Ask a doctor

Can I Start Wearing Makeup a Day After a Chemical Peel?

After a chemical peel, can I start wearing makeup the next day? If not, how long do I have to wait?

Doctor Answers 12

Make up is not sterile and should be avoided on bare skin

A chemical peel can cause varying degrees of skin exfoliation. In some cases, a peel may result in compete exfoliation of the skin to the level of the dermis.

In the recovery period, it is important to maximize the rate of reepithelialization of the skin, whereby new skin is formed.

There are two problems associated with using makeup on bare skin. The first is that they may contain heavy minerals or metals, which may deposit in the dermis prior to reepithelialization and cause permanent discoloration in the future.

Second, makeup is generally non-sterile and may expose your skin to contaminants during the critical healing period.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Have a question? Ask a doctor

Largely depends on chemical peel depth and skin healing rate

This is a common question with chemical peels, or any laser resurfacing procedure for wrinkle reduction. The answer largely depends on the depth of the chemical peel and the rate at which your skin heals following the cosmetic procedure. You want to minimize skin irritation after any peel or resufacing procedure. Lunchtime peels are generally very superficial peels, such as low strength glycolic acid. One may be able to start wearing makeup the next day. With deeper peels, your cosmetic surgeon will provide and recommend a guideline to help the healing process. Makeup can be usually be worn approximately 7 to 10 days after a deeper peel. Skin is vulnerable after peels and resurfacing, and application of makeup prematurely will delay healing and risk causing infection, pigmentation changes, or scarring. Each individual recovers at a varying rate. Keep in close communication with your plastic surgeon and dermatologist, who will tell you when you can resume makeup use.

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Consider medium and deep peels as wounds

Medium and deep depth peels are great ways to treat skin discoloration and fine wrinkles. They work by removing the outer layers of skin.

It is important that you give your skin time to heal. In my San Francisco practice we typically wait 7-10 days before allowing make-up to minimize the risk of scars and infection.

An additional part that is VERY important especially for deeper peels is when you begin using make-up again look for make-up that has sun screen in it. (Sunscreen should always be used but is even more important post-peel or laser).

I hope this helps!

Steven Williams, MD

It depends on the depth of the chemical peel.

The "lunchtime peel" usually presents no problem. After any peel, you want to minimize irritation to the skin, so tread lightly. With more aggressive or deeper peels, your provider will usually provide or recommend a suitable topical designed to optimize your outcome. This is part of the education he or she should be giving you when you enlist their services.

Stephen A. Goldstein, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Depends On The Peel

Lighter chemical peels such as the Vi-Peel, or lower-strength Glycolic Acid or TCA peels, cause minimal skin exfoliation. After these types of chemical peels, patients may apply make-up, preferably with a sunscreen, as soon as the next day.

Deeper TCA Peels, or Phenol Peels, generally cause a greater degree and more prolonged exfoliation. For these types of peels, it is important to allow the skin to exfoliate and regenerate more completely, before applying make-up.

Ask your surgeon or dermatologist when it is possible to begin using make-up again, and be sure that the make-up you choose contains a sunscreen as well.

Athleo Louis Cambre, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Makeup after chemical peel

Depending on what type of peel was performed, make can be applied a day after your treatment. With a light to medium peel, make up can be applied the next day. Deep chemical peels will have more downtime and the skin should be protected with Polysporin or other post peel ointment. With these peels no make up should be applied until the skin has calmed down and started healing. This is to avoid causing an infection to the treated area.

Makeup after Peel

Usually makeup may be applied the following day after a chemical peel.  But there are different strengths of peels, and if you are doing a deep aggressive peel, it is important to consult your skin care provider to make sure you know what he/she recommends for your post care.

Jeffrey W. Hall, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Make up after a Chemical Peel

After a superficial peel, (one with little peeling), you can apply makeup the next day.  Following a deep chemical peel you want to wait until the peeling process is complete due to more aggressive peeling of the skin.  Not applying makeup after a deep peel will give the skin time to heal, breathe, and will lessen the chance of infection and irritation. After both peels you should apply sunscreen with the high SPF factor.


Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

It depends on the strength and depth of the chemical peel

For mild peels such as 15% glycolic or salicylic acis, mineral makeup if fine.Mineral makeup desn't have any chemicals or preservatives and won't cause any irritation to the skin. Most of the mineral makeup brands also have SPF 15-18.That will give you some extra protection but you should still have you sunscreen every day. Forr deeper and more aggressive chemical peels you should consult your doctor when is safe to apply makeup.

Yes you can but be gentle with putting it on and taking it off.

You can wear makeup after most chemical peels but be careful not to irritate the skin by rubbing the makeup on or taking it off too aggressively. The irritation can cause hyperpigmentation or discolorations which may need additional peels or bleaching creams to resolve it. You should always have a cortisone cream available after a chemical peel to calm down any irritated red skin and wear a sunscreen as well.


David Hansen,MD

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.