The three types of chemical peels, light, medium and deep, are so named for their increasingly more penetrating ability to remove dead and dull cells from the skin. It follows that as the strengths of the peels increase, deeper skin cells will be affected during treatment and more severe blistering and peeling will occur afterwards. Therefore, for each type of chemical peel, the length of the recovery and the aftercare maintenance procedure can be significantly different.
Recovering from Light Peels
Light peels are the mildest and least penetrating. Post treatment recovery is also the quickest; patients will be able to resume normal life almost immediately after the procedure. There are rare occurrences of minor side effects, such as some flaking of the skin, mild redness and irritation, but these symptoms are temporary and will not interfere with normal life activities.
Recovering from Medium and Deep Peels
Treatments with medium and deep peels are significantly more intense, and they require much longer time to recover. The immediate and long term aftercare maintenance will also need to be strictly followed to prevent adverse complications from occurring.
Immediately after the procedure, the patient will need to take antibiotics and pain medications, and apply topical antibacterial creams as prescribed by your doctor. Care must also be given to maintain the cleanliness of the facial area. Splashing with cool water or applying cool moist compresses will help keep the face clean. It will usually take about 10 to 14 days to recover from medium peel treatment and up to 2 months for deep peels. Within this period, it is recommended that patients avoid sun exposure as much as possible. The doctor can confirm when it's okay to resume normal activity.
There are long term effects from these types of treatments as well. The face will be significantly more sensitive to the sunlight, and sun blocks (SPF 20 or greater) will need to be worn for at least 12 months after treatment. For deep peel patients, this care will have to continue for the rest of their lifetime.