For the best results with a chemical peel the skin needs to be prepared in the weeks heading up to the peel. This preparation is called “priming”. The major aims of priming the skin are to thin the outer layer of the skin (stratum corneum) and reduce excessive inflammation and hence the chance of PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
With proper priming the skin responds more uniformly to the peel, adverse reactions such as hyperpigmentation and prolonged redness are minimised and the skin heals more rapidly after the peel.
The priming period is typically the 2 to 4 week period prior to the peel for Caucasian skin but may need to be longer in Mediterranean or Asian and Indian skin complexions.
Agents used include lactic acid, salicylic acid, hydroquinone, retinoic acid, glycolic acid and azelaic acid. The choice of priming agent varies with the particular skin problem being treated the skin type of individual and type of peel being planned.
The daily use of a SPF30 broad-spectrum sunscreen is also important during the priming period.