AdvancedMD Aesthetics


The Chemical Peel Healing Process Day By Day

Chemical peels can make a world of difference for your skin’s tone, texture, collagen levels, and even breakout situations, but the healing process, in which the skin sheds and flakes off, is what sometimes gives them a bad rap. But no need to worry about the dryness or peeling that ensues with a chemical peel. It’s normal and expected if you want to reap their benefits. Here is more about the Chemical Peel healing process and its features.

Chemical peels range in intensity from light to deep, so depending on the concentration of the acids used dictates how the chemical peel will heal day by day. The deeper and stronger the peel, the longer the healing process and the more peeling your skin will experience. So before you take the plunge, you’ll want to know everything to expect during the healing process post-chemical peel, including how much time, if any, you’ll need to hide out until your new, fresh baby skin emerges.


What will I feel immediately after a chemical peel?

You may experience a bit of sting or burning while the peel is on the skin, but you shouldn’t feel anything once it is neutralized. Immediately after, the skin may be red or pink and somewhat sensitive. It may also feel hot to the touch or like you have a sunburn. But the peeling and exfoliating effects won’t kick in for a few more days.

The skin is beginning to heal at this point, and it may be highly sensitive, so make sure to protect it adequately from the sun, moisturize often and avoid any activities that will cause you to sweat and heat up the skin.


How long does a chemical peel take to heal?

There are different types of chemical peels available, and each peel, which chemically exfoliates the skin, has its own healing time. The more superficial the peel, which works only on the top layers of the skin, the less peeling there is and the quicker you can see the results. With medium to deep chemical peels, the exfoliation action is deeper into the skin, hence the longer healing time.

On average, it can take anywhere from seven to 14 days for the skin to experience the different stages of chemical peel healing process. With popular medium chemical peels, which rely on trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peels to treat severe blemishes, acne, lines, and pigmentation, the peeling process is more intense than a light peel, so expect anywhere from seven to 10 days of healing and downtime.


What days are the worst during the chemical peel healing process?

Often, you won’t see the real ‘meat’ of a chemical peel right away since it can take a few days for the peel to exfoliate the skin and bear the effects. Usually, a few days after a chemical peel is when the effects of a chemical peel start to take hold, which can include dryness, flaking, peeling, and itchiness. Some areas where there is discoloration may turn dark before flaking off.


What happens on day three of the chemical peel healing process?

The third or fourth day of the chemical peel healing process is when the peeling effects start to become most noticeable. Around this time, any redness starts to subside, but the skin begins to exfoliate. As the skin sheds and peels (it may flake off more in some areas than others), it may feel somewhat uncomfortable as dead skin falls off and new, fresh skin emerges. Because new skin is coming to the surface, you’ll want to be super careful about what you use on it and how you protect it at this point of the healing stage. Wear sunscreen daily, moisturize as needed, and avoid using retinol or any exfoliation acids.


How much peeling is normal as my skin heals from a chemical peel recovery?

With so many different types of chemical peels available, the amount of peeling that one person experiences from one peel may not be the same. Our skin also reacts differently to different ingredients and acids based on its personal makeup, so it’s hard to determine precisely how much peeling is ‘normal.’ And just because you experience little peeling doesn’t mean the peel isn’t working.

To get a better idea of what you’ll experience during the chemical peel healing process, schedule a consultation with our staff to discuss the details of the procedure.


What should I do about the peeling?

You definitely don’t want to pick at the skin or force it to shed any faster than it will on its own. It’s best to let the peeling skin fall off naturally without the help of an exfoliator, peeling it off manually or forcing it off the skin with any extra help. Don’t take scissors to it either, which can cut the skin or cause premature peeling in areas where the skin is not ready to shed.


How will my skin look one week out?

Around the seven-day mark of the chemical peel healing process, you’ll be able to start seeing some of the results from your peel. Depending on how strong the peel was, you may be at the halfway mark or even finished with the majority of peeling and flaking. The skin should have little to no red or pinkness, and the skin should feel soft and more uniform.

Around this time, you can start to return to your regular skincare routine as long as your skin isn’t dry or still peeling. You’ll want to take it easy with abrasive products since the skin may still be sensitive. Sun protection is still a must, and so is hydrating the skin.


How long will the results last?

The results garnered from your chemical peel can last a few months to a year or more, depending on the intensity of the peel and at-home care. The more diligent you are about avoiding sun exposure and caring for your skin, the longer the results will last. However, chemical peels don’t provide permanent improvement, and while they can dramatically improve your skin, you will need to repeat the treatment to maintain the effects.