The Dos and Don’ts of Chemical Peels for Darker Skin Tones

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For those of us with skin of color, whether we be clients or estheticians, we’re all too familiar with the horror stories that have been trending on Instagram and other social media platforms about chemical peel mishaps. There have been several notable cases in particular, where individuals with skin of color, have experienced significant damage to their skin due to a chemical peel gone wrong.

And, many of the estheticians listed on our directory, have done amazing videos, on their social media accounts, about the do’s and don’ts of chemical peels for darker skin tones.

As skincare lovers and consumers, we must take extra precautions before undergoing any type of cosmetic procedure or treatment involving chemicals such as peels or dermabrasions especially if you possess deeply melanated complexions. Make sure to ask your Esthetician detailed and specific questions regarding their experience working with skin of color or individuals who share similar pigmentation levels as yours before you choose to do a chemical treatment. Doing so will help to ensure that you protect your skin and avoid any potentially disastrous outcomes like the ones we see trending on social media.

First, let’s start with the basics. What is a chemical peel? A chemical peel is a treatment that uses a combination of various acids to deeply slough off and remove dead skin cells in order to stimulate fresh new skin, the result of new cell growth. Chemical peels can improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and they can also even out your skin tone. But, it’s important to remember, as popular and amazing as chemical peels are, and the great benefits they offer, as with any beauty treatment, there are risks involved, hence the reason why we’re writing this article and highlighting what has been trending in the news. So, for those of us with darker skin tones, there are some very specific things to keep in mind.

One of the top mishaps involving chemical peels that has been trending is what is called: we’ve post-peel hyperpigmentation. This is when the skin becomes darker in certain areas after a chemical peel. Post-peel hyperpigmentation can happen if the peel is too strong or if, for instance, the skin is not properly prepared prior to the chemical peel treatment. There is an entire process that needs to be taken into account, respected and followed in order to maintain the health and integrity of your skin.

So, if you’re thinking of getting a chemical peel, how can you prevent any adverse reactions from happening to you?

First and foremost, don’t order chemical peels online and think you’re skilled at applying them yourself. When you do decide you want a chemical peel, consult with a licensed Esthetician who will then let you know whether you’re a good candidate for the specific treatment. Yes, the Esthetician will tell you, not the other way around, on what is best for your skin. Again, it’s important to choose a licensed Esthetician who has experience working with melanated skin.

Before any appointments for a chemical peel, your Esthetician will guide you on how you should prepare your skin. Generally she/he will suggest you avoid using any exfoliating products or treatments for at least a week before your peel, but it is extremely important to make sure to ask your Esthetician if there are specific guidelines and suggestions they have for you first.

Once your skin is properly prepped for the chemical peel treatment and you’ve gotten the okay from your Esthetician, here’s what you need to consider . . .

During the treatment, make sure you stay alert and pay attention to how your skin feels. If you experience any discomfort or burning, let your Esthetician know immediately. Your Esthetician will tell you what is happening and what you should expect. If you feel like your Esthetician is not listening to you, you can stop the treatment and ask to speak to a manager. In severe and rare cases, if burning is unbearable and you see visible signs of damage to your skin, leave and seek medical help as soon as possible.

Chemical peels can be an amazing way to improve your skin’s appearance and as someone with melanated skin, it’s important to take extra precautions and be informed.

And, be prepared for some downtime afterwards – you may need to avoid wearing makeup or going out in the sun for a few days.

Here are a few key questions to ask an esthetician before deciding on a chemical peel:

  1. Am I a good candidate for a chemical peel?
  2. What kind and strength level of chemical will be used?
  3. What are the potential risks or side effects associated with chemical peels for clients with skin of color?
  4. How long have you treated clients with similar complexions to my own? And, do you have before/after photos of clients who have had this treatment?
  5. Are there any risks associated with the treatment I am considering?
  6. How can I prepare my skin for a chemical peel to minimize the risk of adverse reactions?
  7. What measures will be taken to prevent any unwanted side effects?
  8. What is the recommended aftercare plan for my skin type after a chemical peel?
  9. How many sessions of chemical peels will I require to see the desired results?
Author: Tiffany

Tiffany is a licensed esthetician and the Founder of SpaSho.

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