8 Things to Know Before Getting a Chemical Peel

Chemical peels can feel like an extreme beauty treatment. Here's what to expect from the skin-surfacing procedure.
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Chemicals and skincare may seem daunting, but in fact, there are plenty of chemicals that are beneficial for your complexion. Take chemical peels, for example, the technique is used to improve the feel and texture of your skin with a single treatment by literally peeling away a layer of skin. While many are still intimidated by this seemingly harsh practice, others like celebrities Jennifer Aniston and Goop founder and beauty guru Gwyneth Paltrow have hopped on the trend, determined to get glowing skin. By removing the outermost layers of the epidermis on the treated areas, the chosen peel solution—because there is a cosmetic peel treatment (and different strengths of peels) available for almost every skin type—causes the skin to exfoliate and eventually peel off, exposing new, fresh skin.

Chemical peels can be a wonderful asset and easily applied onto the face, hands, and neck to help correct issues such as uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, and even acne. They require a visit to the dermatologist or esthetician, as the procedure uses concentrated acids on the skin. Before trying it out, there are a few more things you should learn about in order to ensure the best experience (and results!) possible. To assist you on your quest for radiant skin, L'OFFICIEL shares a list of 8 things to know ahead of booking your first chemical peel.

Check Your Skin

Consult your dermatologist or esthetician to make sure your skin is a candidate for a chemical peel. Those with sensitive skin may want to stay away as chemical peels do have uncomfortable side effects like blisters and swelling. For the best results, you'll want your skin to be in a healthy state before getting the treatment.

Prep Your Skin

Two weeks prior to your appointment, use a skin brightening product to help reduce your risk of post-procedure hyperpigmentation and to ensure dark spots don't pop up afterward, especially if you have a darker skin tone.

Ask Your Skincare Professional

As we mentioned before, there is a cosmetic peel available for almost every skin type. Ask your skincare professional which peel is right for you. They may apply glycolic, trichloroacetic, salicylic, lactic, or carbolic acid, depending on your skin type and needs. They will also let you know of recovery time: light peels can take up to a week to heal from, medium peels up to 14 days, and deep peels up to 21 days.

Chemical Peels Are Not Just for Your Face

You don't need to save all the good stuff for your face. Chemical peels can also be applied to your hands, neck, and chest to remove dark spots or acne scars so as to leave your skin baby-smooth.

Have Realistic Expectations

If you have raised acne scarring, a chemical peel isn’t going to remove it forever. Several years of damage on your skin can be tough to erase in a single session. It will, however, smooth, tighten, and brighten your skin tone, leaving you with a more youthful complexion. 

One Chemical Peel Isn't Enough

Unless you opt for a deeper type of peel, one session isn’t going to give you complete results. A series is by far the best way to get optimal results and your skincare professional can determine with you what type of peels and how many sessions you should start with.

Use Sunscreen

After a chemical peel, it is a necessity to maintain your results and thus imperative to wear sunscreen every day to protect your now sensitive skin barrier from sun damage.

Prepare for Aftercare

Following your peel, your skin will begin to shed. This can be an uncomfortable process and your dermatologist or esthetician will tell you what at-home care you will need. Depending on the peel strength, they may tell you to moisturize daily, soak the affected areas, apply ointment, or even prescribe antiviral medication. With proper aftercare, the newly surfaced skin will be smooth, glowing, and fresh.

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