How To Care For Your Skin After A Chemical Peel

Peeling Care Chemical peels can soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Chemical peels help rejuvenate the skin via a chemical solution that sloughs off the damaged, outermost layer of the skin, which allows smoother, more evenly pigmented skin to surface, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. The mildest type of chemical peels generally contain alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs. A medium-depth peel consists of trichloroacetic acid, or TCA, while a deep peel uses the strongest chemical solution, known as phenol. Aftercare will vary depending on the strength of your chemical peel.


It's important to keep your face moisturized after a chemical peel since dry skin is more vulnerable to cracks and possible scarring, reports the AAD. Make sure to apply cream or lotion diligently in the days and weeks following a peel until your skin has completely healed. Your health care provider may also recommend or prescribe soothing ointments if your skin is very sensitive.

Sun Protection

Shielding your skin from the sun is critical following all types and strengths of chemical peels, cautions the ASPS. It's best to avoid the sun completely in the first seven to 14 days after a peel unless you are wearing sunscreen. Unprotected skin is at risk of developing blotchy patches or irregular skin coloring following a peel. 

Once your skin has healed, continue to wear sunscreen in order to minimize the formation of new lines and wrinkles. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher. Remember to apply sunscreens 20 to 30 minutes before you head outdoors.

Don't Pick or Scratch Skin

Mild or light chemical peels can cause a reddening and peeling of skin in the days following the treatment, while deeper peels can cause blistering, scabbing and peeling that persists for up to two weeks, notes the website Plastic Surgery Guide. Strong peels may also cause swelling of the skin. 

Even though skin may itch or burn early in recovery, it's important to resist the urge to rub or scratch the affected skin, cautions the AAD. Picking, patting, wiping or otherwise touching the treated area may lessen the results of the peel and increase the risk of infection. A cold compress may help relieve any post-peel discomfort. Your doctor may also prescribe oral steroids following medium and deep peels.

Don't Use any Products with Exfolianting Ingredients

Don't use any products with Ingredients 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 and light chemical peel every week.