Most chemical peels, like glycolic, fruit acid, and mandelic peels, work on the surface of the skin delivering a superficial exfoliation. However so chemical peels, such as the VI Peel, goes deep beneath the surface where real change occurs. By targeting the dermis, these medium to deep chemical peels stimulate collagen production, speed up cell migration, and remodel the skin.
The deeper the peel the more visible peeling that will occur. While your provider should go over aftercare in depth, here is a list of the do’s and don’ts to managing the peeling.
Do treat your skin gently.
Be sure to use a very light touch when cleansing your skin or applying products. No aggressive rubbing of any kind. While you may be tempted to try and slough off flaking cells, dont! They are still attached to live cells, and you don’t want to risk pulling anything off that isn’t ready.
Do be extra careful when the skin is wet.
Water softens dead skin, so it’s very easy to rub off both dead and live cells when the skin is moist. Avoid rubbing washcloths on the treated area or sonic cleansing brushes after a chemical peel. Only pat dry.
Do wear sunscreen after a chemical peel.
Stating the obvious, but the skin is very vulnerable post-peel. It’s brand new skin on the surface. UV light (even on a cloudy day) is damaging your skin. We highly recommend using a brush-on SPF powder. You can dust it on for a quick and easy, rub-free reapplication.
Do limit your time outdoors.After a chemical peel, you’ll want to stay indoors as much as possible to keep your skin protected. The last things you want to expose your skin to are heat and UV light. It’s already in an inflamed state, you don’t want to make it worse.
Do use products with soothing ingredients.
You want to provide as much comfort to the skin as possible to ease redness and irritation. Us a very gentle (almost lotion like with no acids) and a basic gentle moisturizer. Discontinue any other kind of products such as vitamin c creams or retinol for the time that you are peeling.
Don’t pick or pull at the flaky skin!
The whole purpose of a chemical peel is to lift away surface dry, damaged cell layers and reveal younger-looking, healthy new cells. But to do this, the skin has to shed. It’s the most difficult part of a chemical peel. Picking off dry, flaky skin when it may not be ready to come off can result in scarring, redness, and rashes. You really have to leave it alone.
Don’t use a washcloth, facial scrub or sonic cleansing brush. As mentioned above, dead, flaky skin softens up when exposed to water. It can be very tempting to want to rub away that dryness with a washcloth, facial scrub or Clarisonic. Please don’t! You could end up with scabs and scars.
Don’t over-moisturize after a chemical peel.To compensate for post-peeling dryness, don’t over-moisturize. When the skin is peeling and flaky, it’s normal to want to continually apply moisturizer to comfort and alleviate dryness, but you don’t want to overdo it. Only apply moisturizer as you normally would, once in the morning and once at night. It’s important to know that the whole purpose of a chemical peel is to peel.
Don’t exfoliate with acids or enzymes.
Acids and enzymes are meant to help exfoliate the skin. Which is not what you want to do while peeling. You must let the skin shed naturally on its schedule, not on yours.
Don’t sweat too much after a chemical peel.
Especially at the height of the peeling, your protective barrier is very damaged. No working out until you are completely done peeling. Sweating can create blisters or rashes.
So there you have it! The do’s and don’ts of chemical peel aftercare. While the peeling process of a chemical peel can be annoying, the results are completely worth it!
Want to hear about an Esthetician’s personal experience with the VI Peel? Click here.