How to Prep For a Chemical Peel

Chemical peels applied to rough and uneven skin surfaces without proper preparation can sometimes have unexpected results; while some areas absorb it more than others. To help ensure you get the maximum benefit out of your treatment here are some helpful hints on how to prepare for a chemical peel.

Avoid cosmetic treatments and hair removal methods like electrolysis and depilatories at least a week prior to beginning a peel treatment, and refrain from shaving any areas of your face 24 hours beforehand.

1.   Cleanse and Exfoliate

Chemical peels can be an efficient and quick way to improve fine lines, sun damage and scarring; however, they’ll only end up costing time and money if you are unprepared.

Starting the week prior to your peel, avoid abrasive scrubs, facial cleansers with beads and exfoliating products that could potentially lead to uneven exfoliation and disrupt the natural healing process of your skin.

Cleanse and Exfoliate
Cleanse and Exfoliate

Use gentle, soap-free cleansers and lukewarm water when cleansing, and avoid environments and activities that promote heat such as hot showers, saunas, or exercise that raise your core body temperature; as this could increase blood flow to your face causing irritation and itching.

As part of your skin rejuvenation regimen, it’s essential to avoid direct sunlight whenever possible. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or sunblock with at least SPF 30 protection; this will help safeguard against hyper-pigmentation after newly resurfacing skin has been exposed to direct light. Also wear dark sunglasses when venturing outside.

2.   Moisturize

Prior to receiving a chemical peel, your skin must be well hydrated in order to ensure the dry surface layers are pulled up rather than being pushed back down into pores and cause further damage. Make sure that you use fragrance- and dye-free moisturizer every time you wash your face (at least twice per day), avoiding products which dry out your skin as much as possible.


Before getting a peel done, it is wise to refrain from using scrubs, loofahs or exfoliating sponges, as well as hair removal treatments such as electrolysis or facial waxing, since these may cause skin irritation and prevent dead cells from naturally falling away during the process.

Chemical peels are conducted as outpatient procedures at a doctor’s office or surgery center as outpatient treatments. Your skin will be cleansed thoroughly during this procedure, with your eyes protected using eye ointment or tape, before chemical solutions are applied to cause controlled injuries to the top layer of skin that either peel off, lift off or peel back, revealing new layers underneath.

3.   Sunscreen

Every three hours after having undergone a chemical peel, it is crucial that you apply broad spectrum physical sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 rating to protect yourself from sun exposure. This step is particularly important if you intend on remaining in direct sunlight for an extended period of time after your peel has taken place.


Be sure to avoid tanning beds and artificial UV radiation for at least two weeks prior to getting a chemical peel, including waxing, depilating, tweezing or any other hair removal methods in the treatment area. Certain medications (e.g. antibiotics for acne) can increase sun sensitivity; be sure to notify your physician.

After receiving a peel, be sure to continue applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen each day, opting for one with zinc oxide as well as UVA/UVB protection. Your skin may become particularly sensitive immediately following your peel, so sunscreen applications may need to be applied more often than usual. Furthermore, consider using an antioxidant serum such as an acid serum; these can help even skin tone and promote cell regeneration.

4.   Hydrate

Chemical peels can be an excellent way to treat many different skin conditions, from fine lines and wrinkles, acne, uneven skin tone or scarring, to stimulating healthy new cell growth and revitalizing complexions.

Chemical peels can be an effective and safe solution for most skin types. By only exfoliating the outermost layers, a light chemical peel can effectively address mild wrinkles, uneven tone and dryness in a gentle yet efficient manner.

Prep instructions must be strictly abided by, in order to maximize results while also limiting irritation or hyperpigmentation risks.

Prior to your peel, be sure to refrain from using at-home exfoliants and chemical depilatories such as waxing or bleaching for five days and reduce unprotected sun exposure in order to lower risk of irregular pigmentation. Also it is wise to apply protective moisturizer twice daily.

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