When you leave the office: you may look like you have a light pink or white "film" or frosting on your skin, and you will have a thin layer of ointment on the treated areas. The light pink look will fade leaving a mild redness like a sunburn, typically within an hour or two.
- Do not apply any skin care product or makeup to your face (except for lipstick and eye makeup) for three hours after your peel. After this time period, you may use a moisturizer.
- DAILY: Keep all treated areas covered with a thin layer of Aquaphor or petroleum ointment (Vaseline). The ointment application will need to be repeated several times a day as necessary to keep the area from feeling dry. Your treatment area must not be allowed to dry out (with hard scabs and crusts); doing so will increase your risk of scarring.
- AT NIGHT: Apply a thicker coat of ointment prior to going to bed. You may want to place a towel or an old T-shirt over your pillow.
- You may decrease the amount and frequency of ointment each day as your skin heals, eventually just spot treating any residual peeling or raw areas.
- DO NOT pick or peel at loose skin. Picking or scrubbing at the skin in an attempt to speed the sloughing process can lead to pigment irregularities including scarring of the skin!
- Continue the antiviral prescription (if prescribed) for its entire course.
- ITCHING can be treated with diphenhydramine (Benadryl) every 4-6 hours as needed.
- ACNE may flare up the week following resurfacing. Spot application of an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide product such as Clearasil for sensitive skin will typically do the trick.
- Avoid direct sunlight or tanning for one week after the procedure. As soon as the skin has peeled (you no longer have "raw" spots), begin applying sunscreen EVERY DAY. Sunscreen will need to be used for at least six months following the procedure.
Chemical peels speed up the natural process of shedding old skin and refreshing it with new skin. When we are younger, this process is faster, and helps ensure a younger appearance, but as we age this process slows and increases the amount of sun and environmental damage that shows in our skin. By removing the old, outer layer of skin, chemical peels can improve fine lines and wrinkles, freckles, age spots, irregular skin coloration, rough and scaly skin patches, sun damage, acne and scars. The amount of improvement depends on the degree of the peel. Lighter peels have shorter recovery times but show less improvement.
The provider will first clean your skin thoroughly. Then he or she will apply one or more chemical solutions — such as glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or carbolic acid (phenol) — to small areas of your skin. This process creates a controlled wound, letting new skin to grow in its place. During a chemical peel, most people feel a burning sensation that lasts about five to ten minutes, followed by a stinging sensation. Putting cool compresses on the skin may ease that stinging. Depending upon the type of chemical peel, a reaction similar to a sunburn occurs following the procedure. Peeling usually involves redness followed by scaling that ends within three to seven days. Mild peels may be repeated at one to four-week intervals until you get the desired look. You'll need to avoid the sun for several weeks after a chemical peel since your new skin will be fragile.
A few simple guidelines before your treatment can make a difference between a good result and a fantastic one.
- Avoid using any alpha hydroxy acid product (such as glycolic or lactic acid) or salicylic acid product for 12 hours.
- Do not use harsh scrubs for 1 week prior to treatment.
- Stop use of Retin-A for at least 3 days and other topical acne medications for 24 hours.
- Women: Avoid waxing, electrolysis or other methods of hair removal for a minimum of 48 hours (preferably 3 to 5 days).
- Men: Do not shave immediately before your peel.
- If you have a history of cold sores, consider beginning prophylactic treatment with Valtrex or similar medication no later than the day prior to treatment.
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