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Chemical Peel Aftercare: Proper Patient Recovery

By Peter Fisher, MD on January 19, 2018


A woman getting a chemical peelWhile facial plastic surgery can help tighten skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, many patients can benefit from non-surgical procedures. These cosmetic skin care options involve no incisions and less downtime. This may explain why chemical peels are so popular at our San Antonio, TX practice.

After a chemical peel is performed, patients will have a recovery process ahead of them. Below are some of the basics of chemical peel aftercare, which should give you an idea of what to expect if you’re considering this non-surgical treatment.

Will I Need to Take Time Off from Work?

It’s a good idea to take a few days off from work to recover. Your skin will be peeling and it's best to allow the process to take place in the privacy of your own home. The amount of time you’ll need to take off from work will vary depending on the strength and depth of your chemical peel.

Common Side Effects After a Chemical Peel

Before getting into some individual tips about aftercare, here are some common see effects people experience after a chemical peel:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Crusting and scabbing
  • Peeling of the skin
  • Skin irritation
  • Tender/sensitive skin
  • Dryness of the skin

Don’t Touch Your Skin as It Peels

The irritation, crusting, and redness you experience after a chemical peels are all part of the process. Be sure to avoid touching or scratching your face as it peels. And definitely do not pick at the crusts that form. Let the crusts fall on their own. Touching your skin might wind up doing more harm than good as you are recovering.

Be Gentle with Your Skin

While you’re recovering from a chemical peel, be sure to avoid using a washcloth or any type of abrasive materials on your skin. Be gentle when patting and drying your face clean after cleansing to avoid doing unintentional damage.

Keep Your Hair Tied Back

If you have long hair, tie it back during the recovery process. Hair on your face can irritate the skin and be uncomfortable. Best to relax as best as your can.

Moisturize as Directed

Following a chemical peel, you will be instructed to moisturize your skin to help with healing and to ease the irritation. This can be quite soothing. Be sure to only use approved products on your skin to ensure optimal healing and a low risk of potential complications.

Avoid Exposure to the Sun

Direct sun exposure while you are recovering from a chemical peel can lead to poor results and more serious side effects. Be sure to limit your time outdoors and to avoid the sun as best as possible. Sunblock can be worn if needed, and you should consider sunglasses and a hat with a brim as well.

Avoid Strenuous Physical Activity

Light exercise such as walking and stretching is okay after a chemical peel, but vigorous exercise should be avoided. Sweating and straining can lead to poor results and worse side effects.

Eat Healthy as Your Skin Peels and Heals

There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that acidic diets can increase the skin irritation experienced during chemical peel recovery. Be sure to eat a healthy diet, and to avoid foods high in acidity, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits.

Learn More About Chemical Peels

To learn more about chemical peels and how they can help you have skin that look youthful and refreshed, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic surgeon and skin care specialist. The tram at the San Antonio Plastic Surgery Center will help you look your very best.

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