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What To Know About Chemical Peel Aftercare

What To Know About Chemical Peel Aftercare

If you’re planning on getting a chemical peel, you’re going to want to know what to expect after the procedure. While it’s tempting to skip this step and just get right back to your normal routine, chemical peels are extremely potent and should be treated with care.

Your skin is going to feel tight, raw and very sensitive. It won’t look much different than it did before the peel, but it will feel like it’s in bad shape. Your doctor or aesthetician may recommend that you use Vaseline or Aquaphor on your skin for the first couple of days after your treatment. You can also use a gentle moisturizer if you have dry skin or eczema. You should also avoid using makeup or any other products that have a strong fragrance for at least three days after your procedure—not only because they could irritate your skin but also because they could interfere with healing time.

Chemical peels have been around for a while but it’s still underused by many. If you’re new to chemical peels and wondering what exactly it is, the answer is simple: It’s a method for improving your skin using chemical solutions which are applied onto to the skin. Read on to learn more Best Moisturizer After Chemical Peel/Hyaluronic Acid After Chemical Peel.

What To Know About Chemical Peel Aftercare

Chemical peels can help turn sun damaged skin into fantastic, radiant skin. This type of treatment helps reduce hyper-pigmentation and improves skin tone, while leaving the skin noticeably brighter and smoother.

Once you’ve invested the time for a chemical peel, it’s equally important to have a good after-treatment plan to see the best results possible.


Here are a few great tips for chemical peel after care, so you can maintain the best results from your treatment:

1. Hands Off
The main goal of a chemical peel is to pull up and slough off the damaged skin cells, revealing healthy, glowing skin underneath. When the dead skin starts to shed, avoid touching, picking or scratching it with your fingers. Let the dead skin shed off naturally, and don’t peel the skin off with your own fingers – using fingers to remove the dead skin can lead to possible scarring.

2. Pull It Back
Pulling your hair back away from the face with a hair band can help prevent you from touching, and keep breakouts at bay. It’s important to allow the skin to go through its naturally peeling process, without accidentally contacting your skin while brushing back your hair. Touching the skin with dirty fingers and hands will only aggregate the new skin and may lead to breakouts. If breakouts do occur, don’t treat them yourself! Have your aesthetician treat them for you or just leave them alone.

3. Moisturize – But Just Enough to Be Comfortable
After receiving a chemical peel, your skin will be sensitive. There may be certain products in your normal skin care routine that you’ll want to avoid, as they may have active and irritating ingredients. The only two products you will want to use on your skin during the peeling process are sunscreen and just enough of a bland (neutral) moisturizer to be comfortable. The skin feeling and looking dry is part of the peeling process, and your moisturizer won’t be able to correct that.

Our advice is to use little to no moisturizer for the first couple days after treatment. In some cases, there will be a specific post care moisturizer provided at the time of treatment, which is safe to use, and your SkinSpirit aesthetician will walk you through the details. For some people, the only thing that won’t sting the skin is Aquaphor, which is easily available over the counter.

When applying moisturizer to the skin, be careful as well not to rub or scrub it in. Gently apply a thin layer of moisturizer all over the skin multiple times throughout the day, as needed. You’ll be able to go back to your regular skincare routine once the peeling process is complete and skin no longer feels sensitive – generally within a week of receiving your chemical peel.

4. Protect Your Skin With SPF
You’ve just gone through the process of getting rid of damaged skin with a chemical peel – so it’s important to avoid damaging the new, vulnerable skin coming through by protecting it with a layer of sunscreen anytime exposure to the sun is possible.

Whether sitting by a window, spending time outside, or in front of a screen of any kind, you need to protect your newly brightened skin. Be sure to choose a physical sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and  broad spectrum high safety ratings – your skin will thank you later!

We recommend Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield, which is an easy, gentle and effective way to apply sunscreen protection to overly sensitized skin.

We’ve also put together this SPF guide to help you know what to look for from a sunscreen, and can offer personalized recommendations during a complimentary product consult any of our Bay Area, Orange County, Salt Lake City, Texas or Seattle Area clinics.

5. Let It Peel
Do not remove any of the dry, dead skin with any sort of rubbing, peeling or pulling during the peeling process. Safe exfoliation can be done as soon as skin is no longer hyper sensitive.

We recommend the perfect post peel exfoliating duo: Jan Marini Skin Zyme and Clean Zyme, products containing gentle enzymes that soften and melt away dead skin. All facial scrubs, resurfacing acids, Retinols, and even Clarisonic Cleansing Brushes are off limits until the skin stops shedding – usually up to a week after treatment.

6. Lighten Up
Now is a good time to come in for a consult and get a custom home care regimen to maintain your newly brightened skin! You want to be sure to have a great antioxidant, which is your first line of defense against free radicals each and every day. Specialized melanocyte down regulators can help with tougher pigment – see your skin care professional to learn more!

7. Don’t Worry
It’s also a good idea to just read a book and don’t worry about how your skin looks for a few days. The end result is more than worth the investment!

If you have any concerns at all, please call us at (855) 383-7546. We would never want you to be home alone wondering if things are okay, and are happy to address any questions or concerns you have throughout the peeling process!


Please keep in mind that your after care regimen may vary slightly based on the type of peel you receive, and that all skin responds differently. Peeling is not the main indicator of success – it’s the transformation in tone and texture. Some skin may peel very little and some may peel several times.

Best Moisturizer After Chemical Peel

A good moisturizer to use after a chemical peel is CeraVe. It comes with an addition of four percent niacinamide. Niacinamide is an antioxidant that has anti-aging benefits and helps to brighten skin tone.

Follow a very bland and basic skincare routine. Use a hyaluronic acid product as they help to moisturize, hydrate, and play an important role in wound healing. Look for ingredients like ceramides and cholesterol which function as ingredients identical to those found in the skin. They help to repair damage caused to the moisture barrier.

A good moisturizer to use after a chemical peel is CeraVe. It comes with an addition of four percent niacinamide. Niacinamide is an antioxidant that has anti-aging benefits and helps to brighten skin tone. It also increases the production of collagen by your skin and is great for people with dry skin.

However, a better alternative is Vaseline. Contrary to popular belief, it does not clog pores. It will prevent water loss and keep your skin hydrated. To speed up the healing of your chemical peel, make sure you use petroleum jelly.

A woman laying down smiling, receiving a chemical peel to smooth and brighten her skin

Chemical peels can boost your confidence and give you healthier-looking skin. Reducing scars, acne, and uneven skin tone can help you love the way you look. 

With the word “chemical,” it’s natural to question if this treatment can damage your skin. Before you book an appointment, learn more about chemical peels, including what they are and how they can affect your skin. 

What Are Chemical Peels? 

A chemical peel is a cosmetic treatment for your skin. It removes damaged skin cells, offering brighter and smoother skin. 

The solution used in a chemical peel reacts with the outer layers of the skin. After your skin heals, it will look fresh and be healthier. 

A chemical peel solution can help improve: 

  • Fine lines & wrinkles
  • Pore congestion 
  • Skin tone 
  • Skin discolouration 
  • Radiance

You can have a chemical peel on your face, neck, or hands. Depending on your needs, a peel can treat your skin on 3 different levels. 

  • Light chemical peels treat fine lines, acne, uneven skin tone, & overall dryness
  • Medium chemical peels treat wrinkles, acne scars, & uneven skin tone
  • Deep chemical peel can treat deep wrinkles and scars

If you’re thinking of getting this treatment, why should you get a chemical peel? 

Why Get a Chemical Peel?

Many people can feel uncomfortable in their skin because of blemishes, wrinkles, or acne. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves, and chemical peels can help achieve this. They remove old, damaged skin layers, leaving new, healthy skin. 

You can use chemical peels to treat: 

  • Acne
  • Enlarged pores
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Scarring
  • Rosacea 
  • Wrinkles
  • Age spots & freckles 

Chemical peels can’t remove deep scars or wrinkles or tighten sagging skin. 

Like any procedure, there can be risks to chemical peels. Some people may feel hesitant to try this treatment after hearing about a bad experience. Can chemical peels make your skin worse than it was before? 

A close of a woman's face showing the application of a chemical peel

Hyaluronic Acid After Chemical Peel

One hyaluronic acid molecule can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, and this stuff has an incredible moisturizing effect that is long-lasting. Naturally, moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid are going to be great for after your chemical peel treatments too.

How can I prep my skin for a Chemical Peel?

Since the weather is getting colder you’ve probably already switched to a heavier moisturizer. When the chilly seasons start up our skin starts to feel dehydrated; your skin adjusting to the heating in buildings doesn’t help either. For moisturizers I recommend finding one with hyaluronic acid, as this restores moisture to the skin, and if you’re not already using products with this amazing humectant then you need to start now – head on over to my products page to see about hooking yourself up with some of my favorites. One hyaluronic acid molecule can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, and this stuff has an incredible moisturizing effect that is long-lasting. Naturally, moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid are going to be great for after your chemical peel treatments too. NEOCUTIS Hyalis Hydrating Serum contains hyaluronic acid and is a great one to soothe your skin after a chemical peel.

When prepping for a chemical peel, I take a close look at skin type and what the desired outcomes are for the short- and long-term care of my clients. This preparation process helps me to make specific recommendations for before and aftercare, and also dictates what type of chemicals will be used in the peel treatment, and how intense it needs to be.

Typically, I see people that are looking for ways to improve the look of fine lines, or brown spots on their skin, skin texture concerns are often also addressed with chemical peel treatments. The pre-peel products I generally recommend in these situations are prescription-only and include a 6-week course of hydroquinone (4%) and retinoic acid (.05- 0.1%). The retinoic acid is discontinued one week prior to the chemical peel for optimal results.

Here are some of my favorite products specific to the before and after care processes for your skin when preparing for a chemical peel. This list includes retinol-based products for the before-care process that do not require a prescription. These are recommended if you are doing a light chemical peel or using chemical peel based over-the-counter products at home.

Before Care Products

Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair

This is usually sold at dermatology clinics and also in some specialized skincare stores and centers. As the name suggests, you use this product at night and let it work its magic while you sleep. It has an active 1% microencapsulated pure Retinol formula; this along with a powerful bioactive peptide and antioxidant Vitamin C helps to accelerate skin renewal, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, uneven skin tone and discoloration. The Squalene ingredient sourced from Brazilian Sugar Cane restores the skin’s moisture and suppleness while active polysaccharides hydrate and prevent water loss to help soften fine lines. It even contains a soothing licorice extract and customizable Buffer Cream that reduces the risk of flaking or irritation as your skin acclimates to Retinol, making this a perfect pre-peel product.

Glo Skin Beauty Retinol Serum

This one was a previous winner of the Dermascope Magazine’s Aestheticians’ Choice Awards

This is a milder pre-peel product that can be used more frequently in your prep for a chemical peel (2-7 times/week depending on other products you are also using in your skincare routine). This mild exfoliant contains Retinol as well as Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid, so it is also recommended for those with acne-prone skin.

This product does wonders for flaking skin and helps speed the healing process after chemical peels and laser treatments. EltaMD AM Therapy smoothens the skin’s texture and evens out skin color and tone. This intense moisturizer also has my favorite ingredient – hyaluronic acid.

While chemical peels aren’t guaranteed to make your skin worse, complications can happen. Chemical peels have a few possible side effects. These complications include: 

  • Redness, scabbing, & swelling 
  • Scarring
  • Infection 
  • Changes in skin colour 

While risks are always present with any cosmetic treatment, chemical peels are safe when properly used. Depending on your skin, you may need a certain type of peel. 

When you’re with a certified and trained expert, you can feel more comfortable. Someone who understands your skin, the treatment and has your best interests in mind can give you a positive experience.  

If you’re trying chemical peels at home, the solutions may be weaker, but you can still damage your skin. There is less of a chance for error when seeing a professional. 

At-Home vs. Professional Treatments 

If you’re interested in chemical peels, there are two choices: at-home or professional treatment. While both options aim to improve your skin, they have some differences between them. 

At-Home Treatments 

While commercial products exist for at-home chemical peels, they are in lower concentrations and exfoliate your skin over time. There are a few different ingredients that can offer the same treatment as a professional chemical peel, but with less strength: 

  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid 
  • Mandelic acid
  • Salicylic acid

Only use products with these ingredients if you’re going to try at-home treatments; chemical peels can burn your skin if improperly used. Follow all instructions carefully and diligently to avoid potential complications. 

Because these solutions aren’t as strong, at-home treatments are most effective for milder skin concerns. You won’t see as effective results from commercial products compared to professional treatment. 

At-home chemical peels can seem beneficial if you’re looking to save money, but having a trained professional treat your skin is worth the cost. 

Professional Treatment 

Professional chemical peels offer several advantages. The solutions are stronger, and you will likely see better results from in-office treatment. Rather than following instructions for a commercial solution, you’ll experience a consultation with a certified professional. 

In your consultation, you’ll discuss your relevant family and medical history. You’ll talk about the goals and expected results for this treatment before moving forward. 

During a professional treatment, the chemical solution is catered for your skin to minimize the risk of complications. Unlike at-home treatments, professional chemical peels are effective for all skin concerns. 

You’ll receive advice on caring for your skin after your treatment and recommendations on when your next appointment should be. 

Knowing a professional is helping you may reduce any anxiety or concern you have regarding chemical peels. 

Feel Confident in Your Skin

While at-home treatments may seem ideal, you risk damaging your skin or seeing little results from the product. If you want to see the benefits of chemical peels, consider going to a licensed and trained professional. They can help you safely achieve the results you’re looking for. If you’re interested in chemical peels, book a consultation and see how you can feel more confident today.Posted in Chemical Peels, Skin Care & Products


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