Why Peels are Worth the Wait

Why Peels are Worth the Wait

When it comes to non-invasive procedures, what’s best—a facial or a chemical peel? It completely depends on what you want to achieve, but for many people a chemical peel is best. We offer a variety of options at RefinedMD, but let’s talk about what this treatment entails. There are varying depths of peels, and a trend in recent years leans towards light or superficial peels. These peels are so light that, many times, no peeling or flaking even takes place. You may be told that even if you don’t peel that the treatment is working below the surface, but ultimately, you’re going to get better results with a medium-depth peel. There is some downtime with these, but they are worth the wait.

One of the most common medium-depth peels is a TCA peel (available in varying strengths or percentages). A medium-depth peel removes more levels of skin than a light peel and will definitely, well, peel. You will look pink right after the application, and in the case of a TCA peel there is no neutralizer needed. You go home with the peel still “on” and are allowed to wash your face with an approved cleanser about 4 – 5 hours after it’s been applied. You will still look pinkish a day or two after the peel, but in most cases clients feel comfortable going about their day. During this time, sun damage will darken and appear like it’s being pulled towards the surface.

Peak Peel Time

Most clients start peeling 3 – 5 days after a medium-depth peel has been applied. This can initially look a bit like you applied Elmer’s glue to your face and let it dry. Resist “helping” the peel at this stage (don’t pick at it), as it can cause cracking, bleeding, and even scarring. The glue-type “mask” will darken the day after it appears. At this point, you might notice that it starts to fall off in pieces on its own. This often happens while you’re sleeping and/or washing your face. It’s usually okay to wash your face once per day, but avoid wearing anything besides your provider-approved moisturizer and sunscreen during the first week.

It is absolutely paramount that you apply moisturizer at least twice per day during the first week, and perhaps more often. This will help to speed up the healing and peeling process while avoiding any cracking. You might notice that once the initial “mask” peels away on its own, skin will then go through a flaking stage. It can be very tempting to pick at this time but, yet again, avoid this. You will easily be able to tell when areas are completely treated. Skin becomes dewy, soft, and baby-smooth. You will notice an increase in sebum in these areas, which helps with healing.

The Best Part of Peels 

Peels can be an effective solution for turning back the clock and lightening lines and wrinkles while removing hyperpigmentation. In the case of UV damage, you might notice that brown spots literally peel or flake away with the old, dull sun. On average, you can do a medium-depth peel about once per year. It can be a fantastic solution for aging on its own, or can be combined with other procedures and treatments (both surgical and non-surgical). Peels are especially preferred for those who want a dewier complexion and to reverse the signs of sun damage.

For several weeks after a peel, skin is very vulnerable to UV rays. It’s critical to apply sunscreen every time you are exposed for at least eight weeks post-treatment, and re-apply every 75 minutes. This is the common recommendation for anyone, but especially for those who recently got a peel. Protect the skin as best you can with wide-brimmed hats and by simply avoiding the sun during this time. If you have a tropical vacation planned, it’s tempting to want to look your best—but opt for other treatments like Botox rather than chemical peels if a sun-soaked getaway is in your future. Instead, schedule that peel for when you return.


Today, there are peels suitable for all skin tones and types. In years past, those with more melanin faced a risk of hypopigmentation with peels, but that’s no longer the case. To find out which peel is for you, contact RefinedMD today by calling the office or filling out the online contact form.