What Happens After Chemical Exfoliation

Woman undergoing chemical exfoliation

Knowing what happens after chemical exfoliation can help you decide if you want to go through with this procedure for a smoother, younger-looking complexion. Knowing more about it can also help you prepare if you've already decided on the procedure.

About Chemical Exfoliation

Unlike simple exfoliation that you can perform at home, chemical exfoliation should be performed by professionals. People who undergo chemical peels or exfoliation are typically looking for ways to create a more youthful appearance. Chemical peels are less invasive than face lifts, and are good options for minor issues, such as:

  • Fine lines
  • Minor wrinkles
  • Some acne
  • Minor scars
  • Age spots and pigmentation caused by hormones or medication

Even though this is a less dramatic procedure than a face lift or liposuction, it will still require days, and in some cases weeks, of healing. Make sure you choose a reputable physician who'll fully explain what happens after chemical exfoliation so that there are no unpleasant surprises.

All chemical exfoliations are not the same. Mild peels will heal more quickly than medium depth and deep peels. Discuss your options with your dermatologist in order to get the results you want, safely and realistically.

What Happens After Chemical Exfoliation: Basics

Once you've taken the plunge and gone in for a chemical peel, here's what you can expect after the procedure.

Light Peels

You may look as if you have a sunburn after a light chemical peel. The skin will be red and you'll experience peeling and eventually flaking of the skin. Typically, your skin should cease scaling about one week after your peel. Your face will probably look smoother and you should have a more even complexion. Light peels are usually able to be repeated within one to four weeks of treatments.

Medium to Deep Peels

You may experience all of the results above, as well as the following after more dramatic peels.

  • Swelling: This can range from mild to serious - your eyes may swell shut for a short period of time. In such cases, you should be home and have someone there to help care for you after the procedure.
  • Blistering: Blisters may develop, break and crust over before peeling away.
  • Bandaging: Some doctors will suggest that patients wear bandages over their faces after chemical peels, in order to facilitate healing and improve the effectiveness of the treatment.

It will take longer for your skin to heal from a medium to deep peel. Because of the recovery time needed, some people find that they need to schedule this type of procedure at the beginning of a vacation away from work. You may also find a liquid diet in order and you may have to restrict talking.

Whether your treatment is mild or deep, it's important that you give your skin sufficient time to heal and "breathe." You should avoid wearing cosmetics during this healing period.

Sun Care

It's vital that you protect your skin from the sun after chemical exfoliation. Spending days outdoors after your skin heals is not advised. While you don't have to lock yourself away like a hermit, your dermatologist will probably advise you to avoid excessive sun exposure. Of course, the right UVA/UVB sunblock slathered all over your body, including on your face, is necessary any time you know you'll be outside.

For the Best Results

Chemical exfoliation shouldn't be taken lightly, so be sure and research any doctor before agreeing to the treatment. Ask a lot of questions and make sure you get satisfactory answers. This is the best way to get the results you want from a peel, as well as playing it safe and smart.

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What Happens After Chemical Exfoliation