A chemical peel, also called chemexfoliation or derma peeling, uses a chemical solution to smooth the texture of your skin by removing the outer layers of skin that are damaged. It is one of the least invasive ways to improve the appearance of your skin. Although chemical peels are commonly used on the face, they can also be used to improve the skin on your neck and hands.
What to expect
A superficial chemical peel is a fast procedure, taking only about 5 minutes. You will cleanse your skin with a mild cleanser. After drying your skin, the physician or technician will apply the chemical peel agents to your skin in a series of “passes”.
How will my skin feel after a chemical peel?
You may notice a tingling or burning sensation during the chemical peel. This sensation will go away after the procedure. You will rinse your face with water after the chemical peel and you will apply a face lotion that contains sunscreen of at least SPF 30.
Is there a more in-depth chemical peel?
A medium depth chemical peel will take longer, your skin may actually “peel”, and you may need up to a week for recovery. The results can be impressive, particularly around the eyes. You can expect to experience peeling, redness and dryness of the skin. This will resolve in less than a week.
Please be aware that there is a very small chance that a chemical peel can reactivate cold sores. If you experience cold sore symptoms following your chemical peel, please contact your physician.
Before your chemical peel
- For 2-3 days prior to a chemical peel, discontinue use of the following topical products:
- Topical acne products, including over the counter items that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
- Do not wax your skin or have any laser treatments for one week prior and one week after your chemical peel.
- Use gentle cleansing products that do not contain alcohol or acid bases.
After your chemical peel
- Do not use exfoliating products to the skin for 1 week.
- Do not use retinoids or products containing retinol for 1 week.
- Do not use alcohol or acid based products or cleansers for 1 week.
- Do not wax any hair on the treated area for 1 week.
- Do not have any laser procedures to the treated area for 1 week.
- Use a gentle cleanser and gentle moisturizers containing SPF 30 or greater.
- For excessive peeling, you may wish to use a petrolatum based product such as Aquaphor or Vaseline.
- Contact your physician if you have any concerns, or if you experience pain, or blistering of the skin.