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After TCA Peel, Should I Be Moisturizing or Using Aquaphor on my Skin?

I had a 20% TCA Peel done on 3 days ago. I was instructed not to use any type of moisturizer on it until I was done peeling. This is contrary to everything I've read online. My question is, should I be moisturizing or using Aquaphor on my skin? I was told I could use Aquaphor on any "sore" spots. I feel like I should be putting something on it...should I be?

Doctor Answers 3

Moisturizer after TCA Peel

I respectfully disagree with whoever instructed you not to apply moisturizer until you are done peeling. A 20% TCA peel basically inflicts a superficial wound. Wounds heal faster and better when they are kept moist. I instruct my patients to apply a bland moisturizer (e.g. Aveeno, Cetaphil, Cerave, Eucerin) frequently (3 times daily or more) following a medium-depth chemical peel for faster healing. Aquaphor can be applied to any open sores (I prefer not to have aquaphor applied to the whole face because clogged pores can develop. I also have my patients perform dilute vinegar compresses twice daily (1 teaspoon of vinegar to a cup of water) to decrease the risk of infection, the first 3 days after the peel and longer if there is continued oozing.

Hope that helps.

San Diego Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

After TCA peel, keep skin moist

Dear Lily: The problem with a moisturizer after a TCA 20% peel is that the skin is often so dry that a moisturizer will not cut it. A little vaseline or aquaphor are exactly what you need. Recognize that these products are not compatible with make up and are comedogenic, meaning they cause pimple or millia. Showering twice a day is also helpful. Once you no longer need the vaseline, then the millia will clear up. Typically with the TCA 20% the skin is so very dry until the old skin sheds which can take up to a week to complete. Then you will find that the moisturizers which are compatible with make up will work just find. There is now a body of data indicating fairly clearly that moist skin heals much faster than dry skin. These observation guides how we treat the skin following a chemical peel or laser resurfacing. If in fact your doctor advised you to keep the skin dry after the peel, I am afraid that they must have missed something when they attended chemical peel class. This is a great type of peel and you will love the ultimate result. Remember to share your outcome with the Realself community. You can even add a comment at the end of this string to let others know how you did.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Post TCA treatment

I always prescribe topical emollients to patients after the chemical peels.  I am not certain why you were advised against it since it is essential to the healing process.  Best, Dr. Green

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.