. He fixed Van’s melasma & the rest is history☄️
.
👉In store: working on AI for ‘virtual Davin’, namely programmed AI bot for Q and A, coupled with AI video & virtual voice. Bot Q & A will be released in the next few weeks, virtual video & voice within 6 months (hopefully)
.
📖Bookings: handful of appointments available in Sydney every month, expression of interest via melasmaclinic.com.au 
.
🏡The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#davinlim #drdavinlim #themelasmaclinic #dermatologistsydney #dermatologyclinicsydney

Davin Lim is a technician & co-founder. He comes up with the diagnosis, management plan & settings, nothing more. He fixed Van’s melasma & the rest is history☄️
.
👉In store: working on AI for ‘virtual Davin’, namely programmed AI bot for Q and A, coupled with AI video & virtual voice. Bot Q & A will be released in the next few weeks, virtual video & voice within 6 months (hopefully)
.
📖Bookings: handful of appointments available in Sydney every month, expression of interest via melasmaclinic.com.au
.
🏡The Melasma Clinic
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#davinlim #drdavinlim #themelasmaclinic #dermatologistsydney #dermatologyclinicsydney
...

IPL is awesome for non-melasma pigmentation but is often a cause of flare ups for melasma pigment. The reason is the excessive heat that is often associated with IPL. Exception to this rule is the use of exact filters in correct pulse widths with co-prescription of pigment inhibitors- medical therapy. It can be done, but the threshold for error is very thin💯
.
👉This patient: treated with old fashioned dermal toning with nano-lasers, Spectra by Lutronic, in addition to medical therapy
.
📆👉Timeline: 10 weeks. Pico lasers offer faster resolution, if performed correctly. 
.
Dr Davin Lim
Dermatologist
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#drdavinlim #IPL #IPLtreatment #melasma #melasmacure #melasmasurvivor #melasmaskincare #themelasmaclinic #sydneydermatologist

IPL is awesome for non-melasma pigmentation but is often a cause of flare ups for melasma pigment. The reason is the excessive heat that is often associated with IPL. Exception to this rule is the use of exact filters in correct pulse widths with co-prescription of pigment inhibitors- medical therapy. It can be done, but the threshold for error is very thin💯
.
👉This patient: treated with old fashioned dermal toning with nano-lasers, Spectra by Lutronic, in addition to medical therapy
.
📆👉Timeline: 10 weeks. Pico lasers offer faster resolution, if performed correctly.
.
Dr Davin Lim
Dermatologist
Brisbane | Sydney🇦🇺
.
#drdavinlim #IPL #IPLtreatment #melasma #melasmacure #melasmasurvivor #melasmaskincare #themelasmaclinic #sydneydermatologist
...

Dermamelan & Cosmelan peels have arrived 💯
.
👉Novel peels: are a good option for primarily epidermal melasma and superficial pigmentation, albeit a downtime of 6-12 days 
.
👌🏻Employ peels based upon diagnostic features of pigment and allowed recovery of the patient 
.
🏡The Melasma Clinic Sydney-Brisbane 🇦🇺
#melasma #cosmelan2 #cosmelanmask #cosmelanpeel

Dermamelan & Cosmelan peels have arrived 💯
.
👉Novel peels: are a good option for primarily epidermal melasma and superficial pigmentation, albeit a downtime of 6-12 days
.
👌🏻Employ peels based upon diagnostic features of pigment and allowed recovery of the patient
.
🏡The Melasma Clinic Sydney-Brisbane 🇦🇺
#melasma #cosmelan2 #cosmelanmask #cosmelanpeel
...

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Should I discontinue my skin care before the chemical peels?

Yes. Our clinicians will guide you accordingly. Retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids & other exfoliants can alter peel agent penetration, in turn compromising skin recovery.

When should I restart my skincare routine after a chemical peel?

Post Cosmelan peel, you will be transitioning the Cosmelan 2 program which entails the use of products to be used at home.
For other peeling agents, you can transition back to your skin care 1-10 days post procedure.

The Melasma Clinic difference

Our specialist clinic can effectively treat pigmentation in all skin types, employing bespoke treatment protocols that consist of skin care actives, picosecond lasers, clinical peels & in some cases prescriptive medication. With 20 years of dermatology behind us, we can manage all forms of pigmentation, from melasma, through to post inflammatory pigment.

Dr Davin Lim

645K subscribers

How to treat PIGMENTATION

If I can identify the cause of pigmentation, chances are I can treat it. This can only be achieved with careful real time examination…

More of our mostFrequently asked questions

How does Cosmelan compare to alpha hydroxy acid peels?

How do chemical peels compare with Fraxel?

What about TCA peels for melasma?

What types of chemical peels can be used when I am pregnant?

Do chemical peels cure melasma?

Can peels be used to treat other areas of skin darkening?

A SummaryMelasma treatments with chemical peels

Dr Davin Lim | Dermatologist
The Melasma Clinic, Brisbane | Sydney

In the 1970 to late 2000s, chemical peels including TCA, Jessner TCA & deep phenol peels were the mainstay for treating melasma pigmentation. In fact, Medicare still has an item number for medium to deep peel treatment for melasma, however it has been in outdated for well over a decade. Peels work, however, they are associated with long recovery times & a high chance of rebound melasma.

Cosmelan & Dermamelan peels are a more favorable rebound rate, primarily due to the ‘part 2’ peel program, namely home care kits provided with the masks. The decision to go on this program or not depending largely on downtime.