How to Take Care of Your Skin After a Chemical Peel


Chemical peels are a tried-and-tested method to rejuvenate your skin. It takes away layers of lacklustre skin to reveal a flawless, clearer, and more radiant complexion. But the success of this beauty secret vastly depends if you religiously follow the chemical peel aftercare guidelines recommended by your aesthetician, which you should never neglect. Aside from making sure that you get the picture-perfect results you were hoping for, taking care of your skin after a peel also makes the post-treatment effects more manageable and prevents any adverse reactions.

 Woman getting a chemical peel Mississauga

In this blog, we’ll breakdown everything you need to know, from what to expect after getting a peel and a complete list of chemical peel aftercare tips we advise our clients.

Let’s dive right in!

Woman with beautiful skin

Chemical Peel 101

There are varying degrees and depth of peeling, depending on the active ingredient in the solution and the type of chemical peel treatment you have chosen.

Generally, most superficial to medium-strength peels can take anywhere from three to five days to resurface a fresh new layer of smooth and pinkish skin underneath. On the other hand, deep peels, such as phenol peels, get to the deepest layers of the epidermis. They require as much as seven to 10 days to recover from, but they offer the most promising results in exchange.

Is your skin not peeling after a chemical peel? It could be caused by a wide array of factors. Most common causes could be either it’s your first time to get a peel, you’ve had too many peels without adequate intervals, or your skin has suffered from severe sun damage and needs a couple more treatments.

But generally, in all types of peels, the actual peeling will only be noticeable on the third-day post-treatment. However, within a few moments after the application of the peeling solution, you can expect the following:

  • Your skin will feel significantly tighter than it usually does
  • There can be some redness around the treated area
  • A hint of yellow-ish tinge, which will disappear after a couple of hours
  • Itching, tingling, or burning sensation

All of these issues will resolve on their own as your skin recuperates at its own pace. Check out these chemical peel aftercare tips to make sure the results are worth it and make the whole process comfortable for you, too!

Keep Your Hair Away From Your Face

After a chemical peel, your skin may feel slightly raw and sensitive. Strands of hair continually getting in contact with your skin may cause itch and irritation, which can make you feel uneasy. Tie your hair and pull it away from your face. Use a headband or clip if your locks are too short to be kept in a bun or ponytail. Be extra careful when combing your hair, so you do not accidentally graze your skin in the facial area, which can lead to a scratch or a wound that may trigger infection or a breakout.

Hands Off!

Touching your face is a major sin against proper chemical peel aftercare. Understandably it’s going to be excruciating to stop yourself from feeling, poking, scratching, or picking dry and flaking skin with your fingers. However, doing so may lead to unpleasant consequences, such as scabbing and scarring. The best course of action is to leave your skin be. Let your skin continually peel off naturally.

Skip the Hot Water

For the first seven days after your chemical peel treatment, avoid soaking, showering, or washing your face with hot water. The heat from the water may be too much to bear for your freshly peeled skin. It can scald you or cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Steam also opens up the pores, which at your post-peel condition can only increase your skin’s vulnerability to bacteria and infection.

Don’t Sweat It Out

Refrain from staying in locations with high temperatures like a sauna or a steam room. Postpone working out or doing any form of vigorous physical activities that can cause you to sweat profusely. Excessive sweating can clog your pores and trigger skin irritation afterwards.

Use a Gentle Cleanser

Another crucial part of effective chemical peel aftercare is finding a mild cleanser that can effectively get rid of the debris and other impurities without irritating the skin, which is at its delicate healing state. Cleansers with soothing and calming properties may also help in easing the discomfort and itching during the first few weeks of peeling.

Do Not Scrub or Exfoliate the Skin

Chemical peels compromise the skin’s protective barrier temporarily. You mustn’t do anything to disturb the topmost layer of the skin as it is healing. Do not use cleansing products with microbead exfoliators or with any ingredient known for its exfoliating benefit because they can be abrasive for your skin. Steer clear of facial scrubs, sonic cleansing brush, and washcloths while your skin hasn’t completely healed yet. When drying the peeled skin after cleansing, do not rub, but pat dry with a soft absorbent towel instead.

Woman holding a bottle of mist

Moisturize And Hydrate

After a chemical peel treatment, your skin may look and feel parched and dry. It’s essential to take a proactive approach when it comes to moisturizing and hydrating your skin to strengthen and speed up the skin’s healing,

Here are a few steps that you can take.

  • Apply moisturizer after cleansing.
  • Spritz hydrating mist onto the skin instead of reapplying your moisturizer
  • Drinking plenty of water every day will also work wonders not just for your skin but for your overall health as well.

These chemical peel aftercare tips will not only help freshen you up and boost your skin’s moisture, but they can also minimize itching and tingling sensations.

Avoid Over Moisturizing

When you see your skin parched and peeling, it’s almost a reflex to lather lots of moisturizers. While this may make sense and feel nice on your skin, it’s going to be counterproductive. It’s going to stall the chemical peeling agent from working its magic into your skin.

Take Sunscreen Seriously

Chemical peel treatment is a cosmetic treatment that makes you susceptible to photosensitivity. This is why sunscreen is the most crucial chemical peel aftercare step that you should never take for granted. If you had a chemical peel on the face, you have to be extra cautious. As it is the thinnest and most delicate skin in the body, the face can be dramatically impacted by excessive and unprotected sun exposure.

These side effects include:

  • Sunburn
  • Rashes
  • Redness
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Scarring
  • Hyperpigmentation (blemishes, dark spots, freckles, etc.)
  • Skin darkening
  • Photoaging, the culprit behind fine lines and wrinkles, premature aging symptoms
  • Cancer of the skin

To keep your freshly peeled skin protected, limit your outdoor activities as much as possible during the first week post-treatment or until your skin has fully healed. Don’t go outside without applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high protection factor of at least SPF 50. Use sunscreen regardless of the weather. Even if it’s a cloudy, rainy, or wintry day, ultraviolet rays are still present and can damage your skin.

Sunscreen is a non-negotiable chemical peel aftercare step. Wea it religiously every time you step outside even if you are going to run a few errands quickly or will be driving around your car the whole time. Don’t forget to reapply after a couple of hours. Some spray sunscreens may contain alcohol that can sting on the peeled skin. Opt for a powder-based sunscreen and use a clean makeup brush to dust lightly. Don a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, which can give your skin an extra layer of protection from harmful UV rays.

Woman applying blush on

Can I Wear Makeup After a Chemical Peel?

In our chemical peel aftercare guidelines, we advise our patients to avoid or use makeup sparingly if necessary. Since the skin’s protective barrier has been displaced in the meantime, there is a heightened risk of exposure to dangerous ingredients found in makeup, such as chemical contaminants, heavy metals, and minerals that can lodge themselves into the layers of the skin. Apart from possibly impeding the skin’s natural healing process, wearing makeup can also irritate it.

Ideally, you should wait for at least seven to 10 days or longer after a chemical peel treatment before getting your hands into cosmetic products again. Take advantage of this period to give your skin a chance to recover and breathe from wearing makeup all day.

Nevertheless, if you really have to wear makeup, perhaps for a major client meeting or presentation for work, here are a few tips that can help you.

  • Prep the skin with a hydrating and moisturizing gel primer.
  • Apply a lightweight sunscreen that you can layer under your makeup.
  • Skip the foundation, which only highlights the flaking. Use a moisture-loaded BB cream or tinted moisturizer instead.
  • Top it off with a hydrating mist instead of a makeup setting spray.

Don’t forget to remove your makeup as soon as you get home or before going to bed. Wash with a mild cleanser and soothe the skin with an evening cream or moisturizer approved by your aesthetician.

Book Your Chemical Peel Today!

If you are interested to know more about McLean Clinic’s chemical peel aftercare guidelines and the cosmetic treatments we offer, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you immediately.

Book a consultation now!


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