Cosmetic Surgery Tips

What To Expect After Facial Chemical Peel

What to expect after a chemical peel, A chemical peel is a procedure that uses a chemical solution to remove the top layer of your skin. The goal is to improve the appearance of your skin, but it is important to be aware of what can happen after the procedure.

It is normal for a chemical peel to cause redness, swelling, and peeling for several days after treatment. Some people may experience pain or irritation for up to one week after treatment. Your doctor will advise you about any medications that you should use in order to reduce pain and discomfort during this time period.

Read on to learn more about What To Expect After Facial Chemical Peel, What to Expect After a Chemical Peel and What to Expect During Your Appointment 

Woman having chemical peel

What To Expect After Facial Chemical Peel

We’ll try just about anything to turn back the time on the too many days spent in the sunshine or rid our faces of acne scars. Although the fountain of youth may be fictitious, the chemical peel is the real deal. The words “chemical” and “peel” may sound scary at first, but this FDA-approved treatment literally gives you a fresh face of skin—and it’s been growing in popularity, with approximately 1.36 million treatments received in 2016. 

The chemical peel is the process of applying a chemical solution to the skin to smooth out its texture. It can be used to treat many skin issues like acne, fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. A form of chemical exfoliation, a peel allows your skin to shed off a layer, making room for new, healthier skin. “Peels are great for everyone to do,” says board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Ashley Magovern. “They slough off tired, dull skin cells and stimulate fresh healthy skin, allowing for accelerated cell turnover and the stimulation of collagen-making cells.”

To learn how to prepare yourself for a chemical peel properly and what to expect during and after the procedure, we sought advice from both Dr. Magovern and esteemed clinical aesthetician Jennifer Gerace.

How to Prepare for a Chemical Peel

1. Choose the Right Type of Peel for Your Skin

Before making the decision to get a chemical peel, Gerace recommends getting the opinions from at least three providers first, noting that “providers should take into consideration your age, the color of your skin and overall skin condition.” Don’t be fooled by the one-size-fits-all peel, as “the peel’s intention should be very specific to the patient’s needs,” she says.

2. Stop Using At-Home Exfoliants

To prepare the skin for the treatment, be sure to stop the use of all at-home exfoliants in the days leading up to your appointment. Exfoliants like retinol and salicylic acid hide in many of our beauty products. If you continue to use them before your appointment, it can cause trauma to the skin, which may result in more damage. If you have sensitive skin, it is recommended to stop using physical exfoliators like face scrubs and devices such as the Clarisonic.

3. Keep Your Skin Hydrated

Dr. Magovern stresses the importance of keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized before your appointment. “Try to keep your skin as hydrated as possible,” she says, also noting that “you may want to stop any creams or serums that may be causing dryness for two to three days.”

4. Evaluate Your Prescriptions

Also, take into consideration any anti-acne or anti-aging prescriptions you are using, as these might affect the way your skin reacts to a chemical peel. If you need help determining if your products are okay to use prior to your chemical peel, talk to your dermatologist or esthetician who will be able to assist you.

5. Don’t Plan a Peel Close to a Big Event

The last step in preparation is to be sure to plan accordingly! If you are getting a chemical peel before a special event, make sure you’ve budgeted plenty of time for your skin to heal so you look picture perfect on your big day.

What to Expect During Your Appointment 

“During a chemical peel, the skin will begin its intense peeling process,” says Gerace. You will have the option to choose which peel you want, though it’s wise to choose an intensity based on your professional’s opinion. “Chemical peels vary from very light to medium depth.” To begin, your skin care professional will ask you to lie face up to establish a smooth surface for application. The entire process usually takes under an hour to complete, and your skin care professional will typically stay in the room to ensure there are no adverse reactions as it dries. 

Once the peel is applied and begins drying, you may feel a burning or tingling sensation due to its high acidic chemical composition. The amount of burning or tingling will vary based on the type of chemical peel you are receiving and will differ case to case (e.g. you might be more sensitive than another person getting the same peel). However, Dr. Magovern notes that even those with sensitive skin can find a suitable chemical peel. “Contrary to popular opinion,” she says, “peels don’t have to sting or burn or cause a lot of redness and inflammation to work.”

What to Expect After a Chemical Peel

Your Skin Will Peel for 3–10 Days

According to Gerace, the type and depth of the solution will dictate how long the skin will peel. “The traditional medium-depth chemical peels take three to five days for the skin to peel off before the new pink skin underneath arises,” she explains, while “deeper peels that contain phenol can take seven to ten days to recuperate from.” Dr. Magovern notes that the peeling should start on or around the third day after a peel, not immediately after.

Treat Your Skin With Care

Dr. Magovern recommends the “use of a gentle cleanser and a hydrating serum or gel, like one that contains hyaluronic acid or ceramides” to help soothe the skin in the days following a chemical peel. You may also want to treat the new skin right away with a combination of stem cell and light therapy, Gerace explains. “This addresses the health of the new skin cells at a cellular level and is your opportunity to reset your skin and start fresh,” she says. Integrating potent aftercare solutions such as colloidal silver, Botaniceutical and marine algae extracts will help hydrate, stabilize and protect the new skin. “These ingredients will boost the skin’s ability to fight free-radical damage at this early stage, which is so important and often overlooked.”

Don’t Neglect SPF

The chemical peel is used to accelerate the exfoliation of dead skin cells to reveal fresh, new skin. The biggest risk during this process is sun exposure, and Gerace highly recommends using a high, broad-spectrum SPF to keep the skin safe during the delicate time following the procedure. “The skin is thinner after a peel and very susceptible to UV damage,” she says. “It is essential to use a physical block like makeup foundation along with your SPF for at least two months after receiving a chemical peel.”

Avoid Overheating the Skin

Gerace also explains the importance of keeping the skin cool, “You shouldn’t let hot water touch your face as any inflammation can spike post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).” She urges you not to take hot showers and keep your water at room temperature or colder.

Brow lift recovery headache

“Beauty is pain,” as the saying goes — but modern cosmetics experts are proving that beauty can relieve pain rather than causing it. Surgeons have found that brow lifts can alleviate migraines, thanks to a few key elements of the surgery. Migraine headaches affect millions of Americans each year, according to the Migraine Research Foundation, and up to 90% of migraine sufferers experience pain severe enough to affect normal functions like driving, working or conversing. In addition, migraines are a chronic illness; that is, they don’t simply strike once fleetingly, but those who struggle with migraines experience them on a recurring basis and even for days at a time. There is also no known cure for migraine headaches. While there are some preventive measures as well as medications that can help manage the pain of a migraine flare-up, many people struggle to find a solution to keep their headaches at bay.


Brow lifts, sometimes called forehead lifts or upper facelifts, focus on diminishing the appearance of wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes. These surgeries can address horizontal forehead lines, worry lines between the brows and crow’s feet. They are also commonly combined with eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, to correct sagging or drooping eyelids. Depending on the extent of your lines and wrinkles, your surgeon can perform brow lift surgery using one of three techniques: an endoscopic brow lift, a temporal brow lift or a coronal brow lift.

Endoscopic brow lifts have become increasingly popular in recent years because they are the least invasive option. Your surgeon uses small incisions through which they insert a thin, flexible tool with a small camera attached — they can view and manipulate the tissues underlying the skin of your brow without lifting the skin completely.

Temporal brow lifts involve slightly larger incisions than endoscopic lifts, positioned at the edges of the temples. This type of lift is the current industry standard for clients who require more work than an endoscopic lift can accomplish, and is usually the type of brow lift performed when a client is interested in an eyelid surgery as well.

Coronal brow lifts are the most invasive, using an incision that spans the full length of the brow from temple to temple along the hairline. This technique is somewhat outmoded and is currently only used in special cases.

No matter which type of brow lift is right for you, there is one distinguishing factor — unlike full facelifts, which often focus on removing stretched or excess skin causing an aged appearance, brow lifts focus on facial muscles. The main cause of forehead wrinkles is overworked facial muscles; when you make a certain facial expression particularly often, your muscles will become somewhat stuck in their tensed position, leaving behind the furrows or crinkles of a worried look or squint. During a brow lift, your surgeon removes and repositions some of your brow muscles to release this tension and smooth your brow to a more youthful, relaxed position.


Migraines aren’t like the headaches you get when you’re tired or dehydrated. They are characterized by intense, throbbing pain that often results in nausea; sensitivity to sounds, smells and light; dizziness and even temporary sight impairment. While the pulsing pain initially led doctors to believe that migraines were caused by dysfunctional blood vessels, today’s understanding is that migraines are primarily neurological. The sensory effects of migraine attacks suggest that the headaches stem from the brain and nerves, and indeed, the most common and often effective medications for migraines treat the headaches using this principle.

Brain scans of patients experiencing migraines show a burst of activity in parts of the brainstem, an area known for processing mood and pain. In addition, a network of neurons responsible for transmitting pain around the eyes, teeth, forehead and sinuses are particularly active during a migraine. Scientists also believe that this particular network of nerves releases inflammatory chemicals as a response to specific stimuli, which contributes to the throbbing and puts even more sensory pressure around areas already sensitive from a migraine.


The nerves associated with migraines are located in the same areas as the muscles that cause forehead wrinkles. The added tension in the forehead not only makes migraine pressure worse but can even start to pinch some of the facial nerves and trigger migraines more frequently. When your surgeon uses a brow lift to release or remove these tensed muscles and open up more space in the tissues of the forehead, the nerves in the area are also freed from constriction and are less likely to cause shooting migraine pain.

Research also shows that minor muscle tension in the brow can cause non-migraine headaches or generalized forehead and temple pain, only serving to worsen the symptoms of migraines. Restoring relaxation to your upper face with a brow lift can go a long way toward relieving that daily dull ache as well as the debilitating discomfort of a migraine. The brow lift’s effectiveness at smoothing unwanted lines and wrinkles combined with its tension-relief benefits gives this cosmetic surgery the ability to improve your life in more ways than one — the confidence of a reflection you love and the relief of reduced head pain and tension.

Despite the apparent benefits, opinions are mixed amongst plastic surgeons, as well as The American Board of Plastic Surgery. For those reasons, we do not perform brow lifts to help treat migraines, but your primary physician can provide you with more comprehensive information about if this procedure has the potential to help you.

Endoscopic brow lift complications

Endoscopic Brow Lift Surgery

A brow lift is usually performed by a plastic surgeon.

A brow lift is an aesthetic surgical procedure to correct the loss of soft tissue elasticity in the upper third of the face. Excess sagging skin around the forehead causing drooping (ptosis) of the brows and wrinkling of the forehead is removed by repositioning the underlying muscle and tissue. It creates a more refreshed, youthful appearance in the upper third area of the face. It can also be combined with a facelift. A brow lift is usually performed by a plastic surgeon.

Endoscopy is the insertion through a surgical incision of a flexible tube with a lighted camera and surgical instruments. The endoscope is now used in a variety of reconstructive and cosmetic surgical procedures. Endoscopic brow lift surgery has gained widespread acceptance, is minimally invasive, and heals faster than traditional brow lift surgery.

Why do people seek endoscopic brow lift surgery?

Aesthetically, the face is divided into three equal parts, of which the forehead (from the top of the eyebrow to the anterior hairline) occupies the upper third. In males this area averages 7 cm and in females it averages 5 cm.

The male eyebrow is less arched than the female eyebrow. The top of the eyebrow lies approximately 2.5 cm from the mid pupil.  With aging, these parameters may shift. A lesser distance denotes eyebrow drooping (ptosis).

Loss of forehead skin elasticity from genetics, sun damage, and gravity causes eyebrow drooping, with resultant upper eyelid drooping and dissatisfaction with the appearance.

Aging causes depletion of the subcutaneous fat. This leads to forehead wrinkling, the direction of which depends upon the underlying muscle.

Why is endoscopic brow lift surgery done?

  • Aged appearance: Patients may worry they have a tired, surprised, worried, or an annoyed look, appearing older than their actual age
  • Eyebrow drooping: Patients may feel an uncomfortable weight of tissue on their eyes
  • Forehead wrinkling
  • Eyebrow elevation
  • Improve eyebrow symmetry
  • Change eyebrow shape
  • Decrease the function of muscles causing brow wrinkling

When should endoscopic brow lift surgery be avoided?

Endoscopic brow lift surgery should be avoided with:

  • Conditions causing dry eyes
  • Excessive brow elevation after upper eyelid surgery
  • A tendency for keloids or thick scarring
  • Psychological instability
  • Unrealistic cosmetic expectations
  • Poor general health and systemic conditions

What happens during the endoscopic brow lift procedure?

Before the procedure

  • Routine blood and radiological investigations will be done.
  • Patients may be advised to shampoo their hair with antibacterial soap/shampoo the night before or morning of surgery.
  • Hair does not need to be shaved.

During the procedure

  • An endoscopic brow lift is performed under general anesthesia or with intravenous (IV) sedation and local anesthesia.
  • Multiple small incisions are made just behind the hairline (most surgeons make 3- to 5-cm incisions), through which the endoscope and instruments are inserted.
  • Brow tissue is gently released and elevated.
  • Excess tissue is removed.
  • The muscles are elevated, pulled up and anchored to the bone using anchors made of titanium which look like small screws of 2 mm width. They may be temporary or permanent and do not cause permanent damage.
  • The incisions are sutured and dressed.
  • A small surgical drain may be inserted — a clear tube is inserted through a small incision below the main incision.

After the procedure

  • Post-operative pain can be managed with painkillers.
  • Antibiotics may be necessary.
  • Patients are advised to rest with their head elevated for two weeks.
  • Patients are usually discharged the same day or 24 hours after surgery.
  • The drain may be removed after 24 hours.
  • The dressing may be removed after 48 hours.
  • Patients can shower and wash their hair after 48 hours, using mild shampoos prescribed by the surgeon.
  • The surgeon may prescribe medicated ointments to apply to the wounds.
  • Patients should not use any hair products for at least seven days.
  • Depending on the type of suture used, the surg

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