A phenol peel is one of the most effective cosmetic treatments available. It can be used to treat conditions that are unaffected by other types of peels, like light (superficial) or medium peels, such as precancerous growth removal. In fact, this treatment is so powerful that you can only get one session throughout the course of your life. Today, our experts at OptimizeFaceMD in Aliso Viejo, CA share how you can care for your skin after this type of peel.
What Should I Avoid After a Phenol Peel?
The most important thing to avoid after a phenol peel is dehydration. Your skin is an organ that comprises 64% water when it is healthy and hydrated. If your body is hydrated, your skin will be healthy and hydrated and you will see the final results of your treatment fairly quickly. Unfortunately, if you don’t consume enough hydrating fluids, your skin will be dehydrated and you will extend the wait to see the results you are looking for.
To ensure that you are hydrated, start with making a point to drink half of a gallon of hydrating fluids, like water, sparkling water, tea and coffee. However, everyone’s fluid intake needs are unique; if your urine is dark after drinking half of a gallon daily, try to incorporate more water-dense foods into your diet. Fruits, vegetables and broth-based soups will help you get and stay hydrated.
Acidic Foods and Drinks
You should also avoid consuming acidic foods and beverages until your skin has finished peeling. For example, you should hold off on consuming any citrus fruits, juices or smoothies made with citrus fruits and red sauces. If you get marinara sauce on your chin as your skin is healing itself, your skin may feel irritated.
Picking at Your Peeling Skin
It is absolutely crucial that you avoid picking at your peeling skin during your recovery process. There are several reasons for this, including the risk for infection and acne breakouts. To mitigate the risk of an infection or acne breakout, do your best to not touch your face at all during your recovery process. If you have to touch your face, wash your hands thoroughly with hot water and antibacterial soap.
Even if you touch your face inadvertently throughout the day, do not pick at your peeling skin. If you do, your skin will take longer to heal and it will take you longer to see the final results of your treatment. We cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your fingers off of your face and not “speed up” the healing process by picking at your peeling skin.
Exfoliating Your Skin
It’s important to avoid exfoliating your skin after a deep chemical peel because you want your skin to peel naturally. If you do anything to speed up the peeling process, including mechanical exfoliation that may be part of your regular skincare routine, you risk making yourself uncomfortable. You are also not doing yourself any favors regarding how quickly you see the full extent of the results. It’s also possible your results won’t be as dramatic as you would like.
While sipping a glass of red wine or slowly savoring your favorite local craft beer may seem like an ideal way to reward yourself for taking care of your skin, it should be avoided. In fact, you shouldn’t drink any alcohol at all until your skin has finished peeling. Alcohol affects your body in several ways, not the least of which is dehydrating it.
You should also avoid consuming tobacco products, such as cigarillos, cigarettes, cigars and e-liquid that contains nicotine, during your recovery process. Nicotine consumption is one of the worst things you can do for the health of your skin.
Collagen is the protein that keeps your skin firm, smooth, hydrated, tight and youthful. However, its mesh-like support structure can weaken and sag when certain chemical compounds, like nicotine, get tangled in it, much like a lacrosse ball pushes against a rebounder net. Don’t smoke until your skin is done peeling and strongly consider never smoking again. Physical nicotine withdrawals only last 72 hours; if you can go three days without it, you can go for life.
If you have a deep chemical peel applied to the skin around your nose, do not wear glasses for the first four weeks following your treatment. The frame of a pair of glasses resting on the bridge of your nose can cause pressure that may be uncomfortable and will impede your healing process.
What Should I Do After a Peel?
Sleep on Your Back
It is extremely important that you sleep on your back after a phenol peel. You may feel uncomfortable if you try to sleep on your stomach due to the sensitivity of your healing skin; sleeping on one of your sides may be less uncomfortable, but it is not going to help you see your final results any faster. Furthermore, there is the risk that your pillowcase is not completely clean.
Pull Your Hair Back
We understand that it’s hard to stop touching your face when you don’t realize that you’re doing it. While you may not be able to stop touching your face inadvertently, pulling your hair back if you have long hair will go a long way in helping you not touch your face.
You might not think that you touch your face much when you don’t pull your hair back. If you wore gloves for a day and kept your hair down, you would be surprised by how often you touch your face to tuck your hair back behind your ears. It is particularly important to do this because you don’t wash your hands thoroughly before tucking your hair behind your ear. Therefore, your risk of skin irritation is greater.
Moisturize Your Face
Another important thing for you to do after a deep chemical peel is to moisturize your face. It’s important to not over-moisturize your face because if you over-moisturize your face, it will take longer for your skin to peel fully. However, consuming enough hydrating fluids to keep your body hydrated isn’t always enough to keep your skin moisturized.
During your initial consultation, we will assess what type of skin you have. If you have normal or oily skin, you should moisturize your face once daily with a gentle, hypoallergenic moisturizer, like Cetaphil or Aquaphor. We recommend moisturizing your face in the morning before you go to work to help you feel comfortable throughout the day. It’s perfectly normal for your skin to feel dry during the recovery period.
Embrace Your Natural Beauty
We strongly recommend that you hold off on applying makeup until your skin is finished peeling. The main reason for this is that you minimize contact with your face and mitigate the risk of infection and acne breakouts.
The secondary reason to avoid wearing makeup during your recovery period is that wearing makeup can draw attention to your peeling skin. Finally, makeup that usually does not irritate your skin may be irritating due to how sensitive your skin is post-treatment.
Another thing you must do after a deep chemical peel is to protect your skin from sun damage. As the top layers of your skin peel, revealing the healthy, radiant skin underneath, you are extremely prone to sunburn. There are several steps you can take to mitigate your risk of sun damage, but the most important step you can take is to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen every four hours when you are outside.
The sun protection factor (SPF) that you will need to protect yourself depends on where you fall on the Fitzpatrick scale of skin types. If you have a skin type of III-VI, you will only need an SPF of 30 or 35 to protect your skin. Contrastingly, if you have type I or II skin, you will need sunscreen with an SPF of at least 55. You can also protect your skin from sun damage by minimizing the time you spend in direct sunlight between 10 AM and 4 PM.
Is This Type of Peel Right for Me?
We can tell you whether you are a good candidate for this type of peel when you come in for your initial consultation. Since this treatment is so powerful, we will discuss your aesthetic goals thoroughly to ensure that another, gentler peel wouldn’t be more appropriate. Generally, to be considered a good candidate for this phenol peel treatment, you should be in good health and have severe cosmetic issues you are trying to correct.
For example, you would be considered a good candidate for this phenol peel treatment if you have extensive sun damage, scars that can’t be treated with a superficial or medium peel, pre-cancerous growths or very deep wrinkles. If you’re only concerned about mild-to-moderate wrinkles, you may be a better candidate for a gentler peel with a shorter recovery time.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From This Type of Peel?
Recovery times vary, but most people take two weeks to recover from a deep chemical peel. Recovery can be as short as 10 days if the phenol was diluted with less acidic acids. While there is no way to rush the recovery process, you can take steps to ensure that you do not impede it. During your initial consultation, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of what to do and avoid after treatment, but staying hydrated and not smoking will go a long way.
Again, everyone’s experience after a deep chemical peel is unique. However, most people start to experience peeling skin within 48 to 72 hours of treatment. After that, the skin peeling lasts around five to 10 days. Therefore, you can expect your recovery process to last between seven and 13 days if you keep your skin hydrated, keep your body hydrated, sleep on your back and touch your face as little as possible.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Now
If you have severe skin concerns that you would like to correct, such as deep scarring and wrinkles, a phenol peel recovery may be right for you. However, for the best results, it is crucial that you follow all post-treatment care steps precisely. For example, you should avoid sun damage, dehydration and dry skin to see the final results of your treatment as soon as possible. To learn more, contact us now at OptimizeFaceMD in Aliso Viejo, CA to schedule an appointment.