5 Things You Should Do to Maximize Your Chemical Peel Results

5 Things You Should Do to Maximize Your Chemical Peel Results featured image
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When used in the context of skin care, the phrase “chemical peel” can be rather intimidating. That said, those who have undergone an in-office peel already know it’s not as scary as you may think. In fact, it’s one of the best treatments that’s currently available for addressing a multitude of skin concerns.

To put the power of peels in perspective, the options available today can treat skin conditions like acne, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin texture, and fine lines. This is all thanks to the acids found in these chemical peels, which lift away dead cells, speed up cell turnover, and boost collagen production so users are left with brighter, younger-looking skin.

While regular peels alone will boast significant results, there are a few secrets to maximizing your post-peel outcome to almost guarantee your best complexion yet. Here, Naples, FL dermatologist Daniel Wasserman, MD, breaks down the five ways to get the best results possible from your treatment.

Daniel I. Wasserman, MD, FAAD, ACMS
Skin Wellness Physicians, Naples, FL

1. Properly prepare for your peel.

As with anything in life, preparation is the key to success. Unless your provider tells you otherwise, stop using all retinol products, facial scrubs, or other exfoliating ingredients in the week prior to your appointment. Avoid self-tanners and facial waxing, as well as aspirin, ibuprofen, and any other medication that may act as a blood thinner.

It is also essential to stay out of the sun before your peel appointment. “Excessive sun exposure must be strictly avoided prior to a peel,” says Dr. Wasserman. “Past and present use of systemic isotretinoin [also known as Accutane] must be ascertained by the clinician performing the peel because its usage may be associated with a greater risk of scarring after peeling.” It’s also important to avoid smoking since this can hinder the healing process following a peel, leaving you with lackluster results.

2. Schedule a series of treatments.

While one chemical peel can certainly do wonders for your skin, it’s best to book a series of treatments in order to maintain and build on your original results. Mild peels can be done every few weeks until your optimal results are visible. Deeper peels need more downtime in between treatments, so annual appointments may work best. Consult with your doctor for the ideal treatment plan for you and your needs.

3. Use the correct products in between peel appointments.

When it comes to peels, exfoliation is the name of the game. According to Dr. Wasserman, it’s essential to continue exfoliating the skin with products like the SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight ($84) in between peel appointments.

“Glycolic acids, depending on their strength, have been shown to have effects on epidermal thickness and collagen reorganization in the skin,” says Dr. Wasserman. “While traditional glycolic acid peels will take place in the 50 to 70% range when performed by an experienced provider, using lighter percentage exfoliators—such as SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight—can complement the effect of other products or provide an at-home entry level regimen to mitigate acne, pigmentation, or sun-damaged skin.”

Keep in mind, it’s important to use at-home exfoliators after your skin has properly healed from your in-office peel and discuss any post-treatment product usage with your provider beforehand. “Different peels have different effects on the skin and reintroducing this product too early could create some discomfort or affect the healing process,” warns Dr. Wasserman.

4. Apply sunscreen every day post-peel.

Since your skin will be more sensitive after a peel, it’s important to avoid direct sun exposure in the weeks post-treatment. If you don’t, you increase your chances of getting a painful sunburn, which could ultimately lead to more signs of aging and essentially reverse any benefits the peel has already done for you.

5. Resist picking or peeling your skin.

After undergoing deeper peels, dead skin cells might begin to flake off to reveal brighter, more even-toned skin beneath it. While you might get the urge to scrub these flakes off, you must let them come off naturally. If you pick at your skin, you could disrupt and ultimately prolong the healing process, and potentially even cause scarring to develop.

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