What to expect before a chemical peel?

What to expect before a chemical peel?

Your aesthetician or doctor will assist you in making the decision in terms of which type of chemical peel is best suited for you and your skin type. Considerations such as what areas you want to target, the  realistic results you want to achieve, how much of a risk are you willing to take, amongst other things will be discussed.

For medium and deep peels your physician will give you a step-by-step guide on how to prepare your skin as least 2-3 weeks prior to your appointment. You will need to ensure that you follow these steps, which will involve things like cleaning your face twice daily, applying moisturiser 1 to 2 times a day and always using sunscreen in order to enhance the skin peel and promote faster healing.

By following these directives, you also minimise your chances of complications such as infection. In some instances, tretinoin (Retin-A, which is a medicine normally used to treat acne) is prescribed to assist with pre-treatment as it may also aid in the healing process after the peel.

Your physician will also advise you to stop smoking for at least 6 weeks prior to your treatment. You would need to avoid taking medicines that can cause increased bleeding such as aspirin, and certain anti-inflammatory drugs.

Before a superficial chemical peel

The only preparation for this ‘lunchtime’ peel is staying clear of electrolysis (a procedure wherein an electric current is applied, generating heat to remove superficial blemishes and hair roots), waxing, sunburn, or anything else that may irritate the skin 3 days prior to your chemical peel.

Before the actual peel is administered the clinician will clean your skin with an appropriate cleanser and toner to remove any debris on the surface of the skin.

Before a medium chemical peel

  • To prepare for a medium depth chemical peel adequate priming of the skin is advised. This is achieved by applying a depigmenting agent such as hydroquinone or retinoic acid and use of sunscreens. This should be discontinued at least 3-5 days prior to your appointment.
  • You should not be currently using Accutane (medication used to treat severe cystic acne) and not have used it within the 12 month period.
  • You should ensure that your skin is free of active oral herpes infections (for example cold sores), open wounds or any other type of skin infection. People who are prone to cold sores are advised to take anti-viral medication prior to their appointment.
  • Do not bleach, wax or scrub for at least one week prior to your appointment.
  • It’s imperative that you refrain from having any other sort of chemical peels (whether home-based or professional) at least 2 weeks prior to your appointment.
  • Avoid sun exposure for a minimum of 2 weeks prior to your appointment.

Before a deep chemical peel

  • You will need to avoid any artificial UV radiation such as tanning booths or beds.
  • Refrain from any other sort of chemical peel prior to your appointment.
  • Make sure that you disclose any medications that you may be using to your doctors. This will ensure that you don’t have any allergic reactions or complications if undergoing sedation or anaesthesia.
  • Sometimes deep chemical peels require sedation, and so it is advisable to arrange a lift home with a friend or family member as you will not be able to drive after the procedure is done.
  • Make sure you plan your recovery prior to having the procedure done. Ensure that you have wide-brimmed hats to cover your face from the sun, have enough sunscreen on hand for daily applications, and let your employer know that you may need to take a few days off due to the discomfort that you will most likely experience post-procedure.
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