It’s valuable to have a trained professional to consult as you heal from a chemical peel. Knowing what to expect—and what might need additional treatment—is key to a smooth and safe recovery.
The healing process occurs in three phases:
- Coagulation/inflammation, in which the clotting factors and the immune system are marshaled and wound healing begins
- Angiogenesis, when new blood vessels form from pre-existing vessels
- Collagen remodeling, when the magic happens. Collagen thickens and is reoriented in a parallel fashion, which reduces wrinkles. This can take weeks or months, depending on the depth of the peel.
Some cautions with peels:
- You’ll need to stop smoking and stop taking aspirin one week before a deep peel.
- You may need antibiotics for HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus or Cold Sores) two days before and five days after a peel.
- You must wait six to 12 months after Accutane use before having a peel.
- If you’ve recently had radiation therapy, you’ll need to let your skin recuperate first.
- If you have a history of keloid scars, you cannot have medium or deep peels, as they can actually stimulate keloids.
- If undergoing a medium or deep peel, you may need medication to prevent bacterial infection.
- You may need a short course of topical steroids to treat extreme redness.
- You may experience milia, or tiny white bumps of keratin, two to three weeks after your peel. These can be easily removed in the office.
While you may not be able to see the final results for several days or even months thanks to the pinkness of your skin, you’ll likely be delighted in the end to notice a fresher, younger-looking face in the mirror, free of the marks left behind by the years.
Often the best results are seen after a series of three peels to really charge your fibroblasts to produce more collagen and even the skin tones and textures.