Best Chemical Peels for African American Skin?

I am African American and have dark blotchy areas on my face due to acne. What peels are recommended for African American skin?

Also, can chemical peels be used on other parts of the body such as the back?

Doctor Answers 8

Chemical peel for african american skin

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It is so important to talk with your physician about what your concerns and goals are.  There are multiple chemical peels out there and it depends on your skin sensitivity, your goals (acne scars, dark spots, wrinkles, texture, brightening, glowing) that targets which type of peel is the best for your.  Make sure your physician not only understands your skin type but also the amount of downtime you can allow for the procedure. 

Nikki D. Hill, MD

Tucker Dermatologic Surgeon

Chemical peels for African-American skin

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I would only recommend light chemical peels such as salicylic acid 20% or Jessner solution, possibly 10% TCA. A series of these peels at 3-4 week intervals can improve acne as well as some of the pigmentation.

Certainly peeling agents can be applied on other parts of the body but again, only light peeling agents.

Even light peels can cause temporary pigmentary issues (usually darkening of skin) in ethnic skin. Hope this helps.

Good luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

Peels for African American Skin

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Particularly our patented Alpha Beta Peel, which is gentle—yet effective enough—to be used on every patient’s skin. Sometimes, deeper peels can cause skin to become lighter (or darker in some fair-skinned patients)— that's why it’s critical to go to a highly trained board-certified dermatologist to administer a deeper peel.

You can absolutely use chemical peels on other parts of your body, including the back!

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Chemical Peels for African American skin

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THis can be complex as darker skin tones are much more likely to have potential complications, particularly post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This can occur even with pretreatment of the skin. i would recommend starting off with a superficial peel to see how your skin tolerates this. You will likely require multiple rounds to get desired effect but you should be able to minimize possibility of side effects with this. If you do choose a medium depth peel, I would make sure you use some form of pretreatment of the skin with a bleaching agent such as hydroquinone and also choose a clinician that has significant experience with this type of peel in darker skin tones. Hope this helps!

Sapna A. Patel, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Best chemical peels for African American skin

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You have a number of excellent choices including salicylic acid, glycolic acid, Jessner's and Vi peels are all great choices. Make sure that you go to a qualified professional who is experienced in treating ethnic skin.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist

Light peels best

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Light chemical peeling with 10% TCA, 20-30% Salicylic acid, or 15-30% glycolic acid can be safely used, as can SilkPeel, a form of microdermabrasion. The peels should be done by a dermatologist very familiar with the pre- and post-peel protocols that will reduce the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Mary P. Lupo, MD
New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Try ViPeel for peeling African American skin

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You may want to look into the ViPeel. It works well in people of color. Be careful to ensure that whomever you use or whatever peel you go with, that you have a competent person working on you.

Chemical peels for african american skin

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I find African American skin responds well to both glycolic and salicylic acid peels. One peel unfortunately is not enough to see optimal results. It takes about 4-6 peels to achieve best results and can even out discoloration and give a healthy glow to skin.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.