What Type Of Moisturizer Should I Use After A Chemical Peel

Moisturizing your skin after a chemical peel is one of the most important steps in your recovery process. It helps to repair damaged skin and reduce redness, while preventing future issues like dryness or flaking.

The type of moisturizer you choose depends on what kind of peel you have had and how your skin reacts to it. You’ll need to consider whether you want a moisturizer with SPF protection or simply one that will keep your skin hydrated without blocking out the sun’s rays.

In this post, we’ll discuss best serum after chemical peel and what to put on face after chemical peel.

What Type Of Moisturizer Should I Use After A Chemical Peel

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.

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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!


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.

Should any products be used after a chemical peel?

The only two products you should use on your skin immediately following a chemical peel are sunscreen and moisturizer. Chemical Peels make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so you want to have these done in the Fall and Winter months when there is less exposure to the sun.

Colorscience sunscreen is the one I often recommend after receiving a chemical peel treatment. This sunscreen is effective and gentle so it shouldn’t irritate your delicate post-peel skin. I recommend staying out of the sun and elements for about a week just to be on the safe side. Wearing sunscreen is a must all the time year-round, but especially when you’ve just had a chemical peel (pro-tip: another good sunscreen for after a chemical peel is La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Cooling Water – this is a nice one because it won’t burn when it goes on your sensitive post-peel treatment skin).

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.

After Care Products

  • EltaMD Moisturizer

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.

This product is amazing because it stimulates the skin’s natural water system to moisturize without oil or heavy emollients. EltaMD AM Therapy is oil-free, fragrance-free, and noncomedogenic. This can also be used overnight for extra moisture replenishment, especially after a chemical peel. EltaMD Intense Maftercareoisturizer has an emollient feel to it and is also nice for after care. A little goes a long way with these products so don’t use too much at once.

  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment

If you’d rather use an ointment-based product rather than one more similar to a lotion following your chemical treatment, Aquaphor Healing Ointment is one of the best for restoring your skin back to feeling smooth and healthy. This product is different from a lotion or cream; it’s a multi-purpose ointment that protects and soothes skin when it is in an extremely dry state. Another great remedy for your skin following a chemical peel and this stuff is also fantastic for chapped lips, cracked skin on your hands and feet and many other types of skin irritations. It can even be used to treat minor cuts and wounds due to its healing effect on the skin. Another benefit of this product is its sting-free nature, as after a chemical peel your skin will feel very sensitive especially in the first few days following treatment.

  • Emuaid First Aid Ointment

My other favorite post chemical peel ointment is the Emuaid First Aid Ointment, which repairs and relieves inflammation that occurs for a brief period following a chemical peel. Medical grade homeopathic EMUAID® is a uniquely engineered antibacterial, anti-fungal ointment that quickly reduces any pain, inflam,mation and symptoms for 100+ difficult-to-treat skin conditions. The Emuaid oil works effectively on sunburns, razor burn and first-degree burns too since its unique properties help relieve pain and reduce blistering. One of its key ingredients is Allantoin, derived from comfrey plants, which promotes healing and moisturizes the skin to improve smoothness and tone.

When it comes to before and after care for your skin, it is important to speak with your dermatologist about the right regiment for your skincare routine in the days before and after going for a chemical peel. Chemical peels vary in strength, so working with a dermatologist is key to considering the strength you need to achieve your desired outcomes. To learn more about the different types check out my article Chemical Peels, Do’s and Don’ts.

Light, medium and deep peels have very different treatment purposes and different recovery times; naturally the before and after-care products will also vary depending on your skin type and results you’re seeking. At The Skin Clinic & Aesthetics, we do all three types of chemical peels (light, medium and deep). Chemical peels are a great way to deeply renew and rejuvenate your skin, and it’s important to make sure they are performed with the highest standards of care, patience and caution to achieve the very best results.

Best Serum After Chemical Peel

Chemical peels — whether done at home or in the dermatologist’s office — will make your skin more sensitive than usual. Since your body starts creating new skin after your procedure, you’re going to need to take extra-good care of it in the weeks following your treatment. According to Exuviance Brand Partner and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Noelani González, M.D., F.A.A.D., with whom Elite Daily spoke with for this article, the best moisturizers after a chemical peel contain nourishing and hydrating ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin. Some other ways to care for your skin after a chemical peel? “Stay away from any exfoliating ingredients, retinols, or other acids, such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid post-peel,” says Dr. González, and stick to calming skin care products in general by only using gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreen to hydrate and protect the incoming skin.

Though it all depends on the type of chemical peel you have done, Dr. González says most people should expect some redness, stinging, and peeling after a chemical peel. For superficial to medium-depth chemical peels, peeling will last for about three to seven days; for deeper chemical peels, the peeling and redness will most likely last longer.

To give your post-peel skin some much-needed TLC, pick up any of the best moisturizers for after a chemical peel, featured ahead.

Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm A.D

Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm A.D

If you’re wondering how to care for your skin after a chemical peel, start by applying Avène’s XeraCalm A.D moisturizer daily. It’s designed for people with eczema, atopic dermatitis, or generally dry, itchy, irritated skin, so it’s an ideal moisturizer for using post-procedure. The 100% sterile formula, which is enriched with soothing thermal spring water and the emollient glycerin, contains no fragrance, parabens, or preservatives, and comes in an airless, pump-top bottle that prevents contaminants from getting inside. Also, it boasts the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association — another good sign that it’s a super-gentle choice for irritated skin.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

This is another great moisturizer for post-procedure skin, but it comes in a massive, 19-ounce tub and costs about half the price as XeraCalm. Formulated with barrier-strengthening ceramides, hydrating glycerin, and moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid, it’s a fragrance-free, oil-free, hypoallergenic cream that, like XeraCalm, boasts the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance. You can use this from your head to your toes, too (and you may as well, given the amount of product you’ll be getting).

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra

If you prefer lighter-weight creams and lotions, or if you’re looking for a daily moisturizer to use during summer, go with La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra. It doesn’t contain any potential irritants (like added fragrances, parabens, or bad alcohols), but it does contain lots of good-for-skin nourishers like glycerin, squalane, shea butter, and thermal spring water. Like XeraCalm, this is packaged in an airtight container that won’t let in any contaminants.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream

Love the refreshing, slightly cooling feel you get from gel creams? Then Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Gel Cream will be a real treat for your post-procedure skin. Made with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, it’s noncomedogenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free, so it’s a great choice for dry, sensitive, and oily skin alike.

Pro tip: If you’re dealing with burning or stinging, amp up the cooling effect even further by storing this in the fridge.

EltaMD UV Daily

EltaMD UV Daily

Dr. González stressed the importance of “rigorous” sunscreen application after getting a chemical peel. And this one, from derm-favorite brand EltaMD, was formulated specifically for post-procedure skin, so it’ll be perfect. It’s a mineral-based sunscreen with SPF 40 that’s enriched with hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day. It’s free of parabens, fragrance, and other common irritants, and it’s noncomedogenic and non-greasy as well.

That said, check with your doctor before going out into the sun after your peel, as some can make your skin more photosensitive than others.


Dr. Noelani González, M.D., F.A.A.D., a board-certified dermatologist and Exuviance Brand Partner.

What To Put On Face After Chemical Peel

Petroleum jelly can be used on peeling skin for the first few days after a deep peel, or as needed. Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer like AveenoR, VanicreamR, CetaphilR, or CeraVeR when you notice your skin peeling so that it can heal and return to normal.

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