How do I care for my skin after a chemical peel?

April 20, 2014 / 3:53 pm

Professional Chemical Peels are a great way to improve many skin issues with very little downtime.

When having a medium depth, self neutralizing chemical peel (like a Jessners Peel or a light TCA peel) the skin barrier is compromised. How you care for your skin during the week after the treatment can greatly affect the results.

Immediately after the treatment, your skin may be red and feel tight. Make sure your skin care therapist applies sunscreen before you leave the studio and reapply sunscreen as necessary throughout the day. Most peels need to be left on the skin for 5 hours or longer after the application so don’t wash your face or do any activity that makes you sweat.

The flaking generally begins 36-48 hours after the application of the peel. Be very gentle with you skin during this time. Use a gentle cleanser followed by a rich moisturizer and lots of sunscreen.

The flaking generally lasts 3-5 days depending on the depth of the peel and the condition of your skin. Most importantly, DO NOT pick at the flaking skin! When washing your face, use a gentle circular motion with your hands (no washcloth or face brush) to help the dead skin slough.

If you have a lot of clogged pores, you may experience a breakout during the flaking process. Do not use any products designed to dry the skin: salicylic acid, glycolic acid etc. Treat your skin very gently, the breakouts should clear up quickly as the skin cells turn over.

Do not use any products containing Retin A, retinol, AHA, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid or any other acid during the healing phase. Reintroduce these products when you feel your skin has fully healed, everyone is different but two weeks post-peel is a good guideline.

Plan to have your chemical peel 2-4 weeks prior to a major event to allow your skin to fully heal. I recommend medium depth chemical peels 2-4 times a year for most of my clients concerned with acne and anti-aging.

Update 6/29/2020:

I do not recommend purchasing a chemical peel on your own and attempting to treat yourself.

A chemical peel is an aggressive skin care treatment and should be performed under the guidance of a skin care professional who will give your specific follow up care for the blend of chemicals they use during your treatment.

This blog is intended for general informational purposes only. Please consult the professional who performed your treatment for specific guidelines.

6 responses on “How do I care for my skin after a chemical peel?

  1. Tyler Johnson

    That’s a good idea to do the peel a few weeks before your event. I would think that it would defeat the purpose of treating your skin with a chemical peel if your skin was still healing. Hopefully doing it a while beforehand would make your skin look as good as possible for your event.

  2. Jinelle

    I just finished my first session of my chemical peel and it’s just been under 24 hours. My dermatologist did not prescribe me any cleanser, so does that mean I just wash my face with water then moisturize?

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