After choosing a reputable board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist, the first step is to schedule a pre-procedure consultation to discuss your reasons for wanting a chemical peel and the expectations of treatment. Your health history and medications will be reviewed to ensure you are a suitable candidate for the procedure.
This review includes screening for a history of diabetes, nutritional deficiency, photosensitivity, abnormal scarring, prior radiation, recent facial surgery, skin conditions, use of isotretinoin or oral contraceptives, smoking status, pregnancy status and amount of daily sun exposure – these factors can increase the risk of complications.
Next, a physical exam of the skin is performed to assess skin thickness, health and condition. Photographs may be taken to document the pre-procedure skin condition.
During the 2-4 weeks before your scheduled chemical peel, there are a set of preparation activities performed to optimize the efficacy of treatment, called “priming.” UV exposure should be limited, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 50+ should be applied every morning. Certain creams containing tretinoin, hydroquinone, glycolic acid or salicylic acid may be prescribed.
Lastly, waxing and dermabrasion of the face should be avoided. The goal of these activities and recommendations is to thin the top layer of the skin, enhance penetration of the chemical peel, accelerate healing and reduce the risk of complications such as hyperpigmentation and scarring.
The day prior to your procedure, the face should be washed with non-residue soap. Moisturizers and make-up should be avoided.