Should You Consult A Black Dermatologist For Chemical Peels In DC?

black dermatologist for chemical peels
Like any other skin type or tone, people of color experience acne, scarring, hyperpigmentation, and other skin blemishes. While there are different treatment options, chemical peels are a fantastic, long-term solution. Chemical peels have existed for decades and form part of your dermatologist or esthetician’s arsenal. However, there are several misconceptions about chemical peels on black skin. Some patients prefer a black dermatologist for chemical peels in DC for added reassurance. Do you need a dermatologist of color? At Eternal Dermatology, our lead dermatologist, Ife Rodney, MD, FAAD is a dermatologist of color who understands chemical peels and can help people of all skin tones.


What are chemical peels?

Chemical peels are a popular cosmetic treatment used to improve the appearance of the skin. The peel uses one or more special acids applied to the skin, which is then left to work its magic. As the peel is removed, it takes dead skin cells with it, revealing the fresh, new skin underneath.


Chemical peels can treat various skin concerns. There are five common uses for chemical peels:


1. Sun damage

We love spending time outdoors but the sun’s harmful rays can damage our skin. People who spend extensive time in the sun without sunscreen (or without reapplying it ) will notice small patches of skin darker than the others. The overproduction of melanin in these spots to compensate for sun exposure can leave black, brown, red, pink, or great patches on your skin. A chemical peel can remove the layers with this sun damage, revealing the clearer layers beneath.

2. Melasma and other forms of hyperpigmentation

Another form of hyperpigmentation, melasma, is more common among pregnant women. Hormonal changes can affect the skin, causing dark spots to appear. Unfortunately, these can stay well after the baby comes along. A skin injury, infection, or other inflammatory condition can also leave hyperpigmentation marks behind. The right chemical peel can remove these layers of skin with spots, providing a smoother, lighter complexion or removing melasma completely.


3. Wrinkles

Wrinkles are a common sign of aging for everyone. However, it’s often not a reflection of how you feel on the inside. Repeated facial movements and reduced collagen production can cause fine lines and wrinkles to appear. Common locations include the forehead, brow, eyes, and nose. Beneath those wrinkles lies smooth, clear skin that a chemical peel can reveal. Chemical peels work best for mild wrinkles. Moderate to severe wrinkles may benefit from dermal fillers or Botox.


4. Acne scars

Acne is a common occurrence, affecting millions of people, especially teens and postmenopausal women. The papules, pustules, and bumps formed by blocked pores can be distressing. What’s more concerning, however, is the scars that remain for severe forms of acne. Chemical peels can help clear those scars that remained well after you defeated your acne problem.


5. Uneven skin tone

Even if hyperpigmentation or acne is not an issue, you may notice some parts of your face are lighter or darker than others. Uneven skin tone can happen due to dry skin, pollution exposure, poor diet, or plain old genetics. If left untreated, these patches can become larger or be more difficult to treat. You might want to consider a chemical peel for a more gram-worthy look. It can remove those uneven layers, providing you with a smoother, more even texture.



Chemical peels are an effective way to rejuvenate the skin and give it a more youthful appearance. Dermatologists or estheticians often perform chemical peels. Even if you don’t have these immediate skin concerns, chemical peels give your skin a fresh look. Some people try chemical peels to kick off the new year, prepare for an interview, or look fantastic on their wedding day. It also improves the potency of your skincare products like cleansers and serums.


While there are at-home peels, these aren’t nearly as potent as those in your dermatologist’s office. Chemical peels must be done by a professional who can prevent severe scarring, redness, and skin damage.


Peels can be performed at different depths, depending on the desired results. Superficial peels are the most common chemical peel and typically require no downtime. Medium peels target more moderate to severe skin conditions, which may result in some redness and swelling, but this usually subsides within a few days. Deep peels are the most aggressive chemical peel and can result in significant swelling and redness. Deep peels should only be performed by a qualified dermatologist and often require general anesthesia.


Types of chemical peels

Light or superficial peels use alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) like glycolic acid and lactic acid to remove the top layer of skin cells very gently. A light peel can be done right in the dermatologist’s office in less than 30 minutes. The


The second type is a medium chemical peel. This kind of peel uses more substantial percentages of AHAs and BHAs. In some cases, medium peels can use chemicals like trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or phenol. A medium peel removes the top layer of skin, as well as some of the middle layer. These peels can take longer and require detailed care by the patient and doctor.


The third and most profound chemical peel is called a deep chemical peel. Deep peels use even more potent formulations of TCA or phenol. Deep peels remove all three layers of skin: the top layer, the middle layer, and the bottom layer. Deep peels require anesthesia and can take up to two hours. Deep peels are done less often than light or medium peels because they carry more risks. Risks include permanent changes in skin color, scarring, infection, and even damage to other organs like the eyes if the chemicals used get too close to them. Deep peels are not recommended for dark skin.



Can I do a chemical peel at home?

At-home chemical peels are generally considered safe for all skin types. However, professional chemical peels should only be done by an experienced and knowledgeable practitioner who understands how to properly adjust the formulation of peel agents specifically for darker skin tones.


It is also advised that individuals with black skin use lighter concentrations of acid than those used on lighter complexions, as high-strength acids may cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) or permanent discoloration. Most chemical peels occur over multiple sessions over several months. Your dermatologist may recommend 4-5 peels, for instance.  For these reasons, pre-peel skin preparation is a crucial step in the process and must be tailored appropriately to your skin type.


Can people with dark skin get chemical peels?

Chemical peels can be a great way to rejuvenate and retexturize the skin. But if you have black skin, it’s essential to understand how chemical peels work differently on your unique complexion before making this decision. There is a common misconception that people of color should avoid chemical peels. However, with the right formulation, dark skin can benefit from light or medium peels.


Doctors have created specialized solutions that contain lower concentrations of acids than those used on lighter complexions, making them much safer and more suitable for darker skin tones. Additionally, some contain unique ingredients, such as kojic acid, which can help reduce discoloration associated with PIH.


Why you should choose a black dermatologist for chemical peels in DC

Dermatologists of color are uniquely positioned to provide high-quality chemical peels for patients of color. They understand the unique needs of their patients and can tailor each treatment to produce optimal results.


In addition, black dermatologists of color have a deep understanding of the science behind chemical peels and can safely and effectively administer treatments. We are seeing changes in the training of dermatologists; however, most curriculums do not account for dark skin in chemical peels, so there are dermatologists who need to understand the fine details required to use chemical peels on these skin types.


As a result, patients of color who receive chemical peels from black dermatologists can expect to achieve beautiful, healthy skin. At Eternal Dermatology, our lead doctor, Ife Rodney, has extensive training and experience in chemical peels. As a black dermatologist for chemical peels, she understands the unique needs of people of color.


Additionally, some do not receive the care and attention expected in cosmetic treatment. Others have legitimate fears about peels and need an empathetic doctor who can allay these concerns. More importantly, Dr. Rodney focuses on aftercare, which can have a significant impact on your results. We provide the best skincare regimen for your skin after chemical peels so that you can enjoy the results for months.



Are you ready for fresh, new skin?


While chemical peels can generally be safe and beneficial for all skin types when administered correctly, it’s essential to understand how they work differently on black skin before making this decision. With the right preparation and knowledge, chemical peels can be a great way to rejuvenate and retexturize the skin for those with dark complexions. Just be sure not to perform chemical peels at home, even if they claim to be surface peels. Seek advice from your dermatologist first.


If you are looking for a black dermatologist for chemical peels in DC, look no further than Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics. We focus on cosmetic procedures like fillers, Botox, microneedling, chemical peels, and much more. We care about all skin types but have specific knowledge of darker skin tones. Dr. Rodney is one of the leading dermatologists of color in the DMV area. Our state-of-the-art facility serves patients in Howard County, Fulton, Maryland, Baltimore, and its surroundings. Don’t be afraid to try a chemical peel. Schedule a session with us, we will ensure that you leave with a new lease on life.



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