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What Are the Potential Side Effects of Chemical Peels?

A chemical peel can be a great way to get the vibrant, glowing skin you’ve always wanted. Despite the fact that the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says chemical peels are usually very safe procedures, we understand that potential side effects may give some patients pause. Let’s explore some of the most common side effects and how to deal with them.

Common Chemical Peel Side Effects

After receiving a chemical peel from a licensed dermatologist, you may experience:

  • Redness as the skin repairs itself
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Peeling
  • Scabbing
  • Slight swelling
  • Temporary skin discoloration

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these side effects are signs that your skin is under temporary stress. Because chemical peels strip away dead and dull outer layers of skin, the fresh, newly-exposed layer isn’t used to the air, sun, or the specially-formulated chemical solutions used during treatment.

Talk to your dermatologist about how long these side effects should last. Many times, they last for a few days or weeks. If they last longer, get worse, or if you experience infection, scarring, or other health complications, visit your doctor or dermatologist for solutions.

Dealing With Chemical Peel Side Effects

Always consult your dermatologist about chemical peel aftercare suited for your skin, but in general, there are a few things you can do to nurture your skin and minimize discomfort.

First, wash your face with cool water and gentle cleansers. Hot water may be too harsh and make irritation worse.

Moisturizing after a chemical peel is key. If you already follow a moisturizing routine, ask your dermatologist about the products you use. They may have recommendations better suited to chemical peel aftercare.

If those steps aren’t enough to reduce redness or soothe your skin, you may also use ice packs on the area for up to 20 minutes at a time.

Things That Could Make Side Effects Worse

Avoiding certain things after a chemical peel may be just as important as following the right aftercare steps. Depending on the type of chemical peel you receive, your dermatologist may advise you to avoid:

  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • Heavy exercise and sweating
  • Skin Exfoliation
  • Steam rooms and dry saunas
  • Certain makeup and skincare products

How long you should avoid these things and activities is determined by your skin type and the nature of your chemical peel.

Find Out More About Chemical Peels from Southeast Dermatology

If potential side effects have you on the fence about getting a chemical peel, schedule an appointment with Southeast Dermatology of Georgia. We’ll discuss all of the ins and outs of cosmetic dermatology procedures that could give you the skin you’ve always wanted. We don’t just take pride in our work — we have a passion for keeping our clients as comfortable and informed as possible.

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