Chemical peels — whether done at home or in the dermatologist's office — will make your skin more sensitive than usual. Since your body starts creating new skin after your procedure, you're going to need to take extra-good care of it in the weeks following your treatment. According to Exuviance Brand Partner and board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Noelani González, M.D., F.A.A.D., with whom Elite Daily spoke with for this article, the best moisturizers after a chemical peel contain nourishing and hydrating ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin. Some other ways to care for your skin after a chemical peel? "Stay away from any exfoliating ingredients, retinols, or other acids, such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid post-peel," says Dr. González, and stick to calming skin care products in general by only using gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreen to hydrate and protect the incoming skin.
Though it all depends on the type of chemical peel you have done, Dr. González says most people should expect some redness, stinging, and peeling after a chemical peel. For superficial to medium-depth chemical peels, peeling will last for about three to seven days; for deeper chemical peels, the peeling and redness will most likely last longer.
To give your post-peel skin some much-needed TLC, pick up any of the best moisturizers for after a chemical peel, featured ahead.
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1. The Overall Best Moisturizer For After A Chemical Peel
If you're wondering how to care for your skin after a chemical peel, start by applying Avène's XeraCalm A.D moisturizer daily. It's designed for people with eczema, atopic dermatitis, or generally dry, itchy, irritated skin, so it's an ideal moisturizer for using post-procedure. The 100% sterile formula, which is enriched with soothing thermal spring water and the emollient glycerin, contains no fragrance, parabens, or preservatives, and comes in an airless, pump-top bottle that prevents contaminants from getting inside. Also, it boasts the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association — another good sign that it's a super-gentle choice for irritated skin.
2. Best Budget Moisturizer
This is another great moisturizer for post-procedure skin, but it comes in a massive, 19-ounce tub and costs about half the price as XeraCalm. Formulated with barrier-strengthening ceramides, hydrating glycerin, and moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid, it's a fragrance-free, oil-free, hypoallergenic cream that, like XeraCalm, boasts the National Eczema Association's Seal of Acceptance. You can use this from your head to your toes, too (and you may as well, given the amount of product you'll be getting).
3. Best Lightweight Moisturizer
If you prefer lighter-weight creams and lotions, or if you're looking for a daily moisturizer to use during summer, go with La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra. It doesn't contain any potential irritants (like added fragrances, parabens, or bad alcohols), but it does contain lots of good-for-skin nourishers like glycerin, squalane, shea butter, and thermal spring water. Like XeraCalm, this is packaged in an airtight container that won't let in any contaminants.
4. Best Gel-Cream
Love the refreshing, slightly cooling feel you get from gel creams? Then Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Gel Cream will be a real treat for your post-procedure skin. Made with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, it's noncomedogenic, oil-free, and fragrance-free, so it's a great choice for dry, sensitive, and oily skin alike.
Pro tip: If you're dealing with burning or stinging, amp up the cooling effect even further by storing this in the fridge.
5. Best Moisturizer With Sunscreen
Dr. González stressed the importance of "rigorous" sunscreen application after getting a chemical peel. And this one, from derm-favorite brand EltaMD, was formulated specifically for post-procedure skin, so it'll be perfect. It's a mineral-based sunscreen with SPF 40 that's enriched with hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day. It's free of parabens, fragrance, and other common irritants, and it's noncomedogenic and non-greasy as well.
That said, check with your doctor before going out into the sun after your peel, as some can make your skin more photosensitive than others.