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?
Chemical Peel Recovery Time
Doctor Answers 37
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.
Chemical Peel downtime
Downtime Varies With Depth of Peel
For my busy professionals who cannot withstand the downtime associated with chemical peels, I offer the alternative - the micropeel. This two step procedure incorporates two forms of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical. It allows the busy professional to attain the
benefits of a chemical peel without the redness, downtime and discomfort. It is great for all skin types and makeup can be worn immediately following the treatment.
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Different Strengths of Chemical Peels
In our office, we offer many different depths of chemical peels in order to accomodate any lifestyle. Our most minimal downtime comes from the SkinCeuticals Micropeel - which offers no downtime and with a series of these peels, you will get great results with reducing fine lines, pore size, and acne, all while making your skin more radiant. We also offer something called the "Party Peel" (SkinMedica Illuminize Peel), which is great to do the day of an event. It makes your skin glow and look young, fresh, and tight. You will not peel from this peel either. There is a period of downtime with the other peels that we offer ranging from 3-5 days to 7-10 days.
Recovery time after a chemical peel
Recovery time is dependent on the strength of the chemical peel. With "stronger" superficial depth peels and "lighter" medium depth peels, you can often expect 5-7 days of peeling time. The peeling typically begins about 24-48 hours after the peel is applied. Prior to the start of peeling, your skin will begin to feel "tight" and wrinkled. Never forcefully pull any skin off after a chemical peel. You must allow the skin to peel off on its own. Use gentle cleansers and moisturizers for several weeks after the peel. Lastly, make sure to use sunscreen and practice sun avoidance after your peel.
Hope this helps!
Zero to 14 days.
Go for lunch time peels, see a Specialist, start at 20 % Glycolic then goto 70% Glycolic if tolerated.
Other options for limited recovery- 30% TCA with acetone scrub, 6-7 day downtime.
Explore lasers such as Fraxel 1027/ 1550 as other non peel options.
All the best
Dr Davin Lim
Laser and cosmetic dermatologist
Brisbane and Gold Coast.
Chemical Peel Recovery
Quick answer, we never know. Everybody’s skin reacts a bit differently – I’ve had patients with persistent, week-long redness after a lunchtime 30% glycolic acid peel and I’ve had patients not even peel after a trichloracetic acid 50%! Longer answer, here’s a general rule of thumb for peel severity, ranging from hours of redness/peeling to weeks. I’ve included several commonly used but not all peel ingredients. Malic Acid (fruit) > Mandelic Acid > Glycolic > Trichloraceitic > Jesner’s > Phenol. This is a general rule-of-thumb, but remember that an 80% glycolic may give you redness for longer than a 20% Trichloracetic, so varying concentrations very much count.
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