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What to Expect Before & After a Chemical Peel

Turning back the clock and regaining a youthful appearance are big reasons why non-invasive cosmetic treatments have become so popular over the years. While BOTOX® Cosmetic and dermal fillers provide effective facial rejuvenation, sometimes these treatments aren’t enough. As we age, our skin accumulates dead skin cells and other blemishes that can easily make us look older than we are. Many women (and men) undergo chemical peels in Indiana to make their skin look and feel young and healthy again.

In this post, we’re going to look at chemical peels and what you should expect before and after this procedure.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

Despite its scary-sounding name, a chemical peel isn’t a hugely painful procedure performed in the laboratory of a mad scientist. It’s merely a solution that’s applied to the skin to improve its appearance and texture. Peels can help treat fine lines, wrinkles, acne, and hyperpigmentation on the face, chest, and even the hands.

A chemical peel is a form of chemical exfoliation that accelerates skin cell turnover and stimulates collagen production. Shedding the outer layer of dead skin cells and other material makes way for newer, more radiant, healthier-looking skin.

When performed in the safety and comfort of a plastic surgeon’s office, chemical peels are entirely safe.  Complications can and do arise when chemical peels are performed at non-medical “day spas” wherein a poorly trained layperson is administering the peel. Medical-grade chemical peels can only be performed in a physician’s office.

How Should I Prepare for a Chemical Peel?

Before coming in for a chemical peel, you may be asked to take the following precautions:

  • Stop Using Exfoliants – Depending on the recommended peel, you may be asked to stop using at-home exfoliants for at least three days prior to getting a chemical peel. Many exfoliants contain salicylic acid and retinol, which can damage the skin if used in the days before the procedure. For those with sensitive skin, it’s also recommended to stop the usage of physical exfoliators such as scrubs.
  • Inform the Doctor of Your Prescriptions – Be sure to let the doctor know of any prescriptions you’re using such as anti-acne or anti-aging medications or creams.  The doctor will advise you which products to stop using in the immediate days before getting the chemical peel.
  • Hydrate Your Skin – It’s essential that your skin is kept hydrated before your appointment. If you’re using creams or medications that dry out the skin, stop them for two or three days. If you come into you appointment with dehydrated skin, the peel could result in excessive damage.
  • Keep Time in Mind – While chemical peels start to work the minute they’re applied to the skin, it can take up to a week or two for your skin to fully heal. If you have a big event coming up, be sure to schedule your chemical peel appointment early enough so that your skin will be fully healed on the day of the event.

What Happens After a Chemical Peel?

Your experience after a chemical peel will depend on a number of factors including the type of peel and amount of time it’s left on your skin. In general, patients experience  the following:

  • Medium-depth peels take anywhere from 3 to 5 days for the old skin to peel off and reveal new pink skin. Some peels may not have any physical peeling.
  • Deeper peels can take from 7 to 10 days for a new layer of skin to appear. Peeling should start on or around the third day after the peel (not immediately afterward).

In addition to preparing properly, there are several things you can do to ensure the best results following your chemical peel:

  • Use Sun Protection – The chemical peel you recently had done removed a layer of dead skin cells which exposed new skin. The most significant risk your skin faces is from sun damage. It’s best to use a broad-spectrum, high SPF sunblock formula to help protect the skin during the healing process.  Chemical peels remove dead skin, and this makes it very susceptible to UV damage.
  • Be Gentle – Use a gentle cleanser and hydrating serum in the immediate days following a chemical peel to help soothe the skin and allow it to heal much faster. Your doctor will have suggestions on products that you should and shouldn’t use and can give you tips on how to take care of your skin for the best chances of success.
  • Don’t Overheat the Skin – Avoid getting hot water on treated skin as it can cause inflammation, which in turn can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It’s best to take lukewarm showers for the first few days. Wash your face in the morning and right before bed with lukewarm water as well.

If you’re interesting in getting a chemical peel or if you have any questions that weren’t answered in this blog post, give us a call at 800-721-3244 or contact us using our online form. Dr. Galante and his staff are experts in nonsurgical skin rejuvenation and can administer a chemical peel that will make your face look radiant, healthy, and younger.

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