The process of diminishing scars, acne, line and wrinkles and hyperpigmentation
is not an overnight thing. It’s really a step by step process with timing involved.
I know, you want to wake up with clear skin now! But that just isn’t how things work.
This is the process and steps involved in chemical peels; what to expect before and after.
YOUR 1ST PEEL
DO I HAVE TO DO ANYTHING SPECIAL BEFORE ?
No, not really. Unless you take Retinol, Retin-A or had Botox very recently, you are good to go. Retinol treatments will make the skin more sensitive to this process so stopping the Retinols 2 days prior will be best. If you have had Botox, then we need to discuss what that means for your skin and how the peel will work.
We make sure to do a test patch prior to visiting for your scheduled peel day. This patch test helps to verify if the skin will show any adverse reactions to a chemical peel. This is a mini test and is typically done on the back of the neck or side of the face at the jaw line.
You’ll want to contact your spa/esthetician if you notice swelling, bumps, redness or inflammation after your test. This may mean you will need a different type of peel or that a chemical peel is not suited for your skin type.
WILL I BREAKOUT AFTER A PEEL?
If you have had prior occurrences of acne or were using a Retinol, you may breakout within a day or two of your first peel. It isn’t your skin reacting negatively to the peel. In fact, it is dormant issues that now have a chance to expose themselves because the layers of skin above them are now out of the way.
Additionally, stopping your Retinol can cause the skin to begin producing visible acne again. But do not worry. It is possible and it is normal. After a few days have passed, you can start your Retinol again. Of course, when in doubt, consult your physician prior to the peel and make sure that the Retinol delay will not be an issue for you.
WILL THE CHEMICAL PEEL DRY OUT MY SKIN?
Your skin will start to feel tight and dry within hours after the peel (you’ll want to increase your water intake), but you may not experience too much drying for a few days.
Additionally, after you’ve had a break out, your skin will start to dry out. The flakiness is actually dead skin coming off (the whole point of the peel).
A good chemical peel won’t be crazy peeling, but rather like a slow sloughing.
Makeup may be more difficult to get to stay on. We recommend not wearing makeup or wear as little as possible for a few days and just let your skin do its thing.
CHEMICAL PEEL RECOVERY
HOW LONG WILL MY SKIN REACT TO THE PEEL?
So, after 3-5 days of possible, minor breakouts, and a few days of dryness, the skin begins to return to a calmer state. You may still feel like your skin is breaking out for 3-4 days, but it should be mostly minor. Dormant bacteria may still be coming up to the surface and that is normal.
PROPER SKIN CARE AFTER A PEEL
After a peel treatment, your skin will start to peel, revealing newer skin. Because your newer skin will be sensitive, you should use only gentle cleansers and moisturizers for at least three days. Be sure to use a good topical sunscreen during this time. Using at least a 30 SPF or higher is advised.
We like to provide you with a small care kit for home use but this should not last beyond the 3 days. If it lasts longer for you, you may not be following the instructions quite right or adding in other products that could inhibit your recovery.
After days 3 or 4, you can use a mild exfoliant to remove any remaining, sloughing skin and you can return to your normal skin care routine.
CAN I WEAR MAKEUP AFTER A PEEL?
You can absolutely wear makeup after a peel, but we recommended waiting at least an hour after the treatment before applying makeup, but otherwise you are good to go. However, your makeup may not settle like normal for a few days. It’s usually about a week before the dry skin subsides so allow time if you have something coming up. And keep it simple for that first week if you don’t want to reapply moisturizer and makeup throughout the day.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I GET PEELS?
We recommend a series of 3-5 peels about 2-3 weeks apart. While it sounds like a lot, each peel clears off a few micro-layers of skin. Each appointment reveals new skin and pores to clean out.
However, you can push these peels out further if you like. If you can follow up the positive results of one peel with another in a shorter period of time, you will see even better results. This will really help to get rid of minor scars and bacteria with each appointment!
Additionally, the breakouts and dryness are entirely possible on the 2nd peel so don’t be surprised if you are dealing with that again.