Which Facial Peels Are Safe and Approved for Darker Skin?

There are many facial peels available on the market, however, not all facial peels are created equally. For those with darker skin tones, there needs to be some more careful consideration into which facial peels are suitable and the possible side effects on the skin. In this blog, I will discuss the types of facial peels which are available for darker skin tones and what results you can expect with a course of treatment.

Types of facial peels

There are three different types of skin peels. The first is known as a superficial peel in which the chemical acid used is an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid). These are mild peels which gently exfoliate the outermost layer of the skin, and thus are a great option for those dealing with uneven skin texture and tone.

The second type of facial peel is a medium peel which includes ingredients such as glycolic and trichloroacetic acid. This peel is slightly more aggressive than the superficial peel in that it penetrates the outer and middle layers of the skin. Thus, a medium peel is a great chemical peel for pigmentation and more severe scarring, due to its ability to penetrate deeper into the dermis layer of the skin barrier.

The third type of facial peel is a deep peel which penetrates past the middle, dermis layer of the skin and is the strongest peel. With a deep chemical peel, the side effects such as redness, sensitivity and excessive peeling are more likely, however a deep peel is most effective for those looking to remove significantly damaged skin cells etc from extensive sun exposure, wrinkles and acne scarring.

glycolic acid facial peel offers a higher percentage of glycolic acid

Explanation of facial peel and its benefits

According to the NHS, a chemical peel is a solution that is applied to the face with the intent of shedding dead skin cells, oils, bacteria and encourages new skin to grow. The benefits of facial peel can depend on the specific chemical peel you opt for. However, generally the benefit of a facial peel is it evens out skin tone, whether that be through lightening acne scarring or hyperpigmentation, shedding previous sun damage, fine lines or wrinkles, or decongesting the skin and calming breakout inflammation on the skin.

Dermoi facial peel for acne - before and after results

There are different chemical peels for different tones of skin? Is facial peel safe for dark skin?

As mentioned above there are three different types of chemical peels and although they are not different depending on your skin type, some are not suitable for those with darker skin tones. Superficial peels are ideal for all skin types, this is due to the fact they are less potent and do not penetrate deeper into the skin like medium and deep chemical peels. Medium and deep peels are not recommended for dark skin tones due to the fact that, with higher amounts of melanin, the skin is more likely to hyperpigmented and scar as a consequence of treatment. This in turn can exacerbate the issue you are trying to resolve.

Therefore, facial peels are safe for dark skin, but you should stick to superficial chemical peels which work to exfoliate the epidermis, top layer of the skin. Opting for harsher, more potent peels such as medium or deep peels can cause more harm than good for dark skin. Before going ahead with any facial treatment, it is important to discuss with your skin care specialist or dermatologist about which peels, and the types of peels are available so that you can make an informed choice which maximizes skin benefits short term and protects your skin long term.

Additionally, there are chemical peels for home use sold in the drugstore, but it is recommended to consult with a skin care specialist before going ahead and purchasing/using one for those with dark skin. This is due to the fact that as dark skin is more prone to sensitivity and hyperpigmentation from chemical peel, more precautions need to be taken to protect the skin.


Which chemical peel is best for dark skin?

Retinol is an ingredient which is safe to use for dark skin. Therefore, the best chemical peel for acne is the Osmosis Acne Healing Treatment. This facial contains 2% Vitamin A, a form of retinol, which is known for its benefits such as increasing cell turnover, sloughing off dead skin cells, bacteria and dirt (thus reclogging the pores to stop future breakouts in their tracks). In this manner, this treatment reduces present inflammation on the skin through exfoliation and evening out skin tone and discoloration which can appear with acne breakouts and post-acne, most frequently in the form of hyperpigmentation which is more common in those with more melanin.

Retinol in the form of 2% Vitamin A is also known for its ability to boost collagen production as well as promote cell renewal and therefore this is also a great chemical peel for anti-ageing if you see signs of wrinkles, crow’s feet etc., then a course of this treatment may provide benefits such as less visible wrinkles, brightening of skin tone and reducing signs of sun damage.

facial treatments

Can chemical peel make skin darker?

Yes, chemical peels can make the skin darker and therefore this is also why more care and consideration need to be taken for those with darker skin tones. A chemical peel can cause skin to become darker, to hyperpigmented and lighter, to hypopigmented.

facial treatments skincare

What is the strongest facial peel?

There are an array of chemical facial peels offered at dermoi!, and with a variety of treatments available, treatment can be tailored to your specific skin care needs. The strongest facial peel is the PCA skin peel. This chemical peel also begins with a facial skin analysis; therefore the aestheticians can look deeper into your skin and analyses the skin’s condition and tailor the treatment to you. This makes it the strongest peel, or perhaps more aptly, most effective, not only for its potent ingredients effective at targeting uneven skin texture and tone but also its ability to cater specifically to your individualized concerns.

The treatment contains a mandelic peel as well as a 10% advanced retinoid booster. Through the mandelic peel, the treatment exfoliates and targets the top epidermis layer, declogging the pores of any oil, dirt and dead skin which may have built up and caused inflammations and breakouts on the skin. Additionally, mandelic acid, through removing dead skin cells, promotes the growth of brighter, fresher skin, smoothing your overall complexion. The 10% retinoid booster can aid in boosting collagen production and encourage blood flow to the face, improving the tone and colour of the face. Given the fact that retinoids are boasted as being a great addition to the skincare routine for those looking to improve texture, tone and fine lines, this treatment is a potent force for healing texture issues that are immediate issues on the skin’s surface whilst working to produce longer term benefits such as a more youthful, even-toned complexion.

Acne facial treatment - osmosis acne healing facial

How many chemical peels do you need to see results?

Some people can see results directly after one treatment so for example those dealing with acne scarring may see the appearance of scars or discolouration slightly lightened or reduced. As is possible for someone opting for an acne facial peel, who may experience less persistent breakouts or a less inflamed appearance of the skin after just one session. This can also depend on the severity of the condition you are dealing with, as for example deeper, pitted acne scars may require more treatment than superficial discolouration. However for optimal results, a course of three to six treatments is recommended to see full results. It is best to discuss with your dermatologist or skin care adviser who will be able to advise a treatment plan and how mild or severe the condition is, in order to find the best skin peeling treatment for you.

skincare exfoliate

Can you wear makeup after a chemical peel?

It is generally recommended to wait around seven to ten days after a chemical skin peel to wear makeup. However, every individual’s recovery rate is different and the intensity of the peel can affect the amount of time to let your skin breathe and heal before applying makeup again. If you have sensitive skin, then your dermatologist or skin care specialist may recommend waiting up to fourteen days before wearing makeup. This time is left to allow the skin peeling on the face which can take up to five days. Thereafter, it is also important to allow the skin to fully heal, shed excess skin and breathe before applying heavier products to the skin’s surface.

In this blog we have explored facial peels and which ones are most suitable for darker skin tones. Hopefully this has provided some useful information for you to make an informed choice on what treatments you wish to go ahead with and also another gentle reminder to the skincare world, that more inclusive treatments and products need to be made.


Author: Katherine Nagato