What A Chemical Peel Feels Like

Humans are not oranges. It is important to remember that when someone asks you how your first-ever chemical peel went. You never feel as though your face has been slowly peeled like an orange. In fact, chemical peels feel more like the following. 

A Slight Burning, Tingling, or Stinging

This is a chemical that you put on your face that does eat through a couple of the top layers of skin. You should expect a mild tingling sensation to an almost uncomfortable slight burning sensation. Stinging sensations, like your face is getting poked several times at once by bee stings, may also be a possible reaction depending on whether or not you have mild to moderately sensitive skin. 

A Tightness in the Facial Skin

The next sensation you may feel is a tightness in the facial skin. This usually feels a lot like how your skin feels after a sunburn, except definitely not as painful. It is the chemically treated skin getting ready to "crack" and peel away from more youthful layers of skin underneath. As the skin begins to "crack" and peel, your cosmetic surgeon will begin pulling back the layer(s) of skin that have let go and begun peeling. 

Gentle Tugs of the Skin 

As the cosmetic surgeon begins gently removing the layers of flaking skin, you may feel a few gentle tugs each time the surgeon encounters a piece of skin that is not quite ready to let go. This is normal, and you should know that the surgeon will only tug until it becomes apparent that the piece of skin is not going to let go. The skin itself may come back as tiny little flaked bits, or as thin and wide sheets, which may make the removal process a long time to lay in wait on the table.

A Little Tenderness for a Few Days

Finally, you may or may not feel a little tenderness on your face for the next few days. If it does happen, it may also be accompanied by reddish or pinkish skin, resembling a slight to moderate sunburn. If that does happen, most surgeons will give you products you can use to calm the redness and/or sensitivity to the chemical used for your peel. A light salve or ointment may be prescribed to rub over your cheeks, chin, forehead, and nose. If you feel anything more intense than that, tell your doctor.