Doctors give nod to chemical peels on darker skin

18 March 2018 - 00:01 By DAVE CHAMBERS
Chemical peels are used to treat acne, premature ageing, and dark or light spots on the skin.
Chemical peels are used to treat acne, premature ageing, and dark or light spots on the skin.
Image: 123RF/rido

Chemical peels are safe for people with dark skin, say dermatologists.

Dark-skinned people who have peels experience unwanted side-effects only 4% of the time, according to research at Boston Medical Center in the US.

Reporting their findings in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the doctors said they also observed a lower rate of side-effects compared to previous studies that included all skin types.

Chemical peels are used to treat acne, premature ageing, and dark or light spots on the skin.

Side-effects include swelling, crusting, reddening, acne and pigmentation changes.

Researchers in Boston followed 132 patients with darker skin who received a total of 473 chemical peels. The same dermatologist performed all the peels, each of which was applied all at once, rather than on sections of the skin.

Eighteen participants experienced side-effects, the most common being crusting, dark spots and reddening.

The side-effects lasted an average of four-and-a-half weeks.

"These findings should give some assurances to people with darker skin who are considering getting a chemical peel," said lead researcher Neelam Vashi.

"People with darker skin have long been under-represented in dermatological research, and it's important to make sure we know how safe and effective these treatments are for them."

The study also found that side-effects were least likely to occur in winter, which could be attributed to limited sun exposure.

People with the darkest skin tones were most likely to experience side-effects and complications.


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