Chemical peels are a top choice among patients for rejuvenating skin and diminishing the signs of aging. Chemical peels are popular and preferred by patients because they achieve amazing results without going under the knife, and they have a faster recovery time than ablative laser treatments. Chemical peels work by applying a chemical solution that can be made using diluted acids of varying strengths to the skin. These chemicals penetrate into the deeper layers of the dermis, causing cell turnover and resurfacing your skin to reveal a smoother, clearer, younger-looking complexion.
Preparing You for a Chemical Peel
Before scheduling a chemical peel, you will have a consultation with Torrance Plastic Surgeon Dr. Verbin to review your medical history, concerns and goals. Be sure to advise Dr. Verbin if you have had Botox or injections of any kind within the past two months, as well as any other treatments or procedures you have had. Also, bring a list of all of the medications you are currently taking so Dr. Verbin can assess any possible interaction concerns and develop a plan to discontinue medications, if necessary, ahead of your chemical peel. From there, you will be given a pre-peel skin preparation plan to optimize your treatment and a post-peel care plan that can aid in your recovery and help you maintain your results.
Pre-treating Skin for a Chemical Peel
Pre-treating the skin prior to a chemical peel is critical for obtaining optimal results. At South Bay Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery we provide patients with the products they will need to properly prepare their skin for treatment. Based on your skin type, concerns and desired results, we will recommend the right products for optimizing your chemical peel. In addition, the following timeline provides an idea of the different actions Dr. Verbin may recommend to prepare your skin for a chemical peel.
One month before your chemical peel:
- Stop smoking
- Avoid sun exposure and tanning beds
- Discontinue medications, only as directed by Dr. Verbin
Two weeks before your chemical peel:
- Take antiviral medication, as prescribed by Dr. Verbin, if you have a history of herpes around your mouth
- Apply retinoids (glycolic acid or Retin-A) to the treatment area
- Apply a bleaching agent such as hydroquinone
- Avoid microdermabrasion treatments
- Avoid any activities that stress the skin
One week before your chemical peel:
- Avoid all hair removal treatments such as waxing, topical creams, lasers or electrolysis
- Discontinue using a bleaching agent
Three days before your chemical peel:
- Discontinue use of all retinoids
- Stop using all exfoliating products and treatments
- Take an antibiotic if prescribed
- Avoid using self-tanners
Promoting a Rapid Recovery
A rapid recovery following a chemical peel hinges on being gentle to your skin. Keep your skin care regimen simple so you don’t aggravate or damage your healing skin. We offer specialized skin care products that will help you gently cleanse, hydrate and soothe your skin.
During the first week post-peel, avoid excessive heat or anything that induces sweating; such as a sauna, jacuzzi, steam shower or exertive exercise.
For one to two weeks following your chemical peel, your skin will feel tight and will begin to crack, flake and peel as it heals. Do not pick at your skin, rub it with a washcloth or perform any type of exfoliation. Assisting the sloughing process can cause scarring and skin discoloration, or worse—infection. For optimal results, follow the post-care instructions given to you by Dr. Verbin, apply moisturizer as needed and use a cold compress to ease discomfort.
The first week or two after your chemical peel you will most likely want to stay inside as your skin heals and sloughs off. Staying indoors to recuperate has the added benefit of helping you avoid the sun. Avoiding the sun (and tanning beds) is critical to your recovery. If you need to go outside during this time, minimize sun exposure by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Avoiding the sun is imperative to your recovery because sun exposure can cause darkening of the skin, or even scarring, after a chemical peel. Furthermore, the sun is damaging to the skin and will undo the work of the chemical peel.
Maintaining Your Beautiful Results
The most essential step you can take to ensure beautiful, long-lasting results is to protect your skin from the sun. The sun damages your skin, causing wrinkles and dark spots, promoting aging and can even lead to skin cancer. Ultimately, sun exposure will reverse the results of your chemical peel. To minimize your sun exposure, always wear sunscreen. If you plan to be outside for an extended period, wear sunglasses, protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to provide additional protection from the sun.
In addition to avoiding sun exposure, follow a skin care regimen that includes consistent use of moisturizer and sunscreen. Use a mild exfoliation on a weekly basis to remove dead skin cells and keep your skin looking radiant. If advised by Dr. Verbin, you may also begin a retinoid regimen. We offer medical-grade skin care products to our patients designed to help maintain the beautiful results achieved following a chemical peel.
Is a Chemical Peel Right for Me?
For some patients, a chemical peel is not the safest or most effective option. If you are pregnant or nursing, or if you have certain chronic illnesses, you should not have a chemical peel. Patients with darker skin or patients with skin conditions such as dermatitis, rosacea or psoriasis may want to consider alternative treatments. If you have used Accutane in the past six months, you may need to postpone treatment. Dr. Verbin will evaluate your skin and overall health in detail during your consultation to determine if a chemical peel is the right choice for you.
A chemical peel creates dramatic results that you will love for years to come. If you want to revitalize your appearance, turn back the clock and have brighter, younger looking skin, call South Bay Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery today at 310-997-4618 to schedule a consultation.