Can I Use Vitamin C Serum After Chemical Peel?

By Emily M.| Last updated on May 8, 2024
can i use vitamin c serum after chemical peel
⏱️ 5 min read

So you’ve done a chemical peel treatment and you would like to use some products to help calm down the redness that this facial sometimes causes.

And since Vitamin C is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of getting rid of redness and evening out the skin, you might be wondering – can I use vitamin C serum after chemical peel?

Here’s the answer to that question, as well as other insights to what you can and cannot do after a chemical peel.

So, Can I Use Vitamin C Serum After Chemical Peel?

Not immediately. You need to wait a bit.

Vitamin C is a potent skincare ingredient that does a really good job at getting rid of scars, redness, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone.

The reason why it’s so good is because it is a strong and powerful acidic treatment.

And as we know a chemical peel is also a strong treatment that uses acidic ingredients such as AHA’s, or BHA’s, which will cause your skin to be more sensitive than usual, especially if you get a professional treatment

This means that Vitamin C and chemical peel shouldn’t mix, at least not too soon.

Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Use Vitamin C After Chemical Peel

To understand this better let’s talk first about what a chemical peel actually is and what it does to your skin.

Chemical peel is a cosmetic treatment that improves the appearance, texture, and overall integrity of the skin through chemical exfoliation.

It removes the outermost layer of the skin to improve its general state, or to reduce or eliminate certain skin imperfections.

This leaves your skin stripped-down, so to day, more or less irritated and hyper-sensitive, which doesn’t make a good foundation for any harsh products such as vitamin C or retinol, as it can cause harm to your skin.

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When Can I Use Vitamin C After Chemical Peel?

Wait at least 1 week until you go back to using your vitamin C serum.

Getting a chemical peel doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite serum now once and for all – you just need to be a little patient before you use it again.

That’s not so long after all, and in the meantime, we have some suggestions for what other products you should use after a chemical peel that your skin will thank you for.

Vitamin C Alternatives You Can Use After a Chemical Peel

Since your skin has just endured a very strong treatment, it’s best to keep your routine simple for a little while afterwards.

That means using a gentle cleanser, and a thick, fragrance-free moisturizing cream to keep the sensitive skin hydrated.

Most likely, your dermatologist will recommend a product that is suited for your skin type as well as the intensity and type of the chemical peel you had.
You can use serums, just not exfoliating ones. So stick to hydrating ingredients.

Hyaluronic acid is the safest way to go.

Chemical Peel Aftercare

The main rules for chemical peel aftercare are protecting the skin from sunlight, cleansing it regularly and in a proper way, and moisturizing generously.

If you want to learn more about proper chemical peel aftercare, read this guide.

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Here’s a short aftercare guide to follow after a chemical peel to ensure safe recovery:

1. Wash Your Skin Gently

Freshly treated skin needs to be washed gently, with lukewarm water and without any rubbing. For the first few days wash it with water only, and after that you can add a cleanser.

Use a cleanser that was prescribed by your practitioner. It should be a gentle one, preferably with natural ingredients, without harsh chemicals or exfoliants that can damage the skin.

2. Moisturize Frequently

As the skin is stripped of its outermost layer, there’s nothing to lock in the moisture and water evaporates from it very fast. This means you will need to have a layer of moisturizer on at all times to ensure proper healing.

Something thicker, like Vaseline or Aquaphor, should work well for the first few days, and when the peeling process starts, use a non-comedogenic moisturizer until the skin is back to normal. Here’s a couple of good picks

Aquaphor

The classic Aquaphor cream is a good option if you had a more intense peel. It’s super moisturizing, thick and creamy, so it provides a protective barrier.

Use it somewhat sparingly, though. You don’t need to go crazy with it. A thin layer is enough.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume

The soothing and repairing Cicaplast Balm from La Roche Posay is an excellent choice for a post-chemical peel moisturizer, as it’s creamy but not heavy, and fragrance-free, so it won’t cause irritation.

It contains panthenol, shea butter, and vitamin B5, perfect for calming redness and sensitivity.

It’s a widely used and popular product, plus not too expensive, so it will surely be something that you’ll keep using and loving even after your skin has recovered.

Aloderma Aloe Vera Gel

When we think of a skin soothing product, the first thing that comes to mind is aloe vera gel. It provides many benefits, but mainly it helps calm down sensitive skin, plus it’s also an amazing moisturizer.

It’s a go-to product for treating facial sunburns, and since the skin can feel dry, tight, and a lot like a sunburn after a chemical peel, aloe gel is a no-brainer.

We recommend the Aloderma Aloe Vera Gel, with 96% pure, organic, aloe vera gel to use after your chemical peel.

3. Avoid the Sun and Wear SPF

Your skin is extremely sensitive to sunlight in the weeks following a chemical peel, so it needs to be cared for accordingly.

In the first 7 days after the treatment, keep your skin away from the sun as much as you can. If you have to go outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses in addition to your sunscreen.

From day 2, apply SPF 50 every 3 to 4 hours, preferably one for sensitive skin.
Avoid using a stick – dragging anything across your skin while it’s flaking can cause premature tearing, plus the flakes can get stuck to your stick, which isn’t very hygienic.

Conclusion

In summary, you should avoid using any products with strong ingredients, including vitamin C serum after chemical peel.

But honestly, you won’t even need it.

The peeling/healing process might take a while, but the results should be far more dramatic than with your regular at-home serums, so there’s no need to rush in using those when you just did something way more effective.

Cover image source: Freepik

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