Moisturizer After a 20% Peel

After a 20% glycolic or similar peel, is a pure vegetable oil a good moisturizer or should I purchase a specific moisturizer? I was wondering if I could use cocoa butter or sunflower oil or avocado oil.... Thanks so much in advance!

Doctor Answers 6

Best moisturizer after a peel?

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After a chemical peel, you may find that your skin needs a heavier moisturizer than normal for the first 2 weeks. The moisturizing options are endless, but it helps to follow a few guidelines:

The vegetable oils you ask about can be effective, but you may find that they are too "greasy" and not cosmetically elegant. In addition, some plant derived products can react with the skin to cause a contact dermatitis.

I would recommend, at a minimum, a fragrance free moisturizer specifically formulated for sensitive skin since your skin will be a bit more reactive in the first 2 weeks after a peel.

Ideally, you would use a product with an active ingredient that could help promote faster healing, such as Neocutis BioCream with PSP.

The same applies after a laser treatment or sunburn as well.

Baton Rouge Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Moisturizer After a Glycolic Acid Peel

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In my office, after doing a glycolic acid peel our aestheticians recommend using either Epidermal Repair Cream by SkinCeuticals or Lipid Recovery Cream by Glytone. 

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Post peel

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Not a whole lot needs to be done after a 20% glycolic peel. A good moisturizer like cetaphil cream vanicream , elta MD post peel  usually do fine. I woul dstay away from more than a few applications of a vegetable oil or vaseline because you migfht form little acne like bumps from these products. 

Jo Herzog, MD
Birmingham Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Moisturizers applied directly after a peel may reduce the effectiveness of a peel

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Moisturizers applied directly after a peel may reduce the effectiveness of a peel. Some anecdotal case reports have indicated that it is best to wait up to 30 minutes after a peel to apply a moisture lotion. 

Edward Lack, MD
Chicago Dermatologist

Skin care after glycolic peel

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A glycolic 20% peel is a very superficial peel. It is effective and safe for superficial sun damage and mild acne scarring. You should prepare your skin before by not using retin-a or other retinol creams for 3-4 days. After the peel you should use a gentle moisturizer that is non comedogenic (does not block pores) and fragrance free. Cetaphil is a good gentle one to try. Good luck with the peel!

Mohiba Khan Tareen, MD
Minneapolis Dermatologic Surgeon


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Ask your doctor, the appropriate moisturizer depend on the type of skin.................................

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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.