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Chemical peels: Preparation

To protect your health and find out what results you want, a dermatologist always offers a consultation before performing a chemical peel. To help you get the most benefit from this consultation, dermatologists recommends that you:

  • Ask questions.

  • Gather important information before your consultation.

This page tells you what to ask and what information to gather.

Questions to ask before getting a chemical peel 

You should ask the following questions before getting a chemical peel:

  • Will a board-certified dermatologist perform the chemical peel?

  • How many chemical peels has the doctor performed on people with my skin coloring?

  • What will I need to do before and after the peel to get the best results?

  • What results can I expect?

  • What are the potential side effects?

  • Do I have a higher risk for any complications?

  • Will I have downtime?

  • May I see before-and-after photos or speak with patients you treated with a chemical peel?

  • How much will the treatment cost?

During the consultation, your dermatologist also can tell you whether another treatment would be a better option for you. You may find that your dermatologist recommends using more than one treatment. Results from many research studies show that combining treatments can lead to better, longer-lasting results. 

Information to tell your dermatologist before getting a chemical peel

Before you get a chemical peel, be sure to tell your dermatologist the following information:

  • If you are taking or have ever taken isotretinoin, a medicine prescribed for severe acne. 

  • All other medicines you take — or have recently taken. Be sure your dermatologist knows about antibiotics, acne medicines, and medicines that you buy without a prescription, such as aspirin. 

  • If you frequently get cold sores or have had cold sores in the past.

  • If your skin scars easily.

  • All herbs, vitamins, and minerals you take. Even if you haven’t taken these for a while, be sure to mention them. 

  • All surgeries and cosmetic treatments you have had. While some patients feel embarrassed talking about this, the information you share can make a difference in the results you see. Don’t omit anything — even if it seems unimportant.

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