How to prepare for a chemical peel in 5 steps

Pretty skin! Chemical peels are a popular and effective way to treat acne, remove wrinkles, clear dark mark and achieve beautiful, glowing skin.  For best results it’s a good idea to have a plan.  Here is how to prepare for a chemical peel:


How to prepare for a chemical peel


  1. consider products used

    Chemical peels exfoliate the skin.  If you are using products that also have that effect, such as retinoids, salicylic acid or glycolic acid you might want to stops them for three days before your peel to reduce the risk of irritation.  Ask your dermatologist before your procedure.

  2. consider social downtime

    One of the expected side effects of a chemical peel is that, well, your skin will peel.  Although sometimes the peeling is not visible at all, as is often the case with lighter glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels. With peels such as the Vi Peel, modified Jessner’s peel or TCA  (trichloracetic acid) peels, and others you should expect to peel like a snake for a few days.  Sometimes the skin also gets red after a chemical peel.  Unless you don’t mind peeling in front of other people, consider your work and social calendar when you schedule your chemical peel.

  3. consider medications

    Some medications, such as topical and oral retinoids, make the skin more sensitive to a peeling agent.  Always check with your dermatologist to see if and when you can get a chemical peel based on your prescriptions.

  4. consider underlying skin conditions

    Conditions such as eczema and seborrheic dermatitis allow a chemical peel to penetrate deeper. This increases the risk of irritation with the procedure.  These conditions should be treated and clear before the peel.  And as the exfoliation induced by a peel compromises the skin barrier, spread of infection is a risk.  Chemical peels should be avoided when one has an active infection, such as impetigo, or herpes (cold sore).

  5. consider pregnancy and breastfeeding

    Use if some of the ingredients in chemical peels, such as salicylic acid, are not recommended in pregnancy or breastfeeding.  Glycolic acid, which is derived from sugar, is thought to be harmless. As with all medical procedures, inform your dermatologist if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before your procedure.

How to prepare for a chemical peel: BONUS

Have an after care plan:

Chemical peel after care is as important to safety and achieving the gorgeous skin desired as the procedure itself.  Some peels come with their own kits with after care products and instructions.  Special care is usually required for about a week after the procedure. The general recommendations for chemical peel after care are to :

  • stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen daily
  • moisturize, moisturize, moisturize — at least 2-4 times daily
  • Don’t pick at peeling skin.  Moisturize to help is come off without causing damage
  • Avoid waxing for 1 week
  • Take a break from applying skin care with other exfoliating agents unless advised by your dermatologist

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