What is a Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel is a procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers. The skin that grows back can be smoother and more revitalized. With a light or medium peel, you may need to undergo the procedure more than once to get the desired results.
Chemical peels are used to treat wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and acne. They can be done alone or combined with other cosmetic procedures such as needling or dermaplaning. Peel can be done at different depths, from light to deep. The deeper the peel, the more time it takes for the skin to heal. Taking precaution by avoiding direct sunlight before and after your appointment is crucial. With the proper pre and post care, peels are a great way to revitalize the skin and aid with skin maintenance. Depending on which peel is used, how many layers are applied, and skin sensitivity, peels can be performed every 3-6 weeks.
In addition to treating the face, peels can be applied to the neck and décolleté.
Things to Consider Before a Chemical Peel
Botox and Fillers
Please wait at least two weeks after Botox and four weeks after filler injections to schedule your chemical peel appointment.
Accutane and Other Drugs and Supplements
Accutane is one of the most common acne medications on the market. Unfortunately, its active ingredient, isotretinoin is a retinoid. If you currently take this medication, ask your primary care physician if you can stop taking it and ask about an alternative that will not affect your chemical peel treatment. You should not take Accutane within six months of starting treatment.
You should also avoid other medications, such as most other topical acne medications that include retinoids. Furthermore, do not take oral vitamin A1 (retinol) supplements.
What to Avoid After a Chemical Peel
The First Night
You can skip washing your face the first night after your treatment. If you would like to cleanse your skin before bed, we suggest using a gentle cleanser without active ingredients such as Cetaphil. The water should be cool or room temperature and it is best to pat the skin dry with a fresh clean towel.
Do your best to avoid direct sunlight and UV damage after your chemical peel for at least two weeks. Please avoid tanning beds and wear a physical sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Please double check that the SPF has not expired and reapply it every two hours. You can also minimize the effects of sun exposure by minimizing your time spent outdoors between 10am and 5pm and by wearing a hat outside.
Can I Take Tylenol or Ibubrofen After a Chemical Peel?
In the week following your chemical peel, avoid taking Tylenol, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Inflammation is a crucial part of the skin healing process and taking NSAIDs will slow the rate at which your skin heals.
Picking Your Skin
You should also avoid picking your skin in the week following your treatment. At some point between two and five days after your treatment, your skin will look dry and start to peel or flake. You may be tempted to “speed along” the peeling process by picking at the skin or physically exfoliating it. This should not be done. At best, it will slow the healing process. At worst, it will slow the healing process and lead to a skin infection or acne outbreak because the skin on your fingertips produces oil that can irritate the recently treated skin on your face. If you don’t feel confident that you can avoid touching your face, wear gloves. If you had your cheeks or chin treated, you can wear a mask.
Over-Moisturizing Your Skin
It is best to avoid over-moisturizing your skin during the natural healing process. On the flip side of that same coin, your skin can become too dehydrated. We recommend moisturizing your skin twice daily with a gentle moisturizer that won’t irritate your skin.
Do your best to avoid sweating during the first three days following your treatment session. Avoid steaming-hot showers or baths, jacuzzies, saunas and steam rooms. Do not engage in strenuous exercises, such as heavy weightlifting, swimming, intense spinning or indoor rowing for 1-3 days depending on how sensitive your skin is.
Do not use the cosmetics you usually incorporate into your daily routine for the first five to seven days after your treatment. If you can’t go a week without wearing makeup, try to go without wearing makeup until your skin starts to peel or flake. Once your skin starts to peel or flake, it is okay to wear mineral makeup. Once your skin finishes healing, you may resume wearing your favorite cosmetics.
Certain Hair Removal Methods
Please do not use alternative hair removal methods, such as electrolysis, hair removal creams, laser hair removal or waxing for 1 week after your appointment. Such hair removal methods increase skin sensitivity.
Heat-Based Cosmetic Treatments and Others
For two weeks after your treatment session, avoid receiving cosmetic treatments that will irritate your skin. Treatments that increase skin sensitivity include IPL (intense pulsed light) therapy and laser treatments.
You should not apply ice to the treatment area or use it near the treatment area. Ice will impede the natural inflammatory process that your skin needs for healing.
Sleeping on your stomach or side for the first week after your session is not recommended. Sleeping on your back may ease the skin’s healing process as it will not be in direct contact with a blanket or pillows. As an added precaution, please ensure that your sheets are clean just in case your face makes contact with sheets or blankets to limit the exposure to bacteria.