Chemical Peel Preparation
To ensure a safe and effective peel, the skin barrier should be healthy and robust. Ideally, you should start prepping the skin 6 weeks before your chemical peel.
Using the right products for your skin type at home will increase peel efficacy, creating an even canvas for peel penetration. Peeling sensitized skin - commonly sensitized by over exfoliation, overuse of active products, and inadequate sun protection - can lead to an uneven and risky peel.
Sun protection is essential when preparing for a chemical peel. SPF needs to be used daily, even if your only sun exposure is driving in the car. If you are outdoors for 2+ hours, reapply! If you haven't found a SPF that you love, ask your esthetician!
For your cleanser and moisturizer, products that are gentle enough to use daily are your best bet. Ask your esthetician about any active products (especially prescriptions) that are part of your routine. You will need to discontinue use of active products 1-2 weeks before your peel.
Chemical Peels and Dark Skin
Candidates with richer skin tones are at higher risk for PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation). PIH is caused when traumatized skin triggers a healing response, sending melanocyte cells (pigment cells) to the wounded area. Fitzpatrick types IV-VI should take caution with chemical peels, properly prepping the skin using a tyrosinase inhibitor for at least 6 weeks before a chemical peel.
Lactic and Salicylic Peels are safe for all skin tones. Higher Fitzpatrick types can get other chemical peels with proper preparation and a chemical peel specialist experienced in multicultural skin. A tyrosinase inhibitor - a pigment blocking ingredient in skincare - prevents the mechanisms forming and/or transfering melanin. Using a professional / medical grade tyrosinase inhibitor before and after your peel can ensure a safe peel experience.
Lactic Peel - Superficial peel safe for all skin types, including pregnant women. Improves skin tone and texture with no downtime.
Glycolic Peel - Light peel targets sun damage, hyperpigmentation and discoloration. Improves skin texture.
Salicylic Peel - Medium peel targets inflamed acne, breaking down sebum and decongesting pores.
Jessner's Peel - Strong peel targets skin texture, scarring, discoloration, and non-inflammatory acne.
TCA Peel - Strong Peel targets skin texture, including fine lines, wrinkles, loss of volume, and pit scarring.
VI Peels - Medical grade peels address different skin concerns - aging, acne, and uneven skin tone. Each VI Peel contains phenol - a numbing agent - for a painless peel and a home care kit to take care of your skin post peel.
Chemical Peel Care
Sensitivity and amount of peeling varies by individual and strength of peel. Most individuals will not peel after a superficial peel, like a Lactic Peel. For a more aggressive peel, like a TCA or Jessner's Peel, I recommend planning for a week of downtime. It's common for acne prone individuals to "purge" after a chemical peel - everything trapped under the skin will come to the surface.
After a chemical peel, avoid heat and working out for 48 hours. Sweating during this time period can result in an uneven peel / blistering.
For the first 1-2 weeks after a chemical peel - avoid sun exposure, active products, and exfoliation. Do NOT rub your skin when cleansing / drying - "pat" the skin so you don't "roll" any peeling skin. Keep skin moisturized and reapply moisturizer before you start to feel dry. Keep your skin hydrated from the inside out - make sure you are drinking enough water throughout each day. Let skin naturally shed - do NOT pick, pull, or exfoliate.
Ask your esthetician about scheduling an exfoliation treatment 2 weeks post chemical peel. I recommend dermaplaning or microdermabrasion to remove any remaining dead skin / shedding caused by the peel.
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