Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Can Black People’s Skin Peel

The condition is called black skin peeling, and it can happen for a number of reasons.The most common cause of black skin peeling is that you’ve been in the sun too long, and your skin has burned. This will cause your skin to peel, but it’s nothing to worry about. Just make sure you stay out of the sun for a few days and check for any new burns—they’re easier to treat if you catch them early.

Another common reason for black skin peeling is psoriasis (a condition that causes red patches on your body). In this case, the itching associated with psoriasis could have caused you to scratch your skin until it bled—which then caused it to peel off. If this is what happened to you, talk to your doctor as soon as possible so they can prescribe some medication to help stop the itching and heal your wounds faster so they don’t scar over time! In this guide, we review the aspects of: can black people’s skin peel, the perfect peel on black skin, chemical peel for hyperpigmentation on dark skin, and best chemical peel for asian skin.

Hendrixx Love, 1, reacted as he got sprayed with sunscreen by his mother, Ashley Love, 23, at Coney Island Beach.

Chemical peels are the best and safest way to reduce brown spots and hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones

Exfoliating agents such as professional chemical peels, enzymes and at-home skin care treatments are a great option in treating hyperpigmentation for all skin colors, especially darker skin tones. Most quasi-medical or laser treatments are too invasive for skin of color and actually can cause more hyperpigmentation in the end.

Chemical peels are the best and safest way to reduce brown spots and hyperpigmentation in darker skin tones. However, treating SOC with chemical peels without a pre- and post-treatment regimen, and chemical peels that are too deep or done too frequently can potentially cause hyperpigmentation (brown spots) or hypopigmentation (white spots).   

Chemical peels are great for Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH), Melasma and some brown spots.  The darker skin you have, the more prone you are to these conditions. Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation can a be caused by acne/pimples, burns, scratches, excessive dryness and other minor skin traumas, as well as chemical peels and different types of lasers.

Melasma (seen mostly in women) is usually caused from hormone (birth control pills + pregnancy) shifts or imbalances and inflammation/sun exposure. No matter what your skin color is, always start conservatively with any skin-care treatment or product. It is easier to increase the strength gradually than to begin too aggressively and have to reverse post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. We call these progressive peels. 

Prepping with a pre-home care regimen before a peel is an absolute must for skin of color. Gradually and gently preparing the skin will give it time to adjust and avoid post-peel complications. It can be as simple as having a gentle wash with a low percentage alpha hydroxy acid and an quality SPF.  Sunblock / sunscreen is not all created the same and it is not as simple as purchasing a “45SPF”. 

Occasionally, we recommend skin lighteners too, depending upon the severity of acne and hyperpigmentation. However, lightening agents, especially those containing prescription and non-prescription hydroquinone (HQ), can contain thick, pore-clogging ingredients that provoke acne.

Rather than overexposing skin with a high percentage chemical peel, I suggest starting with progressive peels. Progressive peels are superficial and do not cause immediate exfoliation. They are also good for preparing for more aggressive, medium depth peels with mild sloughing. Progressive peels are usually performed every two weeks, but I advise once a month in skin of color clients to avoid over-stimulating the skin and potentially causing hyperpigmentation.

I always send my clients home with 1% over-the–counter (OTC) hydrocortisone lotion to apply post-peel three to five days as an insurance policy to help stave off hyperpigmentation. It helps to reduce inflammation, which can trigger hyperpigmentation and acne breakouts. It also makes for a good spot treatment for acne.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Whether hydroquinone, also known as bleaching cream, is safe for the skin is a serious and important debate. Over time, hydroquinone can become less effective and cause ochronosis (skin darkening), especially in darker skin tones. Although rare, I do recommend 2% hydroquinone in my practice, but never as a long-term indefinite part of anyone’s, especially skin of color clients, skin-care routines. I use other more “natural” lightening agents that typically take longer to see results, but are safer and tend to be longer lasting.

Hydrocortisone (not the over-the-counter ones at the drugstore) is not to be used for long periods of time. It can thin the skin and exacerbate skin disorders like acne, rosacea, and perioral dermatitis. With mild, progressive peels, this light cosmeceutical formula of Hydrocortisone can sometimes double as a moisturizer and temporarily help hydrate post-peel dry and acne-prone skin.

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I am a medical aesthetician and author of Getting Clear: Everything You Need To Know To Cure Your Acne Quickly, Easily and Naturally. I specialize in chemical peels, microneedling, dermaplaning and microdermabrasion for all skin types, with a focus on acne, aging and ethnic skin.


the perfect peel on black skin

Whilst there have been a lot of myths and misconceptions over the years, the short answer is yes – darker skin tones can have chemical peels, but with caution.

In this article, I will take you through the ins and outs of chemical peeling, different types of peel agents, what skin conditions chemical peels are suitable for and the precautions that you need to follow to ensure a successful skin peel experience.

What is a chemical peel?

Simply put, it’s the application of an acid solution that sloughs off old, scaly, dull and poor performing skin cells to improve the appearance of the skin and hasten skin regeneration.

Why would you need a chemical peel?

Used at its simplest a chemical peel will lift and brighten the tone of your skin. But you can have a chemical peel for any number of reasons – fading age spots, improved texture and smoothing rough skin, fading scarring, hyperpigmentation and imperfections, evening out and unifying your skin tone, tackling early fine lines and wrinkles, rejuvenating ageing skin and reducing outbreaks of spots and acne.

What types of peels are there?

Peels are classified in four levels, starting with superficial peels which target the top layers of skin (epidermis), medium peels affect the dermis and deep peels penetrate right through the dermis.

For most skin concerns, a course of superficial peels is ideal. They have very little down time, the skin heals quickly and it is easier to control the outcome. Medium peels tend to be too aggressive for black skin, whereas deep peels are wholly unsuitable due to the risk of severe scarring.

How to even out your complexion

What types of peels are suitable for black skin?

With so many different types of chemical agents available, it’s important to know something about how they work and what they can be used for. Most peels will have an alpha-hydroxy (AHA) or beta hydroxyl (BHA) base, though sometimes peels agents are used singularly in a pure form or in combination with each other.

Lactic Acid (AHA)

This is a gentle peel derived from soured milk and good for sensitive skin types. Lactic acid is also found naturally in the skin and is a natural humectant, so not only will it remove afore mentioned dullness but it will also help your skin draw and retain moisture, leaving it smooth and plumped out.What is it good for? – Mild skin ageing, early onset wrinkles, mild hyperpigmentation, refining the skin texture, rosacea.

Mandelic Acid (AHA)

This has gentle surface action and is both anti bacterial and anti inflammatory. It is derived from bitter almonds, so nut allergy sufferers beware.What is it good for? – Oily and congested skin, superficial to medium acne, superficial hyperpigmentation.

Salicylic Acid (BHA)

Great for oily and congested skin types. It is a mild anti-inflammatory peel that can deep cleanse pores to remove debris and built up oil. It also contributes to the effective shedding of old skin cells. If you’re allergic to aspirin, then beware of salicylic acid as they are from the same chemical family.What is it good for? – Deep cleansing the skin prior to other peels, controlling oil production, reducing pore size.

Glycolic Acid (AHA)

One of the original chemical peeling solutions made from sugar cane. A highly efficient, high performance work horse for many aestheticians.What is it good for? – Mild to severe ageing skin, loose skin, lines/wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, acne and associated scarring.

Citric Acid (AHA)

Derived particularly from oranges and lemons. It creates a mild peeling effect but is often added to other peels as a gentle booster for its antioxidants, plumping and brightening effects.What is it good for? – Light pigmentation, smoothing and reconditioning skin and brightening.

Precautions for black skin

One of the primary concerns for black skin when having any skin treatments, including peels is the potential to develop Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. That is, instead of clearing the hyperpigmentation the treatment does the opposite and creates more hyperpigmentation, dark marks and scarring.

Therefore, it is important to ensure your skin is properly prepped and primed in the weeks leading up to the peel. This could be in the form of a preparatory peel or using home-care products with similar ingredients to the peel.

It is also important to leave adequate time between treatments to allow skin to heal. Ten to fourteen days is ideal, though some peel treatments can require up to four weeks.

It is also important that a full medical history is disclosed including discussing your propensity to scar. If you’ve suffered from keloid scarring in the past, then peels are not advisable.

Are you applying sunscreen on a daily basis? If you want to have peels, then it is a must to wear sunscreen of at least SPF 30 everyday to prevent further damage to your skin and post treatment inflammation.

chemical peel for hyperpigmentation on dark skin

A friend, family member, or even your dermatologist may recommend a chemical peel to clear up a troublesome skin condition. Chemical peels are cosmetic treatments that are applied to the face and neck to remove damaged skin cells. Your board-certified dermatologist will combine different acids to create a solution suitable for your skin concern. The solution is then applied in a simple procedure. The result is smooth, blemish-free skin, based on the type of peels used.

Chemical peels slough off dead surface skin, so there needs to be care when using the treatment. There’s a common misconception that people with dark skin cannot get chemical peels. It’s understandable since there are some cases of damaged skin and a condition called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots). However, these are the exception and not the norm. In a study, only 4% of African American patients received some unwanted side effects.

It all boils down to the type of peel and your doctor’s experience in dealing with dark skin. At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, we perform hundreds of chemical peels every year, particularly on dark skin. So in this article, we’ll cover the type of chemical peels available and how they can impact Skin Of Color. We’ll also give you some tips to make the process as smooth as possible.

Key uses of peels

Why would you use a chemical peel anyway? There are hundreds, if not thousands of skincare products on the market to deal with almost every skincare concern. So is a peel really necessary? Most skincare products send ingredients to the surface level of your skin. These can work over a long period, but the results may not be as expected. That said, chemical peels treat several conditions, which include:

A chemical peel gives your skin a reset by removing the outermost layer of your skin. Think of a snake shedding its skin, revealing a new, beautiful layer.

Why there’s a major concern with dark skin

People of color, dark skin or the many beautiful shades of brown make up roughly 1/3 of our population. While skin looks different on the outside, the genetic makeup of skin is about the same on the inside.

We all have the same melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin.

However, people of color produce far more melanin at the surface level. Melanin is the compound that determines hair color and skin color. But it also protects the skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.

One significant advantage is that darker skin tones are far more protected from ultraviolet light than lighter skin tones (which could be the reason why many POCs believe that sunscreen is not necessary. Hint, it is.)

On the flip side, dark skin is more likely to react negatively to skin damage with conditions like melasma, hyperpigmentation, textural changes, and much more. In addition, since chemical peels essentially damage and remove layers of skin, there is a belief that you could get an unwanted reaction.

There is also a concern that people of color are not properly represented in the dermatology space. So many would choose to avoid certain procedures due to a lack of experience, taking the ‘better safe than sorry approach.’ There have been significant strides to address this issue. Today, more and more doctors and aestheticians understand how to help darker skin tones. Furthermore, there is a growing contingent of dermatologists of color. Now, your dermatologist would be able to choose the right peel for your skin concern.

Types of chemical peels

Before you get a chemical peel, it’s essential to understand both the types of peels and what’s in your peels. This knowledge will help you to understand what’s happening during your peel and if what your provider is suggesting is right for you. Chemical peels are classified as superficial peels, medium-depth peels, and deep peels.

Your peel will be an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHAs) or a beta-hydroxy acid (BHAs). AHAs are acids derived from plants and animals. At different concentrations, these can exfoliate your skin, brighten your skin, increase blood flow and collagen production. BHAs are oil-based organic compounds that can unclog pores, reduce oil, clear acne, and much more.

Superficial Chemical Peels

Your superficial peels will contain AHAs or a combination of AHAs and BHAs. Glycolic acid and salicylic acids are the most common types of superficial peels. These ingredients are in many skin care products. However, your dermatologist will use a higher concentration in the chemical peel. Other types of superficial peels include tretinoin or Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) between 10% to 30% strength. Some dermatologists may perform a low concentration Jessner’s peel, which is a combination of lactic acid, resorcinol, and salicylic acid.

Medium-depth Peels

Medium peels contain stronger versions of AHAs or BHAs to reach dead skin cells and uneven skin tones. These peels start with stronger TCA, between 35% to 40%. Glycolic acid and Jessner’s solution also work for medium peels at stronger concentrations. Phenol peels, a combination of powerful acids, can also help. This special peel is used at lower concentrations since it’s often reserved for deep peels.

Deep Chemical Peels

These peels help in special cases of severely damaged skin, deep wrinkles, or blotchy skin. Phenol is a popular choice for deep peels. Some deep peels may also comtaIn 50% or higher TCA. These peels require preparation in the weeks before to ensure faster healing and better success.

Here are the best chemical peel for dark skin.

So which one of these peels is best for dark skin? As we mentioned, people of all shades can get chemical peels. Darker skin, pigmented skin, or People of Color need the right peels to effectively tackle their skin concerns while being safe to use.

Superficial peels are the best options for dark skin. Your doctor may first try low levels of glycolic acid and salicylic acid. Studies show glycolic acid and salicylic acid are safe and effective. These, along with retinol and Jessner peels, have the lowest skin complications with the best results. Research shows that TCA peels at 25% and above caused the most damage to dark skin. If your doctor is using TCA peels, it will be likely at a lower concentration to test your sensitivity.

Sensitivities still exist

Even with surface peels, the sensitivity levels vary from person to person. Skin complications are possible with glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or Jessner. Using the lowest concentration first can help the dermatologist gauge your sensitivity to the acid. Over several weeks, your dermatologist will perform three or more peels, slowly increasing the concentration of acids each time. You should see the best results with the lowest chances of side effects using this method.

Medium depth peels must be used with caution.

Medium peels can be used in specific circumstances. Lighter brown skin types, for instance, can see significant improvement in conditions like scarring, melasma, and hyperpigmentation. Like superficial peels, doctors will first try the peel at a lower concentration then increase the potency in future sessions. Darker skin is at significant risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring. Hyperpigmentation and other issues tend to improve after three months with your dermatologist’s help.

Avoid these peels at all costs.

Deep peels or phenol peels should not be used on skin of color. There i a high risk of scarring and hyperpigmentation. If there is deep scarring or skin damage, there are other solutions your dermatologist can use which are both safe and effective. For peels of all types, discuss any concerns you may have. Your doctor will outline the risks and steps needed to address them.

Protecting yourself before and after your peel.

If you have acne, scars, hyperpigmentation, or other skin concerns, you can benefit from a chemical peel. People with dark skin, however, should focus on superficial peels. To minimize the risk and improve the effectiveness of your peel, your doctor will provide some instructions to prepare your skin before your session.

Your dermatologist will prescribe a combination of a skin-lightening agent, including hydroquinone, kojic acid, arbutin and glycolic acid (between 5% and 10%). Sunscreen is vital during this time to protect against further skin damage.

After your chemical peel, you’ll need to do some work too:

Make sure to take enough time between each session for the skin to heal completely.

Chemical peels for dark skin- Choose the right peel for you.

Remember, chemical peels for dark skin are possible. They are safe and effective but only when administered correctly. Superficial peels are best for dark skin. Your dermatologist will gradually increase the concentration of acids to gauge your skin’s sensitivity. If your doctor believes that you need a medium peel, there will be a gradual increase in potency. For the best results with minimum side effects, follow the instructions before and after your chemical peel.

Anyone with dark skin interested in chemical peels should seek out a dermatologist with expertise in treating skin of color. At Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics, our lead dermatologist, Ife Rodney MD, FAAD, is skilled in providing chemical peels on all skin types. As a dermatologist of color, Dr. Rodney understands what you need to get the best results. Feel free to reach out to us to schedule your chemical peel consultation today.

Best chemical peel for asian skin

As beauty aesthetic trends start to take hold in Singapore (a predominantly Asian population), it is important for the Asian community to understand the unique traits that set Asian skin apart from their Caucasian counterparts.

Based on scientific research and studies, here are some ways in which the Asian skin differs from other ethnicities.

5 Unique Characteristics of Asian Skin

1. Asian Skin is More Acne-Prone

Unfortunately, Singapore’s tropical climate (a combination of heat, humidity and intensive UV radiation) inevitably triggers inflammatory acne flare-up, otherwise known as acne tropicana or tropical acne [1,2].

A major environmental factor affecting our skin is ultra-violet radiation.

Ultra-violet radiation has been reported to cause increased oil production by the sebaceous gland, worsening our skin texture, and increasing the number of comedones .

Ultra-violet radiation can also suppress the natural immune response of the skin.

As a consequence, skin natural barrier may be altered and P. acnes, the bacteria that is known to cause acne formation, overcolonize the skin causing flares of acne .

2. Asian Skin Contains More Melanin

In Asian skin, pigment-producing cells are more active.

With increased cellular activity to form melanin, pigmentation forms more easily in Asian skin than their Caucasian counterparts with the same amount of stimulation (e.g. ultra-violet radiation).

This stimulation can also come in the form of inflammatory skin conditions (e.g. acne, eczema or psoriasis), or even external trauma to the skin (e.g cosmetic lasers, chemical peels, energy devices like Thermage, etc)

Susceptible individuals develop a condition called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (i.e. increased melanin production on areas of skin which are “damaged” by treatments or existing skin conditions).

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can last from months to years and may significantly impair the lives of individuals .

3. Asian Skin is More Sensitive

Large scale population studies have demonstrated that self-reported skin sensitivity does not seem to vary across different ethnicities.

However, adverse skin reaction to cosmetics appears to be significantly higher in Asian (33.0%) than in Caucasian subjects (11.3%).

The incidence of retinol sensitivity is also higher in Asians than in Caucasians .

Hence, keep in mind that your aesthetic doctor should take note of skin sensitivity as an important factor when selecting suitable treatments for you.

4. Asian Skin Develops Scarring More Easily

Asian skin in general has darker skin phototypes (Fitzpatrick III and above) as compared to Caucasian skin .

Studies have found that darker skin increases the risk of scar formation and that Asian skin is characterized by increased scar tissue formation and collagen deposition during wound healing .

As a result, Asians are at higher risk of hypertrophic scars like keloids and hyperpigmented scars after skin injury.

5. Asian skin is prone to certain hyperpigmentation conditions

In terms of ageing, the Asian skin has more photoprotective factors against the ultra-violet radiation versus their Caucasian counterparts.

This photoprotection trait, however, results in the skin developing more pigmentation as the individuals’ ages.

Conditions like melasma, sunspots and aged spots are more common. In addition, certain acquired pigmentary conditions tend to be more prevalent in Asians, like Naevus of Ota in East Asians, and pigmentary demarcation lines (PDL) in certain population groups of South Asians.

Because of higher melanin activity in Asian skin, it is also more prone to developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation patches when it experiences any damage.

Recommended Treatment Options For Asian Skin

Treatment of skin problems in Asian skin types can be tricky—eliminating pigmentation as quickly as possible while still reducing the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can prove to be quite difficult.

The treatment protocols for Asian skin must be gentle, and laser settings precise. The treatment program also should be gradual (preferably over a few months).

A well-balanced Q-switched laser program can specifically treat almost all kinds of pigmentations such as aged spots and sunspots, and on various regions in addition to the face (e.g. hands and neck).

At the Ogee Clinic, we employ a combination of in-clinic treatments as well as home-use topical treatment creams for effective results.

Sun avoidance and sun protection (e.g. sunblock) is emphasised to every patient because there is always a risk of recurrence.

Erbium lasers like the Fotona SP Dynamis provide pigmentation reduction, fine line reduction, increased glow, as well as a tighter skin tone.

With the addition of our Pro Yellow Laser, we have a luxurious suite of laser technologies at our disposal that are effective yet gentle to the skin.

Are CO2 Lasers Bad For Asian Skin?

In short, no—it depends on how these lasers are being performed. CO2 laser is an ablative laser, meaning a certain thickness of the skin will be reduced during the laser procedure.

For some skin or aesthetic conditions, an ablative laser protocol is still a preferred treatment method.

In later generations of CO2 lasers, safety and downtime have become much more improved for the patient.

Moreover, the recent development of newer ablative laser technologies like the Fotona Erbium YAG laser allows for similar effectiveness with much-reduced downtime, especially for the Asian skin.

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