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What to Expect During Chemical Peel Recovery Time

What To Expect During Chemical Peel Recovery Time

If this is your first chemical peel, you may be wondering what you can expect after your chemical peel treatment:

  • Will your skin be red and swollen?
  • Can you still go out in public?
  • Will there be pain?
  • How much peeling should you expect?
  • When can you wear makeup and use your favorite face products again?

We receive these types of questions all the time from our chemical peel patients. That’s why we wanted to consolidate the answers into one easy-to-find location.

Read on to learn more about the chemical peel process day by day and what to expect in terms of side effects and when you can return to a normal routine after the procedure.

5 Things to Expect After a Chemical Peel

Although the chemical peels only take about 30 minutes to an hour, you’ll notice the actual chemical peel process day by day after your procedure.

From the moment you arrive home after visiting Dr. Ramanadham’s office for your peel, you should expect the following:

1. Redness

Redness tends to show up after medium and deep chemical peels. Sometimes, with a deep chemical peel, the redness can actually turn to slight scabbing. Most of the time, this redness after a deep chemical peel will begin to dissipate after about one to two weeks, but in some cases, it may take longer. Following the deep chemical peel aftercare instructions provided to you by Dr. Ramanadham can help to reduce this redness more quickly.

2. Tingling and burning sensations

Minor irritations usually show up for just the first few days after chemical peels. From then on, you shouldn’t have much additional discomfort. After chemical peels sensations range from overall soreness to slight tingling feelings — a bit like light needle pricks. If you notice anything more painful than this, contact whoever performed your chemical peel to ensure the healing process is progressing well.

3. Peeling

Peeling will usually occur around two to three days into the healing process. Once it starts, it can last anywhere from two to five days.

Make sure that you never peel the skin off yourself — even if it’s started and you’re just helping it along. Just let it fall off naturally, and do not pick at your skin. Doing so can compromise your results. You may even end up with hyperpigmentation if you pick or peel off skin that isn’t ready to come off.

4. A slightly darker complexion

After the peeling stage, many who undergo chemical peels notice that their skin looks slightly darker. This usually occurs as the skin is peeling off or around the third or fourth day.

This is perfectly normal and may last for several weeks. In some cases, the darker pigment coincides with some lingering redness. This simply indicates that new, healthier skin is forming.

5. Light acne breakouts

Slight breakouts of single blemishes or areas of acne may occur toward the end of the peeling process. Again, this is generally caused by general skin irritation during and right after the peel.

Unfortunately, many patients are particularly unhappy that breakouts occur after their peel because they may have gotten the peel in the first place to help handle acne and breakouts. The good news is, this acne is usually short-lived. It generally clears up within a few days, and after that, you’ll start to see your new, fresh, and beautiful skin.

The Chemical Peel Process Day by Day

Whether it is a medium chemical peel or a deep peel, this is what you can expect from the chemical peel process day by day:

  • Day 1: Tingling and redness will be the first symptoms you experience, especially right after the procedure and for the first few hours. This can often be particularly acute with a deep peel.
  • Days 2 and 3: Your treated skin will continue to be irritated and look red and dried out. Some mild swelling may occur. Peeling will begin, and you may notice some flaking and imperfections too.
  • Day 4: Around this time, pimples may form, and your skin will appear slightly darker in color. Dryness and redness may also continue.
  • Days 5 and 6: Your treated skin should start to “calm down” at this time. This is around the time when you’ll feel more comfortable going out in public if you wish.
  • Day 7 and beyond: Finally, your new healthy skin will appear! You can usually go back to wearing makeup and using your regular skin care products if you wish (though check with your surgeon). Some redness may linger, but this should dissipate more and more each day.

Are You a Good Candidate for a Chemical Peel?

There are different types of chemical peels. Most patients who are interested in a medium chemical peel are looking to correct minor imperfections. Deeper chemical peels are for those who have more ambitious goals. Of course, many also consider a light chemical peel as a possible option as well. Chemical peels have been known to help with acne scars, blemishes and other imperfections. In choosing between a deep peel, medium chemical peel and light chemical peel, ultimately it comes down to what is right for you. A chemical peel (depending on which type you choose and how intense you want it to be) can improve the following skin conditions:

  • Acne
  • Acne scars
  • Other types of scars
  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Sun spots
  • Age spots
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Bumpy skin

If any of these issues concern you, you may be a good candidate for a chemical peel.

Other considerations include:

  • Your skin tone. Those with lighter skin tones tend to handle chemical peels better (this is true for deep peels and light peels). Those with a naturally darker skin tone may experience uneven pigmentation after a chemical peel, though there are other procedures that can work better for these individuals.
  • What products or medications you use. Certain topical products and oral medications can result in adverse effects if combined with a chemical peel.
  • How severe your skin conditions are. If you have severe cystic acne, for example, a chemical peel may only irritate your skin further.

Questions and Answers

How long does it take to recover from a chemical peel?

There is a prevailing misconception that chemical peels are highly painful or associated with severe side effects. However, individual reactions to various skin treatments vary. In general, the side effects of chemical peels are expected to be mild, and the healing process typically concludes within two weeks.

What days are worst after a chemical peel?

A salicylic acid peel employs beta-hydroxy acid to achieve a similar outcome as a glycolic peel, targeting the removal of the outermost skin layer and addressing imperfections to unveil more youthful skin. Following the chemical peel, the recovery period spans 1-2 weeks, with the most significant peeling typically occurring on days 3 and 4.

How much downtime do you get after a chemical peel?

Following a medium or deep peel, downtime is necessary. In the case of a deep chemical peel, you’ll need to recover at home for a period of 2 to 3 weeks.

How does a chemical peel work?

A chemical peel involves the application of a chemical solution to the skin, aiming to eliminate its upper layers. This chemical solution helps treated skin to look noticeably smoother. While deep peels are stronger, achieving the desired outcome may require undergoing the chemical peel procedure multiple times, particularly with light or medium peels.

Schedule Your Chemical Peel Today!

Chemical Peel RecoveryChemical peels can transform your skin — tackling acne scars, fine lines, and other signs of aging and environmental damage. If you would like smoother, fresher, younger looking skin, a chemical peel is a great place to start!

Dr. Ramanadham of SR Plastic Surgery New Jersey performs various types of chemical peels depending on the needs of her patients. Whether you’re struggling with dry patches, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, scarring, or other issues, we’re here to help!

To schedule your consultation appointment with Dr. Ramanadham, call today — your skin will thank you!



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