Chemical Peel After Care Instructions

What To Expect

  • When you leave the office: You will look like you have a light pink or white “film” or frosting on your skin, and you will have a thin layer of ointment on the treated areas. The light pink look will fade leaving a mild redness like sunburn, typically within an hour or two.
  • For 3-4 days post peel: You will experience swelling and tightness of the skin that may be uncomfortable. Facial movement maybe more difficult. The skin will turn red, blister and crust, and may look similar to a very bad sunburn before it heals. As the swelling decreases, the tight skin turns darker than normal appearance.
  • 5+ days: Gradually you will notice that your skin will begin to peel. Do not assist the peeling process. Allow your skin to peel naturally. The peeling usually lasts from one to two weeks but may last longer. There is a risk of temporary or permanent pigment (color) change in the skin. There is a rare incidence of scarring. There is also the rare incidence of allergy to the creams used after the peel.

Skin Care

  • Wash face twice daily with a gentle cleanser. Use fingertips to cleanse your skin as your skin will be very sensitive. After washing, pat dry with a clean towel; do not reuse the towel.
  • Keep all treated areas covered with a thin layer of Aquaphor or petroleum ointment (Vaseline). The ointment application will need to be repeated several times a day as necessary to keep the area from feeling dry. Your treatment area must NOT be allowed to dry out (with hard scabs and crusts; doing so will increase your risk of scarring. Do not use Neosporin, skin lotions or sunscreens.
  • You may decrease the amount and frequency of ointment each day as your skin heals, eventually just spot treating any residual peeling or raw areas. Most patients will actually peel more than once; with subsequent finer peeling over 2-3 weeks.

Additional After Care

  • Three aspirin or ibuprofen may be taken 3-4 times daily to reduce swelling. It is advised that you sleep on several pillows the first night to reduce swelling.
  • Continue the antiviral prescription (if prescribed) for its entire course. Call the office immediately if you have signs of infection, such as fever, blisters, pustules, or thick yellow or green discharge. (not clear yellow – this is normal)
  • ITCHING can be treated with diphenhydramine (Benadryl) every 4-6 hours as needed. If this is not adequate, call the office.
  • ACNE may flare up the week following resurfacing. Spot application of an over the counter benzoyl peroxide product for sensitive skin will typically help.

Follow Up

  • A follow-up appointment will be given 5-7 days following your peel as part of the treatment program in assessing your progress. Keeping your appointment is imperative.
  • Once you have your follow-up appointment, you will be cleared to wear sunscreen and a hat to prevent hyperpigmentation immediately after healing. Until cleared, you must wear a hat, avoid exposure to sunlight, and do not apply sunscreen.
  • You will need to avoid the sun for at least one month after your peel. Your prescription creams can be applied after the first 1-2 weeks, but remember, your skin will be more sensitive than usual.