Chemical Peels… What Are They? Can I Get One? Should I Get One? (Black & Brown Skin Edition)

Chemical Peels… What Are They? Can I Get One? Should I Get One? (Black & Brown Skin Edition)

It all started with a chemical burn… 

Wow… It’s still scary to even type it out. My now client of 4 years came to me for the first time with a chemical burn on her face. I lunged back in my saddle stool with my mouth fully agape!!

I had never seen this type of burn in person— only in textbooks. I wanted to know who did this to her but refrained from even asking, instead I spent the entire appointment educating her on what went wrong and what I will do differently from this point on.Let me back it up a bit— the chemical burn was caused by a professional chemical peel gone wrong. After further investigation I found out that she had went somewhere that did not specialize in Black skin. Now, before you go thinking that this speciality is not necessary and that ALL Estheticians can do ALL skin let me educate you real quick…

Most Esthetics Education in PA caps at 300 hours—

PA300
GA1000
NY600
NC600
VA600
MD600
Surrounding States Esthetic Education Compared to PA

Of those 300 hours, any where from 0-10 hours are spent teaching the proper way to chemically exfoliate skin; of those hours, less than 1 hour is spent breaking down how black skin should be chemically exfoliated. Whew!!! The disaster— and ultimately the failure of our state regulated esthetics industry in Pennsylvania. (Whew…I digress) 

This year will mark the first year that most of all infants being born in the US will be multicultural. What does this mean for us? Well, it means that most of the skin that we service will be “tanish” at least and fully black/brown at most. This also means diving deeper into people’s genetic makeup will be super important. 

Now, lets get back to my own experience with this miseducation I am referring to. You see I received my training in Atlanta, GA from The Elaine Sterling Institute. Two things served me extremely well there:

  1. Georgia requires 1000 hours of training to be considered an esthetician almost triple the amount of PA
  2. Atlanta is a chocolate city— meaning most people are black. This means that the education not only reflected that, the licensed professionals teaching me had personal case studies of Black skin— and had no problem sharing these with the students. Yes, my hands on and book knowledge was centered around the understanding of all skin but specifically of Black & brown skin.

Upon learning more about the process my new client went through to receive these battle wounds, I could point out immediately what went wrong based on my superior education. 

And here it is…

  • No Prep
    • Higher Fitzpatricks require preparation when it comes to chemicals— in other words you CANNOT just slap a level 3 peel on a dark skinned client and not expect for that peel to actually cause reversed melasma. It may look all fun and dandy to see that skin peeling off but give it 3 months and I guarantee you will be darker than you first were. This is because your skin was shocked and wasn’t ready for that extreme amount desquamation without implementing mild acids to build up tolerance & the overall health of the skin.
    • Pro Tip: Try using a toner with 5-10% AHA in it for at least 2 months before going to get a peel. Discontinue use of this toner 1 week before and after the peel
There She Glows 5% AHA Toner 2 oz $18.99 (sooooo worth it)
  • Warped Expectations;
    • I love y’all (clients) but y’all don’t have the education about your skin that you think you do. Google ain’t it and YouTube Influencers are a mahfuggin lie. When client’s come in screaming for a chemical peel they typically are the least appropriate candidates for said chemical peel. The reasoning behind this is because these clients are typically doing THEE MOST at home.
    • These type of clients usually are using every acid, have every spot corrector known to man, swim in retinol, and wake up looking for things they can buy at Sephora to further sensitize their skin. They think chemical peel and their mind instantly goes to Sam from Sex & The City— a mess. They want to shed skin and lots of it! This is not ideal for most people nor is it necessary to get good results.
    • Pro tip: lower your peeling exceptions; it took you years to create the damage why would you expect to get rid of it in 7 days?? And what ever you do, do not google chemical peel— it will scare you for no reason. 
  • Wrong Home Care;
    • If you think Cetaphil is going to be sufficient enough as a post peel regimen for black skin, exit my blog right the hell now! (I’m kidding but not really) Black & Brown skin tends to dry out but still have an oily overcast after a chemical peel. This is why it’s important to have an oil based product that is also water soluble involved in your post peel home care regimen ie an oil cleanser. Thank me now!
    • Pro tip: My all time fav oil cleanser is tagged below…
There She Glows Facial Cleansing Oil 2oz $18.99

In conclusion…

It is best if you find an Esthetician that has studied Black & Brown skin. This does not mean that they themselves need to be Black or Brown. Like I said, most estheticians do not get this type of training including Black & Brown Estheticians. This knowledge has to be sought after and attained after the minimal schooling required. Before you choose the Esthetician for you: ask for a certificate, class credits, testimonials, and before and after pictures, ALWAYS!!! Or simply book your appointment at There She Glows.

Blessings Glow Gang! ❤️✨

Signed, Diary of a FemmE•sthetican aka Miss There She Glows

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