A chemical peel is a useful cosmetic procedure that can help you with various issues. It is particularly associated with helping to fight back against various signs of aging. There’s no denying that it does, in fact, help to smooth and tighten the skin in the aftermath of the peel. You can even use one to help even out pigmentation issues in some cases. Peels work by acting as a special kind of potent chemical exfoliation that in turn gives you all the benefits of the habit compounded into one big procedure. It shouldn’t replace regular exfoliation by any means, but it can be a useful way to give your skin a boost. Most of us think of it as a simple procedure. While the procedure may be simple, you do need to spend a lot of time after it caring for your skin properly to ensure that it recovers well. Let’s take a look at the kind of things you’ll need to do so that you can decide if a peel is right for you.
The Sun Isn’t Your Friend
As we highlighted, peels are a form of exfoliation. This means that they remove the outermost layers of your skin to help improve clarity and overall look of your skin. Clearly away dead skin and dissolving away oils does a lot, but it is important to remember that that is also compromising your skin’s natural defense system. Those layers of skin and the natural moisture barrier are how your skin protects you from sun damage. In the days and weeks following a peel, you need to be particularly mindful about going out in the sun for any length of time. Even the shortest period of sun exposure can do more damage to your skin than it otherwise would. You’ll want to load up on sunscreen as a result of this. Favor physical blockers such as zinc oxide in your sunscreens. They’ll offer you broad spectrum protection and actually reflect the harmful UV rays. You’ll also want to make sure the sunscreen is SPF 30 or higher for the best protection possible.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
This is a given for most people after a peel as you want to ensure your skin feels soothed and is taken care of when the peeling is going on. The catch is that you need to be very careful about how often you moisturize. Most of us are going to reflexively start moisturizing that much more to help keep our skin from annoying us, but this isn’t advisable. Remember that you want your skin to peel. Moisturizing more than usual will diminish the overall effectiveness of the procedure. Additionally, over moisturizing will actually end up causing you still over skin issues. The best habit you can have after getting a peel is to keep moisturizing as if everything were normal. Don’t swap to a heavier moisturizer. Don’t moisturize more times a day than you did before. Let the peel do its job while simultaneously not slacking on your usual care routine. This should help ensure your skin is healthy even as it peels.
Use Common Sense
The peeling you experience from a peel is due to the strength of the exfoliation. Aftercare is all about managing the negative effects of a particularly strong peel and ensuring your skin recovers well. The same rules you’d abide in normal skincare apply here too: don’t exfoliate when your skin has been exfoliated too much. All that irritation and inflammation isn’t going to go away if you keep encouraging it. Generally, you’ll want to talk to your doctor for an exact length of time to skip exfoliating in your personal routine, but as a general rule, you shouldn’t do it for the length of your recovery. You also want to remember the classic advice of parents and guardians everywhere: don’t pick at it or it won’t heal well. This is incredibly true of a peel when your skin can and will start flaking off. You want it to do this. What you don’t want to do is accidentally hurt your skin by tearing it when picking off some of the flaking skin. Allow nature to take its course and your skin will finish peeling eventually.
These are some of the general aftercare rules for peels. There are specific instructions that get attached to the various levels of peel though. Doctor’s will frequently have you wash your face in a particular solution each day or ensure a medicated cream is applied to keep the skin healthy for the duration of the healing process. Listen to these other instructions very carefully. Combining them with this general care advice is what will ensure you get what you want out of your peel and not any new imperfection in your skin.