Dark skin tones and chemical peels – what you need to know

Dark skin tones and chemical peels – what you need to know
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dark skin tones treatmentsDark skin comes with its own characteristics and tendencies, with pigmentation being a major cause of dermatologist visits. There are some misconceptions regarding chemical peels in dark skin, which can be used with great success for pigmentation problems – an issue dark skin is prone to.

Pigmentation in darker skin 

Pigmentation is an issue for many people, with darkening (melasma), lightening, and loss of pigment (vitiligo). It’s not that these issues are necessarily less common in lighter-skinned folks, but they are simply more obvious on darker skin.


Melasma is a condition whereby grey-brown patches of pigment appear on the skin. This is more pronounced in darker skins, because there is more melanin available. Read more about reducing the appearance of melasma.


Vitiligo is a skin condition whereby there is a loss of pigment in patches, which is much more obvious on darker skin because the contrast is greater. This occurs on pale skin too, but you can’t see it as easily. Vitiligo is associated with autoimmune conditions, though it may appear on its own.

Post-inflammatory pigmentation

Dark spots appear on the skin after damage or trauma to the skin. It is more pronounced in dark skin due to extra melanin.

Sun-damage hyperpigmentation

Sun damage can cause hyperpigmentation of the skin, and dark-skinned people do – despite popular belief – need to protect their skin from UV rays with sunscreen.

Chemical peels

Chemical peels on darker skin are performed slightly differently to paler skin types, with an experienced dermatologist knowing how to treat darker skin correctly to avoid issues.

There has been long-running misunderstandings about darker skins and chemical peels, believing that burning or post-inflammatory pigmentation could become a problem, but done properly, chemical peels on darker skin types are a great tool.

Chemical peels can increase collagen production, reduce pore size, reduce excess oils on the skin’s surface, and reduce visible signs of ageing. Chemical peels can also solve or manage some pigmentation problems.

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Please Note:

*With all surgeries or procedures, there are risks. Consult your physician (GP) before undertaking any surgical or cosmetic procedure. Please read the consent forms carefully and be informed about every aspect of your treatment. Surgeries such as liposuction have a mandatory seven-day cooling-off period to give patients adequate time to be sure of their surgery choice. Results may also vary from person to person due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise. Before and after photos are only relevant to the patient in the photo and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience. Ask questions. Our team of dermatologists, doctors and nurses are here to help you with any of your queries. This page is not advice and is intended to be informational only. We endeavour to keep all our information up to date; however, this site is intended as a guide and not a definitive information portal or in any way constitutes medical advice.

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