We’ve come a long way from the days of being afraid of applying something termed “chemical peel” to our faces. Once associated with something Buffalo Bill would do, peels come in teensy bottles to take home and in variants: some to soothe, some to rejuvenate, some to treat hyperpigmentation.

The acids in the peel are there to dissolve dead skin cells, lifting off damaged layers to reveal newer, squeaky-clean ones.

I tried one at The Laser Beautique to see if it would help my pigmented upper lip. The answer isn’t an immediate yes. “With any treatment, you do need to do a few to see the results,” says Stephanie May, the therapist at The Laser Beautique.

“With pigmentation, the damage is a lot deeper. It appears on the surface but there’s deep cellular damage and you need to slough off all the dead skin cells and get into the cells and energise them, which takes a few treatments.”

It’s recommended that you get about four to six treatments every two to four weeks to see best results.

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The peel

I went once to check it out, and Stephanie went with a RegimenA peel costing R830 per session. They come in two strengths: 50% and 30%. Because I don’t use RegimenA every day, my Stephanie went for a 30% fruit acid peel to acclimatise my skin to the treatment.

“It’s an all-rounder: it works on your lines and wrinkles, it has lightening and brightening properties so it’s going to help with your pigmentation,” she says.

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First, my skin was cleansed twice, followed by the peel. The acids were quite tingly, and Stephanie spent most of the 15 minutes massaging the treatment into my skin to ease the discomfort. After, the peel was neutralised, followed by a mask, serum and moisturiser.

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The verdict

It’s difficult to see immediate differences with hyperpigmentation after one session, but there are usually subtle differences, says Stephanie. “You can see your skin is a lot more glowing, it’s softer… It’s an all-rounder: it works on your lines and wrinkles, it has lightening and brightening properties so it’s going to help with your pigmentation,” she says. The next day, my skin was looking brighter and felt softer.

This article was originally published on Women's Health.