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Chemical Peel Recovery Time

I am a professional, very busy. Cannot afford to be out of work for long recovering from a  chemical peel. How much downtime can I expect from chemical peels of different depths?

Doctor Answers 36

Chemical peel downtime

Moderate or medium depth chemical peels with 35% TCA will get great results, but snake skin peeling starts 3 days after the peel and lasts 1 week.

Superficial peels do not achieve the same results but can be done with little to no downtime. You may consider a series of fractionated erbium yag laser peels, as these can be done on Friday, and by Monday there is no real evidence of the treatment.

However, remember this may require several treatments for optimal results, and the more aggressive the treatment, the more days added on to the recovery.

In general, if you were given the option for a medium depth chemical peel than a fractionated erbium yag will get similar results in 1-2 treatments without the loss of 1 week of work.

Boulder Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Chemical Peel downtime

It all depends on the depth of the peel and your skin. I have seen patients not have any redness at all after light peels, and only have a pleasant "glow", while others have had redness that lasted for about a week or two. Deep peels can result in redness that lasts for a few weeks.

Chemical peels and downtime

IMHO, you simply cannot have your cake and eat it too.  I am certain that others will disagree with me but the peels or the fractionated lasers that brag about being lunchtime or no downtime, are, in my opinion, not particularly effective either.  On the other hand, a light-medium depth peel on a Friday might have you back to work on a Monday and still achieve a reasonable effect.

Lawrence Kass, MD
Saint Petersburg Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Downtime after chemical peels

The amount of downtime after a chemical peel depends on the strength of the peel.  Depending upon your goals, and the condition of your skin, there are a number of chemical peels that are what I call 'low to no downtime."  There include glycolic acid, salicylic acid, Jessner's and Vi Peel.  The peeling process is usually over in a week.  The peeling usually starts 1-3 days after treatment and is most noticable for about 24 hours after it starts.  I usually advise patients that are concerned about downtime (and who don't mind peeling on the weekend)  to get the peel on a Thursday.  The peeling will likely not start sooner than Friday night and will mostly be over by Monday.

Dina D. Strachan, MD
New York Dermatologist
3.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Chemical Peel downtime

The amount of downtime you have from a chemical peel really depends on the type (strength) of the peel. Superficial peels which include glycolic acid, salicylic acid and TCA 15% do not cause much downtime at all. Patients undergoing superficial chemical peeling can expect to have mild redness and peeling, both of which can be easily covered up. More aggressive peeling (medium strength and higher) can cause a lot more swelling, redness, crusting and peeling and therefore have greater downtime.

The tradeoff is that you get much better results with more aggressive peeling. Your doctor will be able to discuss your goals and your work restrictions and come up with the best peel for you.

Chemical peel for busy professional

First you need to identify what you what to correct with the peel. Or could it be just "maintenance"? The type of peel that will meet your goals can then be selected. The recovery time depends on the peel. So, for example, if you have significant facial wrinkles, this will require a peel such as a TCA. You will be "out of commission" for about a week. If you have some areas of pigmentation, skin is dull, etc. you could do a series of glycolic peels with no downtime. So it depends on what your goals are.

Hope this helps.

Tracy M. Pfeifer, MD, MS

Tracy Pfeifer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

No downtime with chemical peels if you use a lot of makeup

Light chemical peels have no down time and are usually done every 2 weeks for 5-6 times @ $175-250 each. Medium TCA peels flake and peel for a week but can be covered up with a lot of makeup so you may not have any down time with them at $500-1000 each, and usually 1-2 are needed.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Chemical Peels and Recovery Time

Chemical peels will have different recovery time depending on the goal and level of treatment.  A strong peel with 20% or more TCA will take about a week of peeling.  Lighter peels will hardly have any peeling and you will look refreshed and rejuvenated right away.  I always combine these peel with the correct skin care products to give the best cosmetic results.  Some of my patients choose to combine peels with other procedures such as V-Beam laser to treat the redness from the sun damage since this also does not leave any down time and rejuvenates the skin.  Clear and Brilliant is another option to tighten pores and leave skin looking  beautiful with absolutely no down time.  Please consult a board certified dermatologist with expertise in chemical peels.  Best, Dr. Green

Chem peel downtimes.

If you are just having a mild peel with Glycolic acid 30-40% this will usually have minimal to no downtime, but will require multiple sessions if you are looking to correct pigmentation and reverse sun damage.

Kaleroy Papantoniou, MD, FAAD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Different depths of peels & downtime

Chemical peels can be done light, medium, or deep—depending on your desired results. The breakthrough is that now we have non-invasive gentle peels that result in little to no downtime, but still give patients extraordinary results. My patients are able to come in during their lunch break and return to work with no redness or flakiness, just beautiful, glowing skin.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 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.