A Cosmelan peel is a two-step treatment for resistant type hyperpigmentation where the peel is applied to the skin by a licensed dermatologist or certified skin care professional and is then washed off at home after the mask is worn for several hours. Once the mask is removed, a secondary cream is applied to protect new skin growth. A cosmelan peel differs from other skin brightening products and chemical peels in its ingredients, which are designed to treat the specific symptoms of melasma, which can occur during hormone changes in the body due to pregnancy or menopause, and hyperpigmentation, which can occur due to sun exposure or genetics. This type of peel may be beneficial to those who have tried creams that contain hydroquinone or tretinoin in the past and suffered adverse reactions to these harsh ingredients, as a cosmelan peel does not contain them.
Unlike hydroquinone and tretinoin, which can be harsh on the skin and cause a number of unpleasant side effects as they treat hyperpigmentation issues, a cosmelan peel contains azelaic acid, which kills bacteria on the surface of the skin and boosts new skin cell production; and kojic acid, which is an acid that is derived from several different types of naturally-existing fungi and which inhibits the production of melanin in the skin.
Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin its color, and when the cosmelan peel is applied to the skin, it inhibits further pigmentation from taking place. The cream that is applied after the mask is removed contains both kojic and phytic acid, which is an antioxidant that helps to heal the skin and protect it after treatment. Since a cosmelan peel can take several hours and then requires aftercare, you should plan on having the treatment after work or on the weekend, when you can return home and focus on applying the second step of treatment.
Before treatment, your dermatologist will clean your skin to ensure that no excess oil or dead skin cells remain. The mask is then applied and left on for up to eight hours. Once you are at home, you will remove the cosmelan peel on your own and then apply a secondary cream on a daily basis until the skin is healed. Multiple treatments will be necessary before you see any results.
While this peel is not as harsh as those that contain alpha hydroxy acids or hydroquinone, you may experience redness, tightening of the skin, and peeling during the initial treatments. Your dermatologist or the professional who administered your cosmelan peel can advise you how to manage these side effects until they subside, based on your unique skin needs.