Chemical peels for African American skin are skin treatments used to correct skin problems ranging from rough skin to discoloration. Due to the sensitivity of African American skin, it is best to use care when choosing peels and to select them based on the intensity of the problem.
The depth of the problem should, in fact, match the peel; choose the safest peel available to correct the problem. Consult with a dermatologist before treatment and ask questions.
Chemical Peels for African American Skin: Glycolic Acid Peels
A glycolic acid peel is probably the first peel that a dermatologist will consider for your skin. This peel is one of the mildest forms of peels, used for minor or superficial skin conditions, such as rough skin, or skin that is just beginning to show signs of aging. People in their late 20s, 30s, and 40s typically use glycolic peels. Products with glycolic acid are readily available over the counter.
These products are also used to treat hyperpigmentation in African American skin, because the acid removes the outer layer of the skin, and may eventually remove some the pigmentation after several months of use, depending on the product's strength and the length of time that it is allowed to work on the skin. The glycolic acid that dermatologists use may have better results than products that can be bought over the counter.
Salicylic Acid Peels
Peels that use salicylic acid are also common. You will find salicylic acid in acne treatments, because it tends to dry acne. It is also used to treat skin discolorations, and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles when used as a peel. Like glycolic acid, salicylic acid can be applied at home or in a doctor's office, depending on the concentration of the product. The salicylic acid that is sold in stores is a weaker concentration than the formulas that doctors use in chemical peels for African American skin.
In order for any of the concentrations to be effective and to achieve the best results on African American skin (and other skin tones), salicylic acid is typically applied in a series of treatments. When using an over-the-counter treatment at home, apply the product on the entire face and leave it on as indicated in the product's directions. Salicylic acid can dry out your skin, so it is best to consult with a doctor before using it on your own.
Chemical peels that are appropriate for African American skin tend to simply coat the top layers of the skin. These superficial peels are less likely to cause damage. Glycolic peels and salicylic peals are typically two of the mildest forms of peels. They are superficial peels that are usually safer products for black skin. A doctor should apply peels that work deeper than the superficial layers of the skin.
Medium Surface Peels
Medium surface peels are next in line after superficial peels, and they are riskier to use than surface peels. These peels may be used for skin that is moderately wrinkled or with slightly deeper wrinkles from middle age, scarring, or skin with a rougher texture than could be helped with superficial peels.
African Americans should seek a dermatologist who is skilled in working with dark skin tones, because the doctor will be more experienced in successfully using medium surfaced peels on your skin. Medium surface peels can lighten or cause the skin to scar, which may result in hyperpigmentation when the skin heals.
Risky Chemical Peels for African Americans
Deep chemical peels can damage African American skin. Phenol peels are the deepest chemical peel available. These peels are usually used to treat deep wrinkles, scars, or skin that has been severely damaged by the sun. Deep chemical peels essentially damage the skin to some degree, causing it to repair itself, generating healthier looking skin. This process, however, is not recommended for African Americans because deep chemical peels are more likely to result in unsightly damage. Anesthesia, bandages and long healing times are also the norm when doctors treat using phenol peels. Since they work deeply in the skin, doctors put patients to sleep when the peels is applied, and medication may be prescribed to deal with the pain in the weeks that it takes for the skin to heal.
Phenol peels can lighten the skin, and the face will not match the body, because peels are only used on the face. The process can also cause the skin to flake, scar, or darken as it may regenerate darker than its original pigmentation. Phenol peels are rarely used and not repeated during a person's lifetime, unlike glycolic and salicylic acid peels, which are chemical peels for African American skin that can be used regularly.