Chemical peels are a popular medical and cosmetic treatment that can be used to treat many common skin issues such as wrinkles, dark spots, acne scars and Melasma. However, many people have a slightly skewed idea of how recovering from these treatments works.
Chemical peel recovery time can take anywhere from two days to more than two weeks to heal, depending on the kind of peel being used. You can do a few things to ease your recovery, including pretreatment steps that can make the process easier for your skin.
Here is what you need to know about recovering from chemical peels.
What is a Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels are a beauty technique that utilizes a solution, usually made with various skin-safe acids, to remove a layer (or multiple layers) of dead or old skin. This can be used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions ranging from acne and melasma to signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.
How Chemical Peels Work
Chemical peels work by essentially dissolving the damaged skin on the surface by breaking down the cells and causing them to slough off. This reveals the new, healthy skin underneath.
Most of these treatments are done in a single session by a professional beautician. The technician thoroughly cleans and sanitizes the skin where the treatment will be applied. Then, the peel is applied in a reasonably thin layer and allowed to sit for several minutes. During this time, you may experience mild stinging or burning. This is normal.
Once the solution has done its work, the technician will apply a neutralizing agent and wash the peel off or, depending on the peel, you may leave it on for 24 hours. Your aesthetician will give you advice for skincare, such as staying out of the sun or avoiding cosmetics, which you should follow for an effective recovery.
What are the Benefits of a Chemical Peel?
Chemical peels are minimally invasive and help to revitalize surface layers of the skin by exfoliating dead skin cells using FDA-cleared chemical peel solutions. The result is healthier, younger-looking skin with little downtime.
- Improves skin tone and texture
- Reduces the appearance of acne scars
- Exfoliates dead skin cells
- Treats hyperpigmentation, brown spots and sunspots
- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- Controls melasma breakouts
- Stimulates cellular renewal
Best results are achieved through a series of customized treatments along with prescribed home care products.
What to Expect for Chemical Peel Recovery Time
Immediately after the treatment, your skin may be irritated and may turn red or swell. You may experience a brief spike in the sensitivity of your skin in the days following the treatment, even after the initial irritation has gone away.
You may find that your skin is slightly lighter or darker than it was before the treatment. This is normal and will resolve itself in a few days. This means that the peel is working.
Depending on the size of the area treated, either your face or a larger portion of your body, and the intensity of the peel, your recovery may take from a few days to a couple of weeks or more.
Most light peels done by beauticians are considered “light peels” and will have relatively short recovery periods.
There are things you can do before your treatment to make your recovery easier as well.
You may wish to use a retinoid cream to improve your skin’s natural healing ability and to reduce the risk of side effects. You can take a pain reliever before your appointment to manage the stinging sensation during the treatment.
You should also avoid certain kinds of hair removal, such as depilatory creams and laser treatments. Try to avoid shaving or applying any masks or skincare products to the skin you’ll be treating for at least 24 hours prior to your appointment.
Post-treatment, to ease your recovery and make sure your peel is as effective as possible, remember to do the following:
- Avoid applying any skincare or cosmetics to the treated area for at least one day, up to a week, post-treatment to avoid breakouts.
- Taking over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can relieve the irritation caused by the procedure.
- Protective ointments like petroleum jelly and unscented lotions can soothe the treated skin. Use only products approved by your technician.
- Reduce your exposure to the sun. Use sunscreen if you’re going to be outside for any length of time, wear a hat or long clothing, and avoid standing in direct sunlight.
- Do not apply direct heat, such as a heating pad or hot shower water, to the affected area during the recovery process.
- Use only your hands to clean the affected area, as brushes and cloths may further irritate your skin.
Call a medical professional immediately if you notice anything that seems out of place or wrong with your treated skin or if the pain becomes particularly intense.
You should also immediately notify your aesthetician if, during the treatment, the pain becomes extreme or you notice unusual changes in your skin or body. These could be signs of an allergic reaction, for which you should immediately end the treatment and seek medical help.
Chemical Peel FAQS
Here are some common questions about chemical peel treatments.
How much does a chemical peel cost?
This depends on your location and the experience of your beautician, and the intensity of the treatment. They start at around $125, but some of the best chemical peels can average around $500-$600.
Are chemical peels safe?
As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with chemical peels. Most of them involve sun damage and allergic reactions. Generally, though, chemical peels are considered safe.
How long do chemical peel results last?
New sun damage and aging can result in a lessened effect from peels. However, most peels will have long-lasting results on the skin, with noticeable effects for up to a month or longer after treatment. These results may not be dramatic but can be built upon with future peeling treatments.
Chemical peels are a safe and effective way to treat aging or damaged skin if done by a professional. If you’re unsure about whether chemical peels are right for you, talk to your local beauty technician or doctor.
They can specify exact treatments that will work for your specific skin condition or even develop a custom treatment based on your needs.
As long as you take care of your skin before, during, and after a chemical peel treatment, you’ll make a smooth, efficient recovery and be able to reap the benefits of fresh, healthy skin.
UGlow Face & Body in Old Town is the exclusive provider in Arizona for VKMD Scottsdale Chemical Peel, which are medical-grade, prescription strength and performance-driven peels. These chemical peels are minimally invasive and help to restore deceased layers of the skin by exfoliating skin cells using FDA-cleared chemical peel solutions. The result is amazing looking skin with little downtime.
UGlow Face & Body is female-owned and -operated. In order to provide the best (nonsurgical) results, UGlow offers treatments (and customized treatment plans) that can’t be found anywhere else in Arizona. Collectively, the team has 38 years of experience in the aesthetic industry and has performed well over 100,000 treatments.
Call UGlow Face & Body today to schedule your complimentary skin assessment. To book an appointment, call (602) 780-2672. For more information about UGlow Face & Body in Scottsdale, visit uglowfaceandbody.com.