What Are the Risks of Tanning a Few Days Before a Chemical Peel?

Does it increase the chance of blistering during the first few days? Is there an increase in possibly scarring or uneven skin tone?

Doctor Answers 4

Tanning before a peel

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Tanning puts you at much higher risk for melanoma so it is a bad idea from a medical standpoint.  From a practical standpoint, getting a chemical peel after tanning would be a waste of time as the peel would remove the newly tanned  layers of skin.

Chesterfield Dermatologic Surgeon

Tanning Puts You At Risk

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As mentioned by other physicians, tanning increases one's risk of developing skin cancer, such as melanoma.  Therefore, I do not recommend tanning for anyone.  That aside, I definitely do not recommend tanning before getting a chemical peel as the skin will likely be much more sensitive to the peel and possibly impair wound healing.  I also absolutely insist on strict sun avoidance after a peel, for the same reasons. If you want to look tan, then use a self-tanner or go for a spray tan.  

Channing R. Barnett, MD
Boca Raton Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Is Tanning Safe Before a Chemical Peel?

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Ultra violet light causes damage to DNA in your skin.  Tanning is a protective mechanism that is stimulated by the damage to the DNA.  The more we know about tanning beds, the less they are accepted as safe.  A peel helps to eliminate damaged upper layers of skin.  It is not a good idea to purposely damage your skin before repairing your skin.  Find a good spray tan product instead.  That's the only healthy option.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews

The real risk of what you are about to do!

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Dear Soccwr009,

I am so glad you offered us the opportunity here in the RealSelf forum to talk to you about tanning!

The real risk of doing it is the increase susceptiblity of getting malignant melanoma. I have had the unfortunate opportunity to take care of young white women who develope this fatal illness in the prime of their lives. If you want to do something great for yourself and your future, then get a "tan" in a bottle and stay out of the tanning bed.


Yours in good health,

B Johnson MD

Beverly Johnson, MD
Silver Spring Dermatologic 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.