Chemical Peels and Dark Skin
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How is a chemical peel different for dark skin?
A chemical peel is a process in which an acidic solution is applied to the skin, removing the surface layer which eventually peels off. This usually results in smoother, firmer skin with fewer wrinkles. In some cases, especially after deep peels, the skin is lightened. Skin lightening is a common concern for darker-complexioned patients who worry that they may not be the best candidate for chemical peel treatments. Ethnic darker skinned patients are able to have chemical peels as long as they are aware of the uniqueness of their skin chemistry and consult with a physician to determine which type of peel is right for them.
Chemical peels are divided into three categories: light, medium, and deep. Light and medium peels are used for smoothing minor wrinkles and correcting slight skin discolorations. Deep peels smooth deep wrinkles and may also permanently remove freckles. They are not suitable for darker-skinned patients. Today, most deeper chemical peels have been replaced with safer, more effective laser treatments.
Another problem darker-skinned patients face is the risk of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) in the areas where they received the peel. Hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase in melanin in areas of the skin that the body believes are injured. Patients should consult with their doctor about what preventative measures can be taken before and after the peel to avoid side-effects.
When considering a chemical or laser peel, darker-skinned patients should have realistic expectations about the results of the procedure. It is essential to seek out a physician who is experienced with performing chemical peels on ethnic patients. He or she should be able to articulate how and why a certain peel should be performed based on your skin type. The physician should also instruct you in after-peel care to avoid the common problems associated with dark skin.
For more information or a consultation for a chemical peel, schedule an appointment with renowned dermatologist and laser specialist Dr. David Goldberg of Skin Laser and Surgery Specialists of NY & NJ at (646) 461-8550 in New York, (201) 299-4521 in Hackensack, or (908) 360-1474.