I have a yellow/tan complexion (similar to Beyonce's), and I'd like to find out what peels are safe for me. I've searched for a long time for this answer and can't find the true answer (for example, some sites say TCA can be used, then some sites say TCA is not for non-white skin). Thank you for your answers!
What Peels Are Safe for African-American Skin?
Doctor Answers 17
TCA can be risky for African-American skin.
I would start with a salicylic acid peel (20%) or Jessner's peel. These solutions tend to be less problematic for African-American skin. TCA peels in ethnic skin should be used with caution and I would not go higher than 10% TCA. If I was going to use TCA on African-American skin, I would probably do a small test spot and follow up in 1 month to ensure that it did not cause a pigmentary problem.
Peels for African American Skin
The issue with darker skin is not whether you can or cannot have a peel; the issue is how aggressive that peel is. That is, the more aggressive the peel the more likely you will have post-treatment hyperpigmentation. For example, a high strength TCA peel would not be for you, but a very low strength TCA peel or even a light glycolic peel could be used on your skin.
Benefits of Chemical Peels
Almost everyone can benefit from chemical peels. You are no exception. The most important thing to do is to find a dermatologist who has extensive experience with chemical peels so that they know how best to treat your skin. I am from Miami originally and I can tell you there are a large number of very well-trained dermatologists there. Please avoid the med-spas and non-dermatologist/plastic surgeon providers!
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Chemical peels safe for African American skin
There are a number of types of peels that can be performed safely and with excellent results on brown skin. The type of peel you get will depend on your problem, More importantly have your peel done by a licensed professional who is experienced doing chemical peels on brown skin. Steer clear of full phenol peels. Only have a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon do a TCA peel on you.
The depth of the peel should be matched to the depth of the problem you are trying to correct
The type of peel appropriate for you depends upon what condition you are trying to improve. For a peel to work you need to match the depth of the peel to the depth of the problem. It is true that in darkly pigmented skin caution must be exercised with chemical peeling. A good initial peel to try is a Jessner's peel. This is an intra-epithelial peel. It would correct texture problems and make the skin smoother. You may also consider a treatment like microdermbrasion. Exercise caution and start slowly would be my best advice.
In the medical community, we use what is called a Fitzpatrick scale. It is used to determine melanocyte (the cells that produce color) activity in the skin. For those patients that are a Fitzpatrick 1-3, most chemicals are an option, providing all other criteria is met. Once you reach a Fitzpatrick 4, caution must be exercised. Generally speaking, inflammation can equal hyper-pigmentation, or brown spots. Even worse, there is the possibility of hypo-pigmentation, or loss of color. TCA solution would be taking a chance or risky, depending on where you fall in that scale of 4 or more. There are other chemicals or treatments (like microneedling) that are safer and more effective, depending on what your goals are.
Chemical peels for african american skin
There are different strengths of every type of chemical peel. TCA peels can be great for african american skin but depends on teh strength and what it's treating. When you speak with your physician they can decide which strength and which type of chemical peel is appropriate for your skin type and targets the reason you are requesting a peel.
Nikki D. Hill, MD
Chemical Peels for African American Skin
I have many patients with dark skin and the TCA peels that I perform in my office combined with specially formulated products such as those with Vitamin C and retinoids give beautiful results without any risk of depigmentation or hyper pigmentation. Be sure to consult a specialist who understands that darker complexion skin is more sensitive and needs proper treatment. Best, Dr. Green