This is a guest post courtesy of Dr. Craig Crippen of DermMedica, a skin care clinic located in beautiful Kelowna, BC.
Chemical peels are a great skincare treatment for a variety of issues. They typically come in three groups: light, medium, and deep. Lighter peels are more superficial and used to treat lesser skin issues like wrinkles or light acne, while deep peels penetrate much further in your skin to help treat more serious skin issues like cystic acne or acne scars.
After each type of chemical peel, you will be given specific instructions on what to do and what not to do in the aftermath. Here are some general tips that will help you maintain the benefits you get from chemical peels after getting the treatment.
Avoid Sun Damage
Chemical peels mainly work by removing the surface layer of skin cells to expose and strengthen a new, younger, healthier layer. However, in the immediate aftermath of the treatment, your skin will be more sensitive to things like the UV radiation from sunlight. In addition to being more prone to sunburn, unprotected exposure to the sun can undo a lot of the benefits of chemical peels.
That’s why you should avoid having your skin exposed to the sun as much as possible by staying indoors and away from windows. When you can’t avoid it, always cover up your skin with clothing and use good-quality hydrating sunscreen on the parts of your skin you can’t cover. If you get a deeper chemical peel, you may need to keep this up for a few months.
Keep Your Skin Moisturized
It is always a good idea to keep your skin hydrated with moisturizers, but it is even more important after getting a chemical peel. Your new surface layer of skin will be more sensitive for a while. In fact, it will likely be red and peeling, similar to when you get a sunburn. Depending on how strong your treatment is, this can last from as little as a few days up to a couple of weeks.
During this phase, you can reduce these after-effects and maintain the benefits of your chemical peel by keeping your skin as well moisturized as you can. If you use sunscreen, get one that includes hydrating properties. At night, apply moisturizing products before you go to bed to help hydrate your skin while you sleep.
Keep Your Skin Cool
We already mentioned how your skin will feel like it was sunburned after getting a chemical peel, and it will also be hot and inflamed as a result. Inflammation is a big factor in a number of skin problems, such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis. You should always avoid having skin that is hot and inflamed for prolonged periods of time.
This means you should avoid taking hot showers, too much exercise that gets your whole body hot and sweaty and using any skin care products that involve heating your skin. Instead, use cooler water to shower and clean your skin, as well as other at home treatments and products that will reduce inflammation and cool your skin down.
Be Very Gentle With Your Skin
In the immediate days and weeks after getting the treatment, you should be very gentle with your skin and how you care for it. Despite flaking and peeling as the old layer of skin comes off, you should avoid touching or peeling away the dead skin. Doing so may actually damage your new layer of skin and cause scabbing.
You should also absolutely avoid using harsh or abrasive products or skincare routines — no strong chemicals, exfoliants, abrasive cloths or brushes! Instead, when you want to get rid of the dead skin as it peels away, use cool water and gentle products to wash it away. Don’t overdo the washing though, as you might start stripping away the new layer of skin too. You should also use products that provide a soothing, calming effect to your skin.
About the Author:
Born and raised in Ottawa Ontario, Dr Crippen has attended three Canadian Universities and obtained four educational titles including his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). After receiving his M.D. from the University of Western Ontario in 2001, Dr. Crippen then completed his speciality training at the University of Manitoba over the next two years. He has worked extensively in public and private medicine since 2003, but in response to rising demand, Dr Crippen has devoted his practice exclusively to both medical & cosmetic skin care procedures/treatments at his clinic.
A Fellow of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, and a diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery in Cosmetic Procedures, Dr. Crippen has trained with physicians who are at the forefront of laser & aesthetic medicine. He has made many educational visits to medical laser clinics throughout North America and Europe.