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dos and don’ts for post-peel care

Jordana Mattioli's post-peel guidelines for getting the most out of your treatment.

how to care for your skin after a peel

Chemical peels remain the most popular treatments among my clients, and for good reason: they are quick, easy, affordable, and provide immediate gratification! With a variety of acid types and strengths, chemical peels are an effective way to treat almost every skin issue from acne to photodamage by dissolving the proteins that hold together skin cells, accelerating cell turnover, and boosting collagen.

After your peel, what you do — and don’t do — can dramatically enhance your results. Even though many peels don’t have any visible downtime, you still want to treat your skin gently over the next few days. Here are my post-peel guidelines for getting the most out of your treatment.

Cleanse, Nourish, and Protect

  • Your cleanser should be mild, soap-free and gentle to remove impurities without disturbing the skin barrier during healing. Dermalogica’s UltraCalming™ Cleanser contains calming Bisabolol, Oat Kernel Extract, and Cucumber extract to soothe freshly peeled skin. Use cool water when rinsing and avoid hot water on the face when showering for the first few days. Heat could exacerbate irritation, so I also recommend not sweating or doing heavy exercise the first few days after a peel. Also avoid using anything abrasive like washcloths, scrubs, and cleansing brushes for 5 to 7 days after your peel.
  • Keeping your skin hydrated is essential post-treatment, but we also want to soothe inflammation while simultaneously nourishing with antioxidants. If you are on the drier side, go with the velvety Barrier Repair moisturizer. It contains anti-irritants like Oat and botanical actives plus Vitamins C & E. If you have oily skin, try the UltraCalming™ Serum Concentrate. It has an array of anti-irritants like the Barrier Repair, but in a lighter texture. If your skin is feeling parched at any time during the day, it’s easy to want to over moisturize, but instead, spritz on the UltraCalming™ Mist to immediately minimize any discomfort. Try stashing it in the fridge for an even more refreshing treat. Avoid using retinoids, topical acne medication, and Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Acids for 5 to 7 days after your peel because they can disrupt the healing process.
  • Protecting your skin from the sun should already be part of your daily regimen, but post-peel it's non-negotiable. Switch to a chemical-free sunscreen that is formulated specifically for sensitized skin using only natural UV protectors like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Dermalogica’s Super Sensitive Shield SPF30 is loaded with antioxidants and botanicals to protect your skin. Over the next week, keep your face out of direct sun, seek shade, and find a cute hat!

Maintain Your Results

How many professional peels you do will vary depending on what we are treating. Generally, I’ll recommend monthly sessions, anywhere between 2 to 6, until we solve the issue. Once your series is over, you can maintain your results by incorporating a gentler version of these acids at home with Dermalogica’s Rapid Reveal Peel for weekly exfoliation. This formula comes in single, travel-friendly, pre-packaged doses — and there’s no neutralizing or complicated applications. Just apply the peeling solution to cleansed skin, and after 3-7 minutes, give it a good rinse with cold water. Bonus, there is enough product to also treat your neck and chest.

Rapid Reveal Peel has a potent mix of clinically proven Alpha Hydroxy Acids in the form of Lactic Acid, Citric Acid and Phytic Acid — but also uses a fermented plant enzyme to increase cell turnover. Also in the mix are a unique blend of humectants to hydrate along with soothing ingredients to calm and nourish the skin, making it ideal for all skin colors and types.

NEW! Rapid Reveal Peel is a professional-grade at-home peel that helps reveal brighter, healthier skin in just minutes a week

Jordana Mattioli

Licensed medical esthetician and sought-after beauty expert, Jordana Mattioli, has been tending to faces since 2001. Her high-tech facials use the latest anti-aging technologies, techniques and innovative products to create results-oriented treatments for each client. She performs a wide range of skin care treatments through private appointment in Manhattan within the dermatology practice of Complete Skin MD.

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