Chemical peels and sun exposure



A chemical peel is a skin- resurfacing procedure. During this procedure a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers. With a light or medium peel, it may be necessary to have the procedure performed more than once to get the desired results. A chemical peel may be used to treat wrinkles, scars and/or discolored skin. When undergoing a chemical peel, you are essentially hastening cellular turnover to reveal new unblemished skin beneath. This type of treatment is usually performed on the face.

Depending on the problem with the skin, you can choose a chemical peel in 1 of 3 depths:

Light chemical peel. This superficially removes the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. This may be done every 2 to 5 weeks. This light version is used to treat fine wrinkles, dryness, acne and uneven skin tone.


Medium chemical peel. This removes skin cells from the epidermis and from portions of the upper part of your middle layer of skin, called the dermis. It’s used to treat wrinkles, acne scars and uneven skin tone. To maintain or achieve the desired result, you might need to repeat the procedure.

Deep chemical peel. To have skin cells removed even deeper a deep chemical peel is used. A repeat procedure is not needed to get the full effect. Your doctor might recommend one for deeper wrinkles, scars or precancerous growths. Deeper chemical peels offer more dramatic results, but also take longer to recover from. The deeper the peel the more layers are removed and the longer the downtime.

Too much sun exposure before the procedure can cause permanent irregular pigmentation in treated areas. Peels can affect the skin’s sensitivity to the sun’s harmful rays, because a peel dissolves and clears dead skin cells to reveal newer ones.


After a chemical peel, the skin is extremely vulnerable to sun damage. Because of that, patients are advised to avoid sun exposure after having their chemical peel. Even with the application of sunscreen, the skin is more susceptible to damage from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays after a chemical peel.


Prolonged exposure to sunlight creates uneven pigmentation with the promotion of melanin. Also the rays of sunlight penetrating your skin, damage the cells at each layer of the skin. This results in skin cells not performing correctly, which eventually results in aged skin, wrinkles and dehydration. This is true for normal skin, without any treatments.


Now imagine the same scenario as above, but without a protective layer of surface skin.


Without a protective layer of skin minimising the harmful penetration of UVA & UVB rays, you can imagine how much sun damage could be caused post-chemical peel. Optimum advise after a chemical peel is to be very careful in the sun for the next 6 months. We should also be wearing sunscreen every day, regardless of the weather. Stay in the shade and try to avoid being outside around mid day. Be sure to reapply sunscreen generously every 3 hours.


Bluestone Sunshields block 99% of harmful UVA/ UVB rays. We recommend wearing the full shield before and after a chemical peel.


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