DAY OF PROCEDURE
- Sleep: Sleep on your back with your head elevated about 30-40 degrees (2-3 pillows). Do not sleep on your side. Keeping your body more upright will minimize swelling. You do not want the chemically treated areas to be pressing against your pillow. Continue this for one week.
- Post Recovery Ointment: After treatment we will apply a post recovery ointment to the skin. Make sure to keep your face covered with a thick layer of this ointment during the recovery period after a chemical peel. This ointment will prevent the skin from drying out and crusting.
- Pain: You will be prescribed a pain medication for post-operative pain control. If your discomfort after surgery is not strong you are welcomed to take Tylenol in place of the prescribed medication. Do not take Tylenol with the pain medication, often the medication you are prescribed will have Tylenol in it. Do not exceed 4,000 mg of Tylenol in any 24-hour period. Take medication with food to minimize risk of nausea.
- Nausea: If you are experiencing nausea, which is common after general anesthesia as well as a known side effect of some stronger pain medications, we advise that you take your nausea medication.
- Constipation: You will experience constipation if taking narcotic pain relievers. MiraLAX or other over the counter laxatives are recommended. Do not wait to take until you are constipated.
- Medications to Avoid: Take only those medications approved or prescribed by your surgeon.
- Diet: A light low-fat diet is best after surgery. You may start a regular diet the day after surgery if you are not feeling nauseous or vomiting. Start with liquids for the first few hours after surgery and then slowly advance to more solid foods.
- Hydration: Stay hydrated by drinking 8 -10 glasses of water a day. Avoid alcohol for 48 hours while you are still taking pain medications.
- Sun Exposure: Strict sun avoidance for the first eight weeks after treatment. You will burn and discolor the skin if you have direct sun exposure. If you must go outside apply sunscreen with minimum of SPF 30, wear a wide brim hat, sunglasses, and stay in the shade.
- Return to work: Most patients require approximately 5-7days off work depending on their job responsibilities and face-to-face interactions.
- Driving: Do NOT operate a vehicle or make important decisions until you have been off pain medications for 24 hours. Use good judgment.
- Exercise: Light physical activity may be resumed 1-2 weeks after the procedure. Remember to start easy and build back up to your previous exercise levels. Just know that swelling may transiently be worse with exercise.
- Activity: Saunas, hot showers, and hot tubs should be avoided for 2 weeks. These activities may further irritate the skin and delay proper healing.
- Pain Management: Cool compresses with a damp soft cloth for 10-20 minutes at a time may relieve temporary discomfort.
- Showering: You may shower and wash your hair normally after 48 hours. Make sure to avoid getting soap or shampoo on your healing face. Always apply your post recovery ointment immediately after you get out.
- Wash Your Face: Skin should be washed 4-6 times a day with only cool tap water and soft cotton balls for the first 3-4 days after the procedure. DO NOT USE ANY CLEANSERS, SOAPS, OR TONERS for the first 4 days. After you have cleansed the skin with cool water apply a thick layer of your post recovery ointment. Once the skin starts to heal after about day four and when advised by your surgeon, you may start to use a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil™.
- Skin Repair Kit: At your follow up appointment, one week after your procedure you will be given a skin repair kit. Please follow the instructions to optimize the benefits achieved from using the skin repair kit.
WHAT TO EXPECT
- Swelling: Swelling of the face and/or eyes is common, and typically begins to reduce by the third day after treatment and may improve with intermittent rest. Physical activity can transiently worsen swelling but is encouraged.
- Pinpoint bleeding: Pinpoint bleeding may occur, but will stop after the first 24 hours. This is normal. Variable redness, streaking, or splotches may appear. This is nothing to be concerned about as it just reflects variation in healing.
- Itching: Itching at the chemical peel areas is normal for the first few weeks. You may take Benadryl to help reducing the itching sensation.
- Oozing: Oozing is common and generally looks like yellowish drips on the skin. Blot these areas gently with a soft tissue and reapply the ointment as needed.
- Discomfort: It is normal to experience tightness, soreness, and fatigue for several days to weeks following your procedure as your skin recovers.
- Burning: Burning, hotness, redness, warmth, and a sunburned sensation are normal and anticipated responses following your chemical peel. Adequate cleansing and liberal moisture will minimize these sensations as well as skin flakiness and peeling.
- Milia: Occasionally small white bumps called “milia” may appear. Milia typically resolve on their own without any treatment.
- Do NOT pick at any crust, puss, or scabs that may form on the face. This may cause permanent scarring of the area.
- DO NOT soak in baths, Jacuzzis or hot tubs until all the skin has fully healed.
- DO NOT take Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen or other blood thinners until your surgeon advises you it is safe.
- Do NOT expose your skin to the sun for 8 weeks without a wide brim hat and sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30.
- DO NOT wear glasses for a week or as instructed by your surgeon as they can put pressure on the raw skin surface and hinder healing
WHEN TO CALL THE OFFICE (703-481-0002) OR GO TO THE HOSPITAL
- Signs of Infection: Spreading redness, worsening swelling, increased drainage or drainage of pus, worsening pain, warmth at incision site and temperature over 101°F.
- Excessive Bleeding: If the dressings are saturated with bright red blood and you are having to make very frequent dressing changes.
- Other Emergency Situations: Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest pain, lightheadedness that does not quickly resolve, severe vomiting, pain, or asymmetric swelling in your legs.