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    The Do’s and Don’ts of Chemical Peel Aftercare

      |  Mar 13, 2023

    The name “chemical peel” can sound alarming at first, but this powerful skin treatment is safe and effective for many people. The peel removes dead skin cells so fresher layers of skin have their chance to shine. While this treatment is performed in-office, it requires some additional care at home.

    Knowing how to take care of your skin is the key to seeing continuous results after your treatment. It’s also important to understand what a chemical peel is designed to treat and how it works. Then, you’ll be ready to protect your complexion and enjoy a fresh new look.

    What Is a Chemical Peel?

    Chemical peels use highly concentrated solutions that contain acids, antioxidants, and moisturizers to penetrate the skin and stimulate cell turnover and collagen production. After a few days, the topmost layer of dead skin dissolves and peels away, revealing smoother, more even skin.  

    Some of the most common ingredients in a chemical peel include trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, phenol, tretinoin, and vitamin C. 

    Chemical peels are ideal for treating the signs of aging, like surface lines. They can also help reduce the appearance of age spots and wrinkles and give you a more even skin tone. The effectiveness of a chemical peel depends on the type of peel you get and the intensity of the ingredients.

    Follow our chemical peel aftercare do’s and don’ts when you get home—in a few days, everyone will ask for your skincare secrets. 


    Let your skin peel.

    Avoid the temptation to pick, peel, or rub your skin once the peeling starts. Doing so will only cause irritation and potential breakouts and scarring, so just let your skin do its thing. Once your skin is no longer extra-sensitive—after about seven to 10 days—or when your skincare provider gives you the go-ahead, you may gently exfoliate with an enzyme product that will eliminate any remaining dead skin.

    Practice sun safety. 

    A chemical peel increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun’s rays, so staying out of the sun and using an effective sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 are critical. Any time you’re exposed to the sun—even just sitting near a sunny window—your new skin is vulnerable to damage, so layer on a quality sunscreen for protection. We offer the EltaMD® UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46, a sheer chemical sunscreen, and the EltaMD® UV Restore Broad Spectrum SPF 40 as a mineral option.

    Use gentle products. 

    After your peel, avoid harsh cleansers, retinol, and abrasive products. This includes cleansing brushes and cloths. Instead, use gentle, soap-free products that soothe and cleanse your sensitive skin. The Alastin® Gentle Cleanser is suitable for daily use, including after skin treatments.

    Moisturize for comfort. 

    When your skin feels dry, itchy, and irritated, you might instinctively reach for the moisturizer. However, avoid over-moisturizing after a peel—the dryness is part of the process. If you need to moisturize to alleviate discomfort, choose a mild cream without harsh ingredients or a gentle hydrating mist. Your skincare provider may recommend specific ointments or moisturizers to prevent irritation and support healing. 


    Get additional treatments.

    When their clients have a chemical peel, skin experts recommend waiting at least two weeks to schedule additional procedures. This includes Botox and dermal filler injections, facial waxing, or any other procedure that could be abrasive on the skin. 

    Overheat your skin.

    Saunas, hot tubs, tanning beds, and strenuous workouts that lead to excessive sweating can irritate your skin after a peel and potentially cause an infection that extends recovery time. Excess heat can increase circulation to your face and intensify side effects, so stay cool for a few days after treatment. Another side effect of excessive heat is a change to your skin pigment, so stay out of the heat to prevent discoloration.


    A chemical peel exfoliates your skin, so using exfoliating products to remove more skin can cause damage and irritation. The new skin doesn’t have dead skin cells or other impurities that need removal, so exfoliation is unnecessary. No matter how much you want to speed up the removal of dead skin, avoid using any exfoliating chemicals or products until the surface heals.


    Chemical peels are an example of making something worse to make it better. For the first week or so after your treatment, you might feel self-conscious about your appearance or have concerns about whether what you’re experiencing is normal. Complications from chemical peels are rare, so your best bet is to relax and trust the process, knowing any discomfort will pay off. You should see fresh skin within a week and continuous improvement in your skin over the next few weeks. 

    When you visit Modern Age for a complimentary skin consultation and chemical peel, our NYC skin experts will provide specific aftercare instructions and product recommendations to give you the best possible results. We know that skin health and overall wellness are deeply personal, so our advice is tailored to your unique needs and concerns—no one-size-fits-all solutions here. Book your consultation to get to know your skin on a whole new level.