After you undergo a chemical peel, there are going to be some specific aftercare instructions from your doctor you need to follow. In general, you can expect treatment somewhat similar to what you might do if you have a bad sunburn on your face. There will be some redness, crusting, irritation and mild stinging if you have a light peel performed. A medium peel will have the same after effects, and you might be advised to stay out of the sun for a few weeks to allow the skin to fully heal. In fact, even after a light peel it's advised to avoid direct sunlight for a while to allow the new skin to fully adapt the world around it. A deep peel can leave your face red for several months and there's even the risk of slight scarring.
Most light peels will take several days to a week to fully recover, and you can expect one to two weeks for recovery for a medium peel. Some peels, mostly deep ones, can require bandages in order to fully heal, so take this into consideration when deciding on what kind of peel is best for you. If you have a history of cold sores, you might expect some level of reactivation. In all cases, your doctor is going to prescribe some kind of ointment, cream or gel for treating the skin for a period of time afterward. You may also get some kind of oral steroidal medication to help the healing process along.