Post Operative Chemical Peel Instructions

The following is a list of general instructions for your care following your peel. Please read them carefully several times as most of your questions should be answered here. Instructions for your care will also be reviewed following your peel. Carefully following these instructions should help you get the best results from your procedure.

After the Peel
Following your chemical peel you should have another adult stay with you the first night. You should plan on remaining within thirty miles from our office for the first night. It is also important for you to keep your head elevated the evening after the peel as well as for the following two weeks. This can be done by either sleeping in a recliner tilted at 45 degrees or sleeping with two pillows underneath your head. Avoid rolling onto your face. Sleeping on your back for the first two weeks helps to ensure this.

Daily Care

  1. Taking 4×4 gauze soaked with cool or tepid tap water; gently go over all resurfaced areas six times a day. The goal with each cleaning is to remove the exfoliating skin and crusting that develops with this. This should be a gentle process with no scrubbing or abrading. If you have pain or develop bleeding you are scrubbing too hard.  Lots of water and frequent cleanings are most important.
  2. Try to get in the shower or bath at least once of not twice a day. Gently massage the peeled areas. This can be counted as one of your 6 daily cleanings.
  3. After each cleaning apply with Q-tips a thick coat of Aquaphor ointment. This should look like icing on a cake. This will provide the moisture your skin very much needs during the healing process.
  4. Following these directions and keeping your skin well lubricated will help quicken the healing process.
  5. By day ten to twelve your skin will be completely resurfaced. At this point you may still use the Aquaphor ointment as needed for moisture. At this point we will coordinate a make up session to review skin care and demonstrate how to camouflage the pink color of your skin.

What to expect
Swelling will vary patient-to-patient. Swelling may actually increase the first three to four days before subsiding.  Most of your swelling should resolve over the first two to three weeks. Do expect, however, to have minor fluctuations in the remaining swelling over the course of the next two to three months. Things to do to minimize this swelling include keeping your head elevated as much as possible over the first two to three weeks, avoiding bending over or heavy lifting for the first three weeks, and avoiding prolonged sun exposure for the first three months.

Even after resurfacing, your skin will remain somewhat “pink” for several weeks. This is expected. We will coordinate a make-up session after you are resurfaced to help with camouflage.

It is not uncommon for patients to go through a period of mild depression after cosmetic surgery. This typically occurs the second week after surgery while some of the swelling and bruising still persist and yet the patient is anxious to see a final result. Realize this is a temporary condition and things will improve. Focus on diligently following the wound care as well as other activities to help divert your mind.


  1. No strenuous exercise for at least two weeks.
  2. No heavy lifting for three weeks.

The healing time for chemical peels is often less than expected and the results are worth the wait. While most discoloration will fade over the first two to three months, your healing will continue for the entire first year. I will follow you through this entire process, but please be patient.

Please do not hesitate to ever contact our office.

Mark M. Hamilton, M.D., F.A.C.S.
317-210-4339 (Greenwood)
317-614-0639 (Carmel)