Are You Ready? Preparing for Your First Chemical Peel

Chemical peels, also known as derma peeling and chemexfoliation, are used to enhance the appearance and texture of your skin. During a peel, a chemical solution is applied to your skin, which in turn dissolves the epidermis, dermis and/or hypodermis. (the various layers of your skin). There are a variety of different chemical peels (i.e. alpha hydroxy, glycolic, trichloroacetic and phenol), varying in strength. These peels can reduce skin imperfections such as: wrinkles, fine lines, freckles, sun-damaged skin, liver spots, irregular pigmentation, rough, scaly skin patches, blemishes, acne and scarring.

Although most peels are performed on the face, they can also be administered on the neck, chest, hands, arms and legs. Following treatment, you may experience blistering as your skin peels off. This is a normal skin reaction to the solution. In addition, you may experience redness, swelling, scabbing, tenderness, sun sensitivity and mild skin irritation, immediately following treatment, but these affects should subside within a few days. It may take up to 14 days for the chemical solution to fully penetrate the different layers of your skin, but once it does, old skin will peel off and new skin will appear.  If you have already scheduled an appointment or you are just thinking about it – you have come to the right place. This article will help you prepare for your first chemical peel.

Beneficial suggestions that can help you prepare for your fist chemical peel:

Research It

Before you schedule or arrive for your first chemical peel, research the procedure. In other words, learn more about the various types of peels and look up reviews to see what past customers have said about their experiences. Visit reputable medical and health websites like: Mayo Clinic, WebMD and/or American Society of Plastic Surgeons for more information on chemical peels. These websites will not only provide you with credible and accurate medical information, they also answer all of your questions. In addition, ask others (i.e. friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, etc.) if they have had chemical peels and if so, how it went. First hand experiences are the best way to determine if this cosmetic treatment is right for you.

Consult a Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist 

Once you have conducted your own research, it will be time for you to consult a plastic surgeon or dermatologist. Schedule a time for you to meet with a surgeon or physician and discuss various treatments, your needs and your expectations. A good surgeon or physician will carefully explain to you the treatment and recovery processes. He/she will also give you tips on how to properly prepare for the treatment. For instance, the plastic surgeon or dermatologist may suggest that you discontinue non-essential medications (i.e. medications that are not required to live) a couple of weeks before the procedure in order to lower the risk of side-effects.

Stop Smoking! 

Stop smoking! If you find it almost impossible, if not completely impossible to stop smoking before your chemical peel – then cut down as much possible at least a month before your scheduled treatment. It is important to note that nicotine not only delays the healing process, it also increases your risk of bleeding and infections. Inform your surgeon or physician that you smoke before scheduling your chemical peel. In addition, make sure that you eat a variety of healthy foods, drink lots of water and get an adequate amount of sleep, several days or weeks before your treatment. Stress, poor eating habits and a lack of sleep can weaken your immune system and heighten your risk of complications.

Make Arrangements 

Arrange for time off at work, in advance. In other words, schedule the treatment at a time that works best for you. It is important to note that your skin can peel for up to 14 days, following the treatment so you may want to take extra time off from work, so you can heal without stress. Moreover, arrange for a friend or relative to take you to the appointment, pick you up and stay with you for at least 24 hours after the treatment.

Start Prepping in Advance 

If you want to adequately prepare for your chemical peel, you will need to start applying creams and/or lotions that contain alpha hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, Retin-A to your face every day for a week or two before your scheduled chemical peel. These creams and/or lotions will prepare your skin for the chemical solutions. For maximum results, use products that contain both alpha hydroxy acids and a bleaching agent to ward off blotchy and/or pigmented skin. Also, do not wax, shave, use hair removals or bleach hair at the treatment site, three days before the treatment because it may irritate and/or inflame your skin after the peel.


American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (2014). What is a chemical peel? Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2014). Chemical peel. Retrieved from

WebMD. (2014).Chemical peels. Retrieved from



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