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 15

Largely depends on chemical peel depth and skin healing rate

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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.

Consider medium and deep peels as wounds

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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

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

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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.

Makeup after a Chemical Peel

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Chemical peels safely remove or exfoliate the top layer of dead skin, allowing new, more youthful, healthy skin to show through. While the skin typically sheds old, dull dead skin cells every 28 days, this process slows down with prolonged sun exposure and aging.
Chemical peels cause this natural cell turnover process to speed up, helping to stimulate the growth of new collagen—the skin-firming protein that acts like a scaffold for the skin. The speed or depth of cell turnover is determined by the concentration of the peel and the amount of time it’s left on skin.
Chemical peels can be done at different depths—light, medium, or deep—depending on your desired results. Deeper chemical peels produce more-dramatic results, but also involve longer recovery times.
As long as it's a lower strength peel, you can absolutely start wearing makeup the next day.

It depends on the depth of the chemical peel.

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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

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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.

Wearing makeup after a chemical peel

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This is a very common question and it depends on the peel that you are getting. I would highly suggest not to so that you give your skin time to heal properly. You should wait at least 24hrs if you absolutely need to wear makeup. 

Karl Schwarz, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon

Makeup After Chemical Peels

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Chemical Peels are the ideal way to rejuvenate the skin and remove sun damage and leave the skin fresh and new.  Makeup can be applied after the chemical peels.  However, care must be considered in removing the makeup so that you don't peel off the skin that is exfoliating from the peel.  Please consult an expert in cosmetic dermatology for the best results.

Makeup after Peel

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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.

Make up after a Chemical Peel

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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.


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.