What kind of sunscreen should I use after a chemical peel?

I just had a chemical peel and wanted to know what kind of sunscreen to use. Certain spf? Or brand? Or ingredients?

Doctor Answers 5

Sunscreen after Chemical Peels

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With all peels, skin can become sun sensitive afterward, why we always recommend that patients, after having a peel, avoid the sun and wear 50 SPF physical sunscreen sun protection. For lighter peels, an over-the-counter topical broad-spectrum sunscreen works best. For deeper, more intense peels, we recommend that patients avoid direct sun exposure for several days to two weeks.

New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Sunscreen After Chemical Peel

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I always recommend a good sunscreen for everyone, as the sun can cause significant damage. Especially with a chemical peel, which makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, I would suggest using a good sunscreen liberally. First, make sure the sunscreen is broad spectrum, which means that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Both can damage the skin. Second, make sure that it has a SPF of 30 (or more if needed). There are many great sunscreens out there. One favorite is Elta MD, which is a physical sunscreen, meaning that it deflects the sun’s rays, rather than having a chemical reaction on your skin, though many of those are great also and are well tolerated.

David J. Myers, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon

Sunscreen after chemical peel.....They key to a good treatment

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Once you have a chemical peel, you really want to protect the new cells that are forming. Also, you have removed a thin layer of old cells that help filter out some of the UV rays from the sun. 

Protecting your skin from the sun is the most important thing you can do to prevent aging, regardless if you have had a peel or not. 

When you look at sunscreen, make sure it is for both UV A and B and a "Minimum" of spf 35.  In case you are wondering, SPF stands for "Sun Protection Factor." It basically means, when using a spf of 35, you can stay in the sun 35 times longer without getting a sunburn that without the sunscreen. However, that does NOT mean you are getting 0 UV A/B exposure. It just means less. So, the higher the SPF you use, the less total UV light you get and in the end, the more protection you get to your skin. 

So, all this typing and in the end, my point is...The higher the better, but I tell my patients at my plastic surgery clinic in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (yes we get sun here!) a minimum of SPF 35. 

Dr James P. Bonaparte
Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

James Bonaparte, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Ottawa Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Sunscreen Recommendation

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Once your skin has healed I would recommend an SPF at 30.  Sunscreen with zinc will provide extra protection. There is no particular brand better than another.  Final advice should come from your surgeon.

What kind of sunscreen should I use after a chemical peel?

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ONLY use the ones recommended by your peeling doctor. That is what would be consider complete patient care... 

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.