Recovery after a Chemical Peel

If you flip through the pages of trendy beauty magazines, you will no doubt see any number of ads for fancy lotions, creams, or oils that all promise to revitalize your dull skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and blemishes, and leave you with a radiant, glowing face. Some of these ads may even include small sample packets. When you test these products, however, it quickly becomes obvious that they are unable to live up to their promises of younger, revitalized skin.

This is usually the point at which prospective patients with frustrations similar to yours book their initial consultation appointments with our team at Jefferson Plastic Surgery and deme cosmetic to explore cosmetic options to improve their facial appearance. For these patients, a chemical peel may be an excellent solution to the problem of any number of skin issues, depending upon the intensity of the peel. Of course, the intensity of the chemical peel will also dictate the length of the recovery period following the procedure. This can be important in terms of the time that you may need away from work. Below, our team outlines the different types of chemical peels, as well as the recovery timeline needed for each one.

Light Chemical Peels

Light chemical peels only address problems on the outermost layer of your facial skin, such as fine lines, dryness, uneven pigmentation, or acne. A weak acid solution is used. One of the advantages of a light chemical peel is that you will require almost no recovery time. Your face may be mildly irritated, as if you had been out in the sun just a bit too long, but you should be able to return to your daily activities almost immediately after treatment. Our surgeons advise that you use a mild cleaner, along with a moisturizer. You should also avoid direct sun exposure for at least a week in order to avoid any undue changes in skin color.

Medium Chemical Peels

A medium chemical peel addresses the same types of problems as a light chemical peel. However, it does work at a somewhat deeper level. Our surgeons recommend a medium peel for prospective patients who have darker skin. This level of chemical peel uses a stronger acid solution, usually trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Patients should expect to see their new layer of skin appear within a week after treatment. Because there is often mild swelling, redness, and skin crusting during the first week after the chemical peel, many patients opt to take that time away from work or school. The skin is usually fully healed by two weeks after the procedure.

Deep Chemical Peels

Deep chemical peels use phenol acid to get at the deepest facial skin layers to treat deep facial wrinkles, deep age or sun spots, and pre-cancerous growths. The procedure can take up to two hours to perform. After the procedure, your face will be red and swollen. Your face will develop a crust within a few days after the procedure, which will flake off over the next seven to 10 days as new, bright pink skin is revealed underneath. This skin will fade over the next one to two months to reveal the new, smoother skin underneath. Our surgeons stress the importance of not only using a moisturizer and minimizing direct sun exposure, but also not scratching or rubbing at the healing skin. Most patients who undergo a deep chemical peel will usually take a week or two off from work, depending on how long it takes for the new skin to appear.

If you are not satisfied with the facial rejuvenation results you are getting from topical creams or lotions, a chemical peel may be a good method for you to achieve the results you want. However, it is vital to follow the recovery instructions that our surgeons provide in order to get the best possible outcome from your procedure. 

Questions? Email us today.

To make or reschedule an appointment please complete the form below or call:  (215) 625-6630.

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Jefferson Plastic Surgery is located on the corner of 9th and Walnut streets in Center City, Philadelphia on the 15th floor of the Wills Eye Hospital Building.

Jefferson Plastic Surgery
840 Walnut Street - 15th Floor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Phone: (215) 625-6630
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