How to Prepare for a Chemical Peel? – A-Z Guide

How to Prepare for a Chemical Peel

Chemical peels are great facial treatments for those who want brighter, smoother, and youthful-looking skin. They are a little more involved since they involve removing the outer layers of the skin and possibly less gentle than having a facial, but boy are they worth it!

Read the benefits of a chemical peel below and we’re sure you’ll agree. 

  • Better skin tone and texture 
  • Better skin clarity and colour 
  • Better skin hydration 
  • Increased production of collagen and elastin – skin’s structural proteins 
  • Decreased appearance of blemishes, fine lines, wrinkles, and superficial scarring 
  • Improved penetration of skincare products  

By the way, chemical peels can benefit the skin of your hands, chest, and neck.

Skin is skin, right? 

Preparing for a chemical peel is important so you get the results you want. Here, we’ll walk you through how to prepare for a chemical peel and the chemical peel process day by day. 

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How to Prepare for a Chemical Peel 

1. Choose the Right Peel 

Not every peel is going to be right for everyone. We all have different skin types, tones, concerns, and sensitivities. Make sure you discuss what your skincare goals and experiences have been in the past with treatments and products. Being honest with your physician or medical aesthetician will go a long way in helping you achieve your desired results. 

2. Give an Accurate Health History 

Letting your physician or medical aestheticians know what medical conditions, medications you may be taking as well as any allergies you have will help them ensure your peel is safe for you. 

3. Avoid Exfoliating 

Chemical peels are deeply exfoliating so you should avoid exfoliating before a peel for a minimum of a week. Make sure you check the ingredients of your skincare products because even though you may not be using a “scrub,” there are ingredients in your products that will still act as exfoliants like vitamin C, fruit enzymes and various acids. 

4. Stop Using Products that Target Acne or Ageing 

Anti-ageing or acne products can dry out your skin or over-exfoliate your skin before the chemical peel and therefore, affect how your skin responds to the treatment. 

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5. Hydrate! and Oh…Hydrate! (H2O)  

Drink lots of water before you have your peel (that’s like an everyday rule, anyways) and especially on the day of your peel. Being dehydrated can make your skin more sensitive to the peel.  

6. Use Sun Protection 

This is true before a peel and especially important after the chemical peel to ensure you don’t burn or damage the delicate skin under the layers that have been removed. We recommend using an SPF 30 or higher. 

7. Avoid Using Make-Up 

Refraining from wearing make-up will help ensure that your skin is clean and clear before your chemical peel. This will allow your skin to take a breather and detox as wearing makeup can lead to more oil production by the skin. 

8. Avoid Tanning, Waxing and Tweezing 

Prior to a chemical peel, you should avoid tanning beds and actively tanning in the sunlight as well as waxing and tweezing. These activities will make your skin sensitive and irritate your skin during the chemical peel process. 

9. Stop Smoking 

While this is generally good advice for optimal health, it is important, and smoking will hinder the healing process after the chemical peel. Additionally, smoking leads to skin that looks older, yellowish and wrinkles around the mouth. 

10. Mentally Prepare to follow After-Care Instructions 

Your provider will give you specific instructions after the chemical peel to keep your skin comfortable and optimize your results. This may include advice on diet, products, sleeping position etc.  

The Chemical Peel Process Day by Day  

DAYS Before the Chemical Peel 

Even before you have the chemical peel, focus on getting your skin into tip-top shape. Your provider may recommend that you use a retinol product or an alpha-hydroxy acid over a month in advance to remove dead skin that may prevent the peel from penetrating and giving you your optimal results.

In some situations, your doctor may suggest using a bleaching ingredient like hydroquinone to help with pigmentation. However, make sure you follow the advice of your doctor and stop using the products as recommended to ensure you don’t irritate your skin before and during the chemical peel process. 


Cleanse your skin like normal and do not wear make-up. Your technician will also cleanse your skin at the clinic and then apply the peel. You will leave the clinic and the peel will still be on your face. Follow the instructions you’ve been given by the clinic and technician.

You may find your face is sensitive, but you will not see any peeling today. Stay out of the sun, use sunglasses, and wear a wide-brimmed hat. Your technician will have applied sunscreen with an SPF 30, at least, but reapply as required. 

DAY 1 – Day After the Peel 

Today, you may notice some peeling of the top layers of your skin. It may appear dry and flaky, and areas of the skin may be red. Do not pick at the skin or manually peel it off. You may also notice that your skin is “purging” which means that any skin blemishes that were under the skin surface are now beginning to show. This is normal and a part of the healing process. Again, do not pick at them! 

Gently cleanse your face and avoid scrubbing. Follow up with a hydrating moisturizers.

DAY 2 & 3 – 2 or 3 Days After the Peel 

This is when you will really start to experience the peeling. More dry, flaky skin will be noticeable. Avoid picking, pulling, and scrubbing your skin. Stay hydrated and out of the sun. 

DAY 7 – 1 Week After the Peel 

All your patience will have paid off by now. You’ll start to see much less flakiness and smoother skin. Depending on how sensitive your skin is you may still be healing for up to 2 weeks. You will be able to return to your normal skincare routine, but it is always best to check with your clinic if you have any concerns or aren’t sure. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: Preparing for Chemical Peels   

How to care for skin after a chemical peel? 

Your skin will be sensitive after a chemical peel so be gentle and don’t touch your face. Don’t pick, scrub, or pull off flaky skin. These activities will irritate your skin more and can also lead to scarring or infection. Cleanse with a gentle formula and ask your technician for some recommendations if you’re not sure. Some products we like include: 

Additionally, avoid the sun and heat (saunas, hot tubs). If your skin is feeling warm or red, apply a cold compress to soothe the skin. Maintaining good hydration by drinking lots of water will also speed up the healing process.  

How long after a chemical peel can you exfoliate? 

It’s best to wait until the peel and flaking has stopped from the chemical peel before exfoliating. This could be 1-2 weeks depending on the strength of the peel. 

Can you get a chemical peel while pregnant? 

While you’re pregnant, it may be best to refrain from having chemical peels. Some of the acid formulations may be safe, but others may not be. Also, if you’re having a peel to eliminate hyperpigmentation or skin issues that are developing during pregnancy, they may continue after the peel due to elevated hormone levels. Additionally, some of these issues may be resolved once the baby is born. 

Can you wear makeup after a chemical peel? 

No, you should not wear make-up after a chemical peel. Your skin will be sensitive and can become irritated and even infected by ingredients that may be in your make-up. If possible, wait at least a few days until the peeling has subsided. 

Can I work out after a chemical peel? 

Working out or exercising after a chemical peel may irritate the skin since you will be sweating. It is best to wait a few days before resuming vigorous workouts. Additionally, when you are sweating and producing heat, it may inadvertently create more redness and inflammation. 

Does chemical peel remove facial hair? 

While this is not an intended effect, yes, at times, chemical peels can remove “peach fuzz” from the face. 

What not to do after a chemical peel? 

Do not: expose yourself to heat or the sun, touch your face, scrub, exercise for a few days and do not exfoliate. 

How soon can you dermaplane after a chemical peel? 

After a chemical peel, it is best to wait about 4-6 weeks to dermaplane. However, it can be done prior to the peel. 

Can you get a chemical peel after Botox? 

Yes, it is perfectly fine to have a chemical peel after Botox. We recommend waiting 2 weeks until the Botox has taken full effect. 

Sun exposure after chemical peel? 

You should avoid direct sun exposure after having a chemical peel. Your skin will be tender and there is an increased risk of sunburn. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect the delicate skin of your face (or protective clothing to cover areas of your chest, neck, and hands if these areas have been treated). 

Where on the body can chemical peels be used?

 They can be used on the face, hands, neck, and chest.  

What skin concerns can chemical peels address? 

Chemical peels can address a variety of concerns including pigmentation, acne, fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture and tone. It’s best to book a consultation visit to discuss your skin concerns with a doctor to ensure you’re getting the right treatment.  

Do I have to go to a medical spa or can I do a chemical peel at home? 

It is always best to visit a medi-spa for a chemical peel since the technicians are trained in these procedures. They can carefully monitor your skin’s reaction and if there is an adverse reaction, they will know how to handle it.

Additionally, a DIY kit may not give you the correct concentration and combination of ingredients which may cause it to underperform or worse, put you at risk for burns or other skin damaging effects. 

For more information book your consultation at any of our cosmetic clinics in Ontario Brantford * Collingwood * Embrun Kincardine * Orillia * Ottawa West * Owen Sound 

You may also call us at +1-866-333-3305 and book your appointment

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