When you get a chemical peel, you will achieve younger-looking, rejuvenated skin. However, before you see your final result, you’ll experience less-pleasant side effect such as irritated, red, dry, and peeling skin. While these are perfectly normal post-peel effects, they can be frustrating. Chemical peels are not all alike; some are harsher than others and cause relatively serious side effects. Your esthetician should give you a detailed explanation of the type of peel you had and how to care for your skin afterwards. However, there are some general steps you can take after a chemical peel to manage the side effects and promote natural healing. Keep in mind that a chemical peel does exactly what the name suggests – peels. A chemical solution is applied to your face to remove the top layers of skin to encourage new, more youthful, healthier skin growth. It may not sound fun to walk around with flaky, peeling skin, but most people who have undergone peels agree that the results are worth the minor, temporary inconvenience. Chemical peels give you the opportunity to transform sun-damaged skin into radiant, beautiful skin, reducing discoloration, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines, acne, and more. Here are some important skincare steps you can take to ensure the best result possible after your chemical peel.
The primary goal of a chemical peel is to remove damaged skin, which it does through a type of burning. As the dead skin begins to shed, you should avoid touching, scratching, or picking at it with your hands. Don’t pull on shedding skin; let it shed off naturally for best results. Using your hands to peel off skin can lead to unnecessary pain, redness, and scarring. It would help if you also did not scrub or exfoliate your skin in any way during this time. Leave it alone and let nature run its course – you’ll be much happier with your recovery and outcome.
Your hands aren’t the only thing that should stay off your skin as you recover from a chemical peel. Keep your hair off your skin, too, by pulling it back off your face with a hair tie or band. Pushing your hair out of your face with your hands is an easy way to accidentally brush or scratch your skin or peel off skin that isn’t ready. Also, touching your face with dirty hands can potentially irritate your skin and even lead to breakouts. If you do experience a breakout soon after a chemical peel, don’t try to treat it yourself; see your esthetician for treatment or just wait it out.
Your skin is extremely vulnerable after a peel. Old, dead skin cells are shedding, and new, fresh cells are taking their place. This new skin is very delicate and more susceptible to sun damage and sunburns. Stay indoors as much as possible – this is one of the few times you have an excellent reason to hibernate! If you do go outside, don’t even think about leaving the house without a good sunscreen. Choose one with an SPF of at least 30 for the best protection. If your skin is flaking a lot or overly sensitive, you can try an SPF-infused powder, which is easier to apply to peeling skin without causing damage. In addition to your sunscreen, also wear a hat to further guard against UV rays. Part of good post-peel skincare is taking full precautions every time you head outdoors – even when it’s cool and cloudy. After a chemical peel, you shouldn’t use the same products you’ve always used on your skin. This new, sensitive skin requires a special and ultra-gentle touch.
First, you should be using only two products on your skin as it heals from a peel: moisturizer and sunscreen. Your moisturizer should be a neutral product without dyes or perfumes; use this for the first several days following the procedure. Then, you can switch to a healing moisturizer designed for epidermal repair. As you apply moisturizer, use a light touch, and avoid rubbing or scrubbing. Apply plenty of moisturizer all over the skin several times throughout the day as needed. Once your skin is done peeling and completely recovered, you may return to your regular skincare routine; this typically takes about a week. After you’ve recovered from a chemical peel, how do you take care of your new skin? The key word is “gentle.” Wash your skin with a gentle, sulfate-free, low-foaming cleanser. Then, if you’d like, you can use an essence, but mist it onto your skin instead of swiping it on with a cotton pad. An acid-free, no-sting antioxidant serum can help care for traumatized skin by suppressing free radical activity. Finally, be sure to apply a gentle moisturizer that contains sunscreen throughout the day as needed and a sunscreen-free one at night before bed.
More Chemical Peel Aftercare Dos and Don’ts:
When you’ve had a chemical peel:
In general, people with light hair and fair skin respond best to chemical peels. Some darker-skinned patients also achieve good results, but they are more likely to develop an uneven skin tone afterwards. Severe wrinkles and sagging or bulging skin do not typically respond well to chemical peels. For these patients, other procedures such as dermal fillers, laser resurfacing, or facelift may be better options. If you are wondering whether a chemical peel may be right for you, consult a dermatologic surgeon for advice.