1. Be gentle with your skin! Instead of using your usual washcloth for your face, try switching to something more gentle, like a baby washcloth or facial sponges. Your skin will be irritated, and the rough texture of your normal washcloth might be too much for it.
2. Keep your outdoor activities to a minimum during your recovery. As the top layer of skin flakes and peels off, the new, vulnerable and immature cells below will become exposed to dangerous UV rays. Limit their time in the sun as much as you can.
3. Make sure you wear sunscreen with a high SPF daily. Your skin will be hypersensitive to UV exposure because the tough, outer layer won’t be there to provide adequate protection. A good sunscreen protects your new skin from damage as it heals, regardless of the weather.
4. Depending on how deep a peel you chose, your face may be a little red for a few days or weeks. Try using soothing products that contain chamomile, azulene, or sea whip. These ingredients can comfort the skin while reducing redness. If you’ve just had a light peel, that redness will be so mild that you’ll look more like you’re glowing, which is a good thing! In fact, some people love getting superficial peels just for this reason.
5. Don't pick at flaking skin. The entire point of a chemical peel is to effectively “burn” off the dry and damaged surface layer of skin, revealing healthy, younger-looking cells beneath. To do this, that outer layer has to be shed. This is the most disliked part of the process, but it's best to be patient and allow it to happen on its own. Picking off dry and flaky skin when it's not ready to be shed can lead to scarring, unnecessary redness, and even hyper-pigmentation – a darkening of the skin.
6. Be careful with your moisturizer. It's tempting to over-moisturize in an effort to compensate for post-peeling dryness. It's normal to want to apply a heavy moisturizer to help, but too much can prevent the skin from peeling off. The whole point of a chemical peel is to peel the skin, so let it do its thing. Over-moisturizing can lead to poor results and a longer recovery period.
7. Don't exfoliate! It's best to just allow your skin to shed naturally through the recovery period. Using a facial scrub or acid will only irritate the new skin more, and can even lead to scarring.
8. Use a gentle soap or cleanser to wash your face with, twice daily. This helps reduce oils on the skin, as well as removes bacteria and dead cells that build up over the course of your normal day. Don’t rub your skin too much while you wash.
9. While your skin is peeling try your best to minimize your facial expressions. Moving the muscles in your face too much can cause the skin to crack before its ready, leading to poor results. This isn't the time to see a comedy or visit your dentist!
10. If problems arise, like an unexpected irritation or a possible infection, call the office of your provider right away. You’ll want to resolve any complications as soon as possible. Don’t wait until your next appointment. This is especially important advice if you think you might be developing a cold sore on your lip.
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