What can I Expect After a Chemical Peel?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
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  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2019
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After a chemical peel, the treated area may be painful. You will likely be advised to avoid sun and tobacco. The skin will continue to peel and perhaps scab in the days and months following the procedure. You will need to allow the process of skin removal to occur naturally. You will also need to keep the skin moisturized and take any medications that are suggested or prescribed.

Chemical peels can be painful, and there are several things that you will likely be advised to do or not to do after a chemical peel. One warning that will probably be stressed is the need to prevent the treated area from being exposed to sunlight. If you must venture out into the sun, you will need to wear sunscreen and protective apparel.

Other things that you may need to abstain from include makeup. You may not be able to apply cosmetics for a week or more following the chemical peel. Nicotine and chemical peels are also not considered complementary. If you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco, be prepared. You will likely be told that you need to abandon these habits for a while.


When you have a chemical peel performed, all of the top layers of skin are not generally removed during the procedure. The peeling aspect occurs later, and it may be characterized by scabbing. You should be prepared for the unsightliness of this process. You will likely notice flaking or long strips of dead skin that seem easily removable. Instead of trying to dislodge the skin or scabs, you will need to apply the ointments or moisturizers suggested to you and allow the removal process to occur naturally.

Since you will have to wait for the new layers of skin to emerge after a chemical peel, you should not expect to see the results the same day. Depending on the type of chemical peel that you have done, the results may not be noticeable until you have undergone the procedure several times. Even if you have a deep chemical peel, which usually only requires having the procedure done once, your skin is not likely to become normal for months.

You may have to take medication for a couple of weeks after a chemical peel. Antibiotics may be prescribed to help prevent infections. If you are prone to cold sores and you have this procedure done on your face, it can activate your virus and cause a breakout. To help prevent this, you may have to take antiviral medication.


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Post 4

I was considering a chemical peel for my face as well but reading about recovery and side effects, I'm scared now! How do people go through with it?!

Post 3
@burcinc-- I think that's normal. If your skin becomes worse -- for example if there is a lot of pain or blistering, then you need to see a doctor. Chemical burns are a risk with all chemical peels but if you are working with a doctor who has experience with them, usually this is avoided. I'm glad that you didn't do an at home chemical peel. I think those are dangerous for inexperienced people like us.

I also had a lot of flaking, redness and irritation after my chemical peel. I have sensitive skin so it took about four weeks for my skin to look normal again.

Just make sure to moisturize your skin well. My doctor told me to apply a mild but moisturizing face lotion throughout the day. I also used vitamin E oil and I think this helped my skin heal.

Post 2

I had a chemical skin peel done at my dermatologist's office two weeks ago. I knew that my skin would peel soon after the treatment and I was prepared for dryness and irritation. That's exactly what happened, my skin peeled for a few days afterward.

Just when I thought my face was recovering though, it's peeling once again this week. Is it normal for a chemical peel to cause peeling twice? Has anyone experienced this?

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