Imagine seeing improvement in pigment, wrinkles and scars with one simple treatment - a chemical peel!
Chemical peels can in fact do that to a large extent. They don’t remove all skin imperfections, but they reveal visibly younger, smoother, and brighter skin after one or a series of treatments.
The effectiveness of a chemical peel depends on the type of peel, its intensity, and how well you treat your skin after the procedure.
Read our article on chemical peel types to choose the right peel for your skin issue.
Today we’ll help you understand the importance of adequate chemical peel aftercare and give you general tips on what to do and what to avoid after a chemical peel.
Chemical Peel Aftercare: 11 Dos and Don’ts
Chemical peels are customized for each patient depending on their skin type and skin concern. The treatments vary in intensity and depth of penetration, resulting in different aftercare recommendations for each patient.
Your medical provider will explain how to treat your skin post-treatment to help it heal safely and to maximize the effects of the procedure.
The following tips are universal and apply to all chemical peel patients.
Dos: 5 Things to Do After a Chemical Peel
1. Listen to Your Chemical Peel Provider
Choose a board-certified medical professional for the treatment because chemical peels use acid solutions to penetrate the skin. It requires medical knowledge and experience. To ensure the safety of the treatment, follow your medical provider’s instructions on how to care for your skin after the treatment. They know best what’s been done to your skin and how to ensure the effectiveness of the chemical peel.
2. Wash Your Skin with Lukewarm Water
The skin is very sensitive after a chemical peel. Cold or hot water may feel uncomfortable and aggravate your skin. To avoid any skin irritation, use cool or lukewarm water when you rinse your face.
3. Use Sunscreen
Resurfaced skin after a chemical peel is more sensitive to UV rays. If you expose it to the sun, it may cause inflammation. Sunscreen is always an essential skincare product, but is a must after a chemical peel because it protects the skin while its natural skin barrier is still weak. Make sure you use it whenever you go outside or spend time near a window.
We recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Elta MD UV Pure is a great choice for patients after a chemical peel treatment because it checks all the boxes as a highly protective sun-blocking product for all skin types, including sensitive.
4. Use Gentle Skincare Products
In line with the above recommendations, use skincare products that won’t irritate and additionally dry out your sensitive skin. Go for soap-free cleansers and water-based moisturizers without harsh ingredients. Avoid retinol, exfoliating agents, and other abrasive components.
Your medical provider may recommend a gentle cleanser and moisturizer to use after the treatment to ensure your skin stays clean and well hydrated. The Vibrant Skin Bar team suggests SkinMedica’s Facial Cleanser because it doesn’t strip the face of its natural oils. The cleanser’s soothing and calming properties are suitable for all skin types.
Skin is dryer than usual after a chemical peel, and you need to hydrate it. Your medical provider may recommend a heavy-duty ointment after a deep peel. After light or medium peels, Replenish Hydrating Cream is a great choice because it thoroughly hydrates and soothes sensitive skin.
A moisturizer improves your skin’s natural protective barrier. Apply it several times a day or whenever your skin feels tight and you need to soften it to ease the discomfort. If you feel that you need extra hydration, look for gentle hydrating mists that you can spray on your face throughout the day without applying pressure on the skin. Osmosis MD Infuse Nutrient Activating Mist restores moisture while fortifying your skins natural barrier with antioxidants.
Don’ts: 6 Things to Avoid After a Chemical Peel
1. Don’t Touch, Pick, or Scratch
Medical providers warn against applying pressure on treated skin after most cosmetic treatments. Chemical peels not only expose raw, sensitive skin, but they also cause the top layers of skin to peel. This may frustrate patients and tempt them to remove the peeling skin with their fingers.
Peeling, touching, picking, or scratching the skin after a chemical peel can lead to bleeding, infections, breakouts, and scarring. Use a moisturizer instead and let the skin shed off naturally to avoid complications.
2. Don’t Exfoliate
You’ve already exfoliated your skin with a chemical peel. The newly resurfaced skin is free of dead cells, oil, and dirt, so additional exfoliation can only irritate it and cause damage. Wait about one week for light and medium peels or until the skin is fully healed to exfoliate it.
3. Don’t Use Too Many Skincare Products
Swap your usual beauty routine for a minimal skincare regime. After a chemical peel, it’s best to stick to a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Avoid retinol creams and heavier products with active ingredients and irritants.
After a medium peel, wait about one week to resume your usual skincare routine. After a deep peel, you will have to wait longer for your skin to completely heal.
4. Avoid Other Cosmetic Treatments
To prevent unnecessary damage to sensitive skin, wait about two weeks before you get another cosmetic treatment. That includes facial waxing, Botox, dermal fillers, laser resurfacing, and other potentially abrasive procedures.
5. Don’t Expose Your Skin to Excessive Heat
Avoid exposure to the sun, tanning beds, saunas, hot tubs, and other sources of heat. Excessive heat and sweating can irritate the skin, cause an infection, and extend recovery time after a chemical peel.
6. Avoid Strenuous Physical Activity
Avoid intensive workouts for the same reason you would avoid saunas. Strenuous physical activity causes excessive sweating and increases blood circulation, which can intensify the side effects of your chemical peel and delay recovery.
Chemical peels are an excellent way to take years off your skin. However, it’s important to stick to best aftercare practices to ensure the treatment’s safety and effectiveness. Most importantly, listen to your medical provider and stick to their post-treatment advice for the best results.