Chemical peeling in ethnic/dark skin

Dermatol Ther. 2004;17(2):196-205. doi: 10.1111/j.1396-0296.2004.04020.x.

Abstract

Chemical peeling for skin of color arose in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and other ancient cultures in and around Africa. Our current fund of medical knowledge regarding chemical peeling is a result of centuries of experience and research. The list of agents for chemical peeling is extensive. In ethnic skin, our efforts are focused on superficial and medium-depth peeling agents and techniques. Indications for chemical peeling in darker skin include acne vulgaris, postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, melasma, scarring, photodamage, and pseudofolliculitis barbae. Careful selection of patients for chemical peeling should involve not only identification of Fitzpatrick skin type, but also determining ethnicity. Different ethnicities may respond unpredictably to chemical peeling regardless of skin phenotype. Familiarity with the properties each peeling agent used is critical. New techniques discussed for chemical peeling include spot peeling for postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and combination peels for acne and photodamage. Single- or combination-agent chemical peels are shown to be efficacious and safe. In conclusion, chemical peeling is a treatment of choice for numerous pigmentary and scarring disorders arising in dark skin tones. Familiarity with new peeling agents and techniques will lead to successful outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemexfoliation / methods*
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Folliculitis / genetics
  • Folliculitis / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / genetics
  • Hyperpigmentation / surgery*