“Chemical peels will have different recovery times depending on the goal and level of treatment,” according to New York dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. “A strong peel with 20 percent or more TCA will take about a week of peeling. Lighter peels will hardly have any peeling, and you will look refreshed and rejuvenated right away. I always combine these peels with the correct skincare products to give the best cosmetic results.”
If you’re in the market for a chemical peel that will require some recovery time, these products will help keep your skin in top shape post-treatment.
If there is one golden rule to follow after any peel, it is this: Thou shalt wear sunscreen. It’s important to protect the skin against sunburn while it goes through the regeneration process.
“With all peels, skin can become sun sensitive afterward,” said New York dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross in a RealSelf Q&A. “It’s why we always recommend that patients, after having a peel, avoid the sun and wear SPF 50 physical sunscreen.
“For lighter peels, an over-the-counter topical broad-spectrum sunscreen works best,” he continued. “For deeper, more intense peels, we recommend that patients avoid direct sun exposure for several days to two weeks.”
More than any other time, your skin needs moisture. Sloughing off dead skin after a peel requires extra attention and helps prevent irregular skin coloring. Your dermatologist may prescribe a specific product.
“The effects of chemical peels on the skin take effect right away,” said Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian in a RealSelf Q&A. “Moisturizing the skin after a chemical peel will not detract from the results. After a chemical peel, we have patients apply a ceramide-based cream known as Elevase Moisture Booster.”
Many dermatologists recommend a gentle, oil-free moisturizer after chemical peels, especially for acne-prone skin. Ask your doctor for their favorites to prevent irritation and promote healing.
If you experience red skin after a chemical peel, try soothing it with a Korean beauty product that even has women in the States buzzing: Essence.
Essence is similar to a watery serum and contains ingredients for instant hydration and soothing, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence is a wildly popular example. For Korean-based brands, Missha’s Time Revolution First Treatment is a cult favorite. As with any product after a procedure, it is best to discuss with your dermatologist what works best.
Once your skin has healed, consider a jade roller for maintenance. Practiced in Chinese wellness for centuries, this stone-based roller helps calm and cool the skin by decongesting the lymphatic channels in the face. Many people with rosacea or puffy skin have discovered the benefits of using this tool, while others find that rolling after applying a serum or moisturizer helps it to better penetrate the face.