The “Weekend Peel”: Does It Help Or Hurt Black Skin?
(BlackDoctor.org) — You may have heard of a procedure called the “weekend peel” and you may even find that your skincare specialist is offering it instead of other skin resurfacing procedures that you are familiar with. Formally known as a micro laser peel, this procedure is one that is becoming more popular among people who would otherwise get light chemical peels or microdermabrasion.
Micro laser peels involve using a laser to remove the outer layer of skin. This procedure is touted for its ability to produce significant visible results in just days. The condition of a person’s skin may continue to improve for months afterward because it is believed to promote increased collagen production.
Micro laser peels are considered better than light chemical peels and microdermabrasion for a number of reasons. Those procedures often require serial treatments in return for results that people consider unimpressive or unworthy of the costs. It differs from more intense laser resurfacing techniques because it tends to have drastically shorter healing times and fewer and less harsh side effects.
With the weekend peel, treatment can be tailored to meet each person’s needs. Some are as mild as a low concentration glycolic peel and others are full epidermal peels.
Usually, the skin care specialist works with each patient to determine her goals. Then, the professional decides how aggressive the treatment needs to be and the number of treatments that are required. Some people only have to undergo a single weekend peel in a year.
Wrinkles, sun damage and acne scarring are some of the issues that this procedure is used to correct. It is also used by those who are simply looking to improve the tone and texture of their skin.
In addition to the ability to personalize the treatment, skin care professionals often recommend this procedure because they say it can be executed more precisely and the outcome is more predictable. Many report that the results are more satisfying to their clients, most of whom experience limited swelling, redness, and sloughing. Moreover, the results can generally be seen in days.
Some people experience pain that may last a day or two and can usually be addressed with over-the-counter pain relievers. There may be some redness, tightness or itching throughout the second day. For the first 48 hours, care will likely involve cleaning the face with water that has been boiled with salt and applying Vaseline or cream.
By the third day, visible signs, if still present, may be easily hid with makeup. Day four often marks the end of the healing process. Then, the extent of after procedure care is usually ensuring that moisturizer and sunscreen are applied regularly and that unnecessary sun exposure is avoided.
With swift results and virtually no major side effects, micro laser peels are often presented as if there is virtually no reason to second guess the procedure. But, for African-Americans a bit of caution is warranted.
You will be hard pressed to find research assuring the safety of this procedure for those with darker skin tones. Actually, colored skin is (or should be) a special consideration for those providing any sort of laser treatments and micro laser peels are not an exception.
Individuals with colored skin face an increased risk of uneven darkening when undergoing this procedure. Since this is quite opposite of the results that most people are looking for, it should be given some serious thought.
To help address the risk of hyperpigmentation, people of color are often ordered to apply skin lightening creams before and after the procedure. Some may feel comfortable with this and others may view it is a red flag. All should be aware that this is more of an industry standard than a measure that is medically supported.
Usually, those who suffer from herpes are advised to take additional precautions. It is common for people with the virus to be instructed to take medication to suppress the virus ahead of the procedure. Otherwise, they face increased risks of an outbreak.
Micro laser peels are also generally deemed inappropriate for people who are pregnant or some who have a history of keloid scarring.