Jessner's + 25%/30% TCA Peel - Beverly Hills, CA

GOAL: My primary goal of this process is to fix...

GOAL: My primary goal of this process is to fix the texture of my skin that was damaged from the ProFractional with MicroLaserPeel laser I had 3 years ago when I was only 23 years old. My secondary goal is to fix the acne scarring.

THE SYNOPSIS ABOUT LASER DAMAGE: The dermatologist who did my laser should not have allowed me to have these lasers for minor acne scarring. I am now left with pinholes and poor texture especially where he went deeper (nose! why even do the nose, no scarring) and cheeks. I used to have baby smooth, PORELSS skin. Now I have to deal with this damaged skin and a damaged soul. I still have to write a review for this laser. This was done by a doctor who now primarily practices in Flagstaff, AZ.

DOING THE HOMEWORK: I chose to have a TCA Peel after having 6 glycolic peels. Glycolic peels are great but I knew they were too superficial for fixing the texture of my skin. They are, however, great for acne.

I read many journals and even ordered textbooks about chemical peels. I read reviews. I google searched. I talked to others who had these peels and most importantly I interviewed 10+ doctors.

My skin is tricky not only because of the laser damage, but I also had acne at the time BUT the primary concern was my mixed ethnicity. I am half Caucasian and half Chinese. My skin scars easily from acne and I believe it is due to my Asian half.

HOW I FOUND MY CURRENT DOCTOR: I actually found him through a RealSelf review and I am so thankful! I actually already had another doctor in Scottsdale, AZ and was scheduled for a 20% TCA peel however due to their poor business practices, I left as an angry customer after they canceled/pushed back the peel THREE times. This was back in August when I had a month off and needless to say, my summer was ruined.

HOWEVER, with this disappointment I found the dermatologic plastic surgeon who I trusted the most. This was after interviewing at least 10 dermtologist and/or plastic surgeons, no joke. My new doctor resides in California so I had some roadtrippin' to do.

INITIAL CONSULTATION: This was back in mid September. He was intelligent, personable, and most of all, I felt like I could trust him He was very thorough and talked about all the various techniques available and what he thought was best. We decided on a Jessner + 20% TCA Peel. He suggested starting at a lower percentage (which I had wanted) due to my skin type. Like I said, since I have half Asian in me, I have to be more conservative.

He said that each peel we will go higher in strength so the next one may be Jessner with 25% TCA. I was also prescribed Epiduo for my hormonal acne. This also helped to prep my skin.

SKIN PREP: My appointment was booked for mid November so I was able to prep my skin for 2 months. I used the Epiduo (Retinoid + Benzyl Peroxide) every day, once a day at night. I also added the Obagi Blender 4% hydroquinone on and off but because it broke me out, I was unable to use it as much as I would have liked. Next time I will get pure hydroquinone instead since I think the other ingredients broke me out.

THE PEEL: I had my Jessner + 20% TCA Peel yesterday. Everything went well although the fumes did irritate my right eye. Make sure you ask for the air to be turned on before he starts (this he admitted).

I asked what was in the Jessner because I had conflicting information that I read. He said there was lactic acid in it but I am not sure of the rest (I either was distracted by the peel or he didn't say, I do not remember and will ask next time).

He did the peel himself while my husband watched. To be honest, the pain was not bad. I was apprehensive about the pain before the peel because of all the reviews. I have a high pain tolerance so I was prepared. Well, the pain wasn't all the bad.

He did 2 layers with a cotton swab. First the Jessner and then the TCA. The process was quick. I frosted well. The nurse who came in later mentioned that my frost stated longer than what she usually sees and she said this is good. This means that I got a better, deeper peel. I have a picture of some of my frost and will continue to be adding daily photos.

THE NEXT STEP: I have to go back in 2 weeks so he can evaluate my skin and we will go from there. I will be updating this journal/review with photos, etc.


I look "sunburned", not bad. Still tingled about an hour or so after the peel. Wore a big beach hat and shaded the car windows for the drive home.

Was told to use the prescribed Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream 0.1% up to 5 times today but since I left it at home in AZ, I only used it once when I got home. To be honest, I do not like using a steroid cream that often as I know it can thin the skin. He did say however after the first day to then use it twice a day for the next 2 weeks. I will play it by ear. I used Aquaphor in the mean time. I did not wear any sunblock. I was also told to splash water on my face 4-5 times a day.


My "sunburn" look is a little darker red today. I think the darker areas are the areas the will peel more, such as my temporal and cheek area. I should turn brown tomorrow but we will see. I will continue to splash cold water and use Aquaphor, as well as the steroid cream 2x a day. I did buy a Cetaphil Antibacterial bar that I use to wash my hands before touching my face.


So I tried to sleep mostly on my back last night and that was a dud. I am a side sleeper so it's going to be a rough few nights not trying to irritate or scratch my skin on the pillow!

I woke up red albeit slightly a darker red with some minute patches of light brown on my temporal area and the right crack of my mouth. I rinsed my face and put on the steroid (Triamcinolone Acetonide Cream 0.1%). I see why it was prescribed because it works VERY well! My redness dissipated and eventually slathered on some Aquaphor and my physical sunblock (EltaMD SPF46 which has 9% Zinc - LOVE IT! ).

I feel like I look "too normal" despite feeling the tightness and dryness of the skin underneath. I am trying to be patient. What is concerning though is I notice that many of my laser created holes are looking clogged. I don't know if it's because everything is being pushed out or what. I am still slightly swollen but not as much as I was the day when I had the peel. I also believe that the swelling/edema has made my skin smooth. I am trying not to keep my hopes up.

I hope these photos are helpful. I feel like you cannot see much of a change. I don't know if it's the lighting or perhaps the fact is the changes I am going through right now seem so minute.
I am so depressed due to the same laser damage as your experience!! 6 months ago !!!!! Please comment and let us know how you recovered and if the peel helped you. God bless . I'm praying for a solution to laser damage.
Hey Sandy, sorry to hear about your laser damage. I will be updating frequently as I hide out to recover from this peel. Hope my journal will help.
God bless you on your recovery and hope you heal well . Thank you for posting as there are many people suffering from laser damage , not just myself . I Hope for a solution , for you, all the others ,and myself . Remember to take vitamins , green juice , vitamin smoothies, water , raw foods and rest . Wish u health xxx

Day 4

I'm peeling! I'm peeling! Well sort of. The crack of my mouth. A bit. See attached photo.

I work up today pretty red. I washed my face and put on the steroid. Within the next 15 minutes the redness subsided. I then put on Aquaphor and then my physical sunblock. Remember to pat on the creams and not rub them in.

I managed to sleep on my back last night which is great.

I think I'm a little browner but not much. This afternoon I finally starting peeling by the left corner of my mouth. That makes sense as many people have mentioned that it starts to peel where you have the most movement.

When I make facial expressions I can see that the rest of my face is crepe like. So far so good I think. Just have to be patient!

On a side note, supplements I have been taking for months now for my skin and body include:
-Navitas Naturals Organic Pomegranate Powder (Antioxidants, Vitamin C,Polyphenols)
-Nature's Way Hydraplenish Hyaluronic Acid
-Emergen-C (1,000 mg Vitamin C)
-Zinc 50mg

Day 5

At the rate I'm going I will probably need more than a week to fully recover. The hardest part really is being patient! I am peeling more by my mouth and nose as you can see in the photo.

Also my intuition was correct in that acid did indeed get extremely close to my right eye. There is browning and wrinkling in the inner corner of my right eyelid, as well as the more obvious peeling, browning and wrinkling on the lower part of the eye (harder to see in photos but the white "dot" on my eyes is where skin is peeling). Next time I will not hesitate to ask for more protection for my eyes, e.g. cotton balls or maybe even Aquaphor. From the research I did, I knew getting acid in the eyes is a risk for this procedure.

Aside from my eye irritation, I am still happy thus far that I had this procedure and look forward to seeing my new skin.
I'm sooo excited, if it goes well for you I'm also going to get it done. Laser danage sucks and hopefully I can fix mine through peels. Your the best!!!

Day 6

There is more peeling around the mouth & nose area. I had to carefully trim the skin that was already peeled. I continue to rinse my face 4 times a day, use the steriod 2x, and lots of Aquaphor and sunscreen even though I stay inside. I read in the "Manual of Chemical Peels" by Mark G Rubin that some fluorescent lights can emit long UVA rays. I highly recommend this book to anyone thinking of getting a chemical peel.
Thanks bk! Glad I can help :)

Day 7

Slooooowly getting there. Still some more peeling. Nothing too exciting. Trying to be patient. I have my followup appointment early next week so I hope I'm done peeling by then!
At this stage , can you see improvements where the skjn has peeled or do you have to wait until some collegen reformation weeks later ? Also do you know if this is considered a medium or light peel ? Once again thank you for sharing your story . I was so 23 and about to get married and move into my dream home after my hubby and I spent years sacrificing investing saving and renovating . Then this laser( I was garenteed was safe) literary sent me into the worst depression of my life . My life has so drastically changed in 6 months , I can't believe it . It's so hard to not see your own face the mirror . I feel so stupid for doing this when I worked so hard on every aspect of my life . When something like this happens its so devastating . It's hard being a women with the pressure of being perfect . Dealing with severe laser damage should not happen to people . It gives me hope to hear your peel is going well so far , and wish you the best recovery , I know how horrible laser damage is ... Please keep us updated and thank-you again . :)
I don't want want to jump the gun (or jinx it!) yet whether there are improvements or not but I do know you can still see changes weeks after the peel. I will definitely talk about it though in the coming weeks. I can't believe I am not even 50% peeled yet! I guess that means that it penetrated well/deep (I did have a good, long & even frost, which is a good sign). I know that a Jessner's + 35% TCA is considered a medium depth peel. I hope to work towards that. That is a good question and I will ask my Dr. during my followup appointment. I am sorry that you are going through this and I definitely know how you feel about how everything else in life has fallen into place, working hard, and of course that perfection. *hugs* I hope you have support from your family and it sounds like you do with your husband. I'm glad I can help, or at least I hope I can help with my journal! All the best.

Day 8

At the rate I'm going I feel like I will need another week (2 weeks total) of peeling. I guess that's good because the deeper the peel, the longer it takes to recover.
Hey I tried reaching out to you via email to let you know after a year my skin has improved please don't dispair things will get better


I'm not sure how I mixed up the books but the book I recommend reading is actually "Chemical Peeling and Resurfacing" by Harold J. Brody. He currently practices in Atlanta.

Books worth reading

Oh my gosh this is why I need an edit button, I must be tired as I did not sleep well. The following books I recommend reading if you plan to get a peel, are as follows:

1. Manual of Chemical Peels, Superficial and Medium Depth by Mark G Rubin
2. Chemical Peeling and Resurfacing by Harold J Brody
Also, how far were you from the laser damage? How are things going with the peel?
Your laser damage looks just like mine! What laser were you damaged by? Mine was the fraxel restore 1500.
How much did this cost if you don't mind me asking?

Day 9

3 years. The peel is going well. Just trying to be patient!
Good luck! Keep updating us. I really hope it works out for you. Looks like you have a lot of peeling now. When did you notice your laser damage, was it right away or something that showed up after a while. I've heard stories of both. Mine was about 4 weeks after my laser treatment, I only had one, on the nose, and the skin there is really messed up. It's worse than yours but of the same nature.
Sorry to hear that :/ How frustrating. Mine was evident once the scabs were gone. Devastating and all he gave me was retin a with no follow up or any aftercare. He was horrible and I was young. Yes finally peeling more but will definitely need at least a couple more days.

Day 10

Developed a 2-3 pimples. Still peeling. Posted left & right cheeks.
Lef0x , could you ease tell us a few things about your chemical peel ? Was the peel recommended by your doctor for post laser damage , or did u research on your own and decide this is what you wanted to do ? Did you choose to resurface by chemical peel because of risk of further laser damage ? Did your doctor recommend any surface fully ablative procedures to correct the micro laser peel ? Also could you describe some of your laser damage from the micro laser peel. ? Oh and also , I was wondering if you choose to wait for 2-3 years to see if your skin did improve from the laser damage ? Or did your derm tell you it's best to wait that long ? And did you find it helpful to wait the couple of years before doing another procedure . Thank you so much in advance , I no so many laser victims on here are so confused and so traumatised by bad laser results maybe a few of these questions could help with the decision making process . Myself included . Thanks lef0x your diary is much appreciated by the community .
Good questions I would love to know as well(:
Woops , re reading this , I think I should have asked in a more simple way - " did your doctor advise any full field resurfacing ( contour trl or ebrium) with laser or due to the previous laser damge and questionable thermal damage , did you opt for a chemical peel to avoid lasers ? " and " did your doctor recommend to avoid lasers because of your history with them ?

Follow Up

My follow up appointment went well. I still was not done fully peeling (mainly the perimeter of my face, forehead, chin) so he proceeded to remove the dead skin carefully with forceps. After that, he did microdermabrasion on me to further smooth off the dead skin and it felt like a massage for my face. That was my first experience with microdermabrasion. He would have done another peel but my face still had some dead skin left.

Overall, my face does feel smoother and less dry. I also think my microholes look smoother but they are still there as expected. The skin is still healing and I know changes will still occur over the next several weeks. He said that my skin did well which I am very happy about so my next peel will most likely be the same combo but with 25% TCA. I have not decided when I will do my next peel but it will be either in 1 month or in 3 months time. This certainly is a process. Also between now and my next peel, I was prescribed and instructed to use Retin A nightly.
Thanks for the info and constant updates. I think all of us laser victims are interested to see what happens with your proceedure. I haven't really started looking seriously, but I need to find a good dermatologist who can help me. I've been seeing one for years, but he just said that he didn't think it looked like there was "damage" it was more like the texture of my skin changed and that was that. He wants me to wait 6 months to "see what we're working with". I trust this doctor, but like you said, it's better to address scar healing in the early stages, and since he doesn't acknowledge that there is any scarring or damage he isn't going to do this. Did all the dermatologists you saw immediately acknowledge the laser damage as what is was? I think part of my problem is that the skin on my cheeks is sort of rough as well, even though I had no laser treatment there, so it almost blends in. I can tell the difference, but it's hard to tell the difference. How did you know you found the right doctor to treat you?
Shopping for a doctor is like dating...and considering the doctor you said you had trusted does not acknowledge it, I would move on and find a new one. Out of the 10+ doctors I saw, I would say 50% acknowledge the damage and the others did not. I was not surprised when many of those who worked with lasers did not acknowledge my damage. There was a PS in Cali who helped laser damaged patients said openly that he saw my damage. So it seems like many do not want to admit that lasers cause damage and it is frustrating. With that said, I found the right doctor to treat me by a combination of factors such as our chemistry, his knowledge and experience, not using lasers or acknowledging them that they are unpredictable, being thorough with the consultation, being conservative, etc.....and of course your gut feeling. Also for me, I researched several modalities and once I picked the one I wanted to try, that was when I sought out a professional who does them often in their practice. I won't lie, it was a frustrating process and I chose a doctor out of state. Going out of state was worth it for me so if you are even able to do that, I would consider it. Good luck and I hope you seek out a trusting and knowledgeable doctor.
Also I found that some doctors will still push lasers to try and fix the damage and that was when I knew to bail.

Retin A (Tretinoin)

I was prescribed .1% Retin A which I expected and wanted but I'm left disappointed. I wish I just stuck with Epiduo because it worked well for me. Well 2 days after using Tretinoin I am stuck with red little bumps on where I used it. My checks and chin have red little bumps and one deep pimple. I also start school tomorrow so I'm pretty frustrated.

My peel went well and I was enjoying my fresh face. Now back to square one with healing and being patient. Once my skin calms down, I will reintegrate Epiduo again in order to prep my skin for my next peel. Peel #2 is end of this month.
Thank you for answering. My damage comes from 2 chemical peels 9 days apart in may 2013. Next monday i have an appointment for a tca peel to fix my damage. Im sooo scared to make it worse. What do you think about. Should i dare? Im happy for your improvement...
Lively -- What type of chemical peels did you have and were they done by a doctor? Sorry to hear about your damage.
Gosh you are only so fresh from damage it might be wise to wait , and let your skin regain hydration and rest. Putting more peels on damaged skin might make it so much worse. I have seen few posts about healing after retin a damage and peel damage it just takes time.

Peel #2

I had my second peel today and I frosted very well, white and even throughout. 5 weeks in between Peel #1 and Peel #2. This time he upped the strength of the TCA to 25% along with the Jessner's. It definitely burned like a mofo. He wants to see me in a month but unfortunately due to school, I will most likely have Peel #3 in March.
I was just wondering does tca peeling really work i have open pores and dark spots and i want Get rid of it but I'm really thinking about because my doctor told me i have to avoid the sun and of course wear sunscreen but i wonder if do get the peeling that means i can't enjoy at day at the beach or swim in pool even thought I'm wearing sunscreen ??
You have a higher risk of hyperpigmentation from the sun after resurfacing and chemical peels. Most doctors say wait 6 months before you can go out in the sun (spend a day at the beach with sunscreen and a hat). I've read some stories of people getting hyperpigmentation after a year or more. Others go out right away and have no problems. I tend to think its it just depends on how your skin is. A lot of people avoid the sun after these procedures and still have problems. Others do nothing and have no problems.
Janey explained it well. You also need to be adamant about wearing sunblock before and after the chemical peels (I also wear it during). So you have to decide what is more important to you. So far my tone has improved but my skin will continue to improve even after the peel.

7 days out (6 days post)

Taking awhile longer to peel this time I think due to the fact it was a deeper peel. I'm pretty sure I'll still be peeling while going back to school, oh well. If that's the case then I'll be less self conscious if I choose to do another peel during school. The red area by my mouth is concerning because it's pretty red and I feel like there are swollen bumps in that area. I am putting on my steroid 2x a day but did not take the prescribed prednisone the first 2 days as I did not think I needed it. I am also on an antibiotic but that is for an unrelated reason and I hope that it will not cause any issues.
Thanks for keeping us in the loop, hopefully it all goes super well for you! You're so brave good luck
Thanks Mandy!

Day 9

I ended up taking the oral steroid though I wish I took it sooner which I was supposed to. Took it twice as instructed. Anyway, going to school like this! Oh well this is where humor will come in handy. With that said, chemical peeling and trying to fix the texture of my skin from laser damage is really an emotional journey. Even though logically I know these peels at this strength will not erase the microholes, it is still disheartening. The good news is that this peel was upped to 25%. I hope to get to 35%, which is "only" 10% away. I also made an appointment with my local derm to make sure I am healing well. I am debating having one end of this month, which means I will be peeling again in class. I figured they will already see me this way so why not. I don't want to wait until March because it may not be as effective. Should I go for it? A test of inner strength.
I know what you mean by emotional roller coaster, it will be two years for me in august and I'm still dealing with the emotional aspects of this.
Thanks for your comments. Yes it is. Well I survived the first day of class. Lots of lols though in the end it was fine. My local Derm said I'm healing ok so I have peace if mind. I'll update in a few weeks.
Hi, thanks for all you posts. I went to the Derm today and she said that the TCA peels I am thinking of having spaced a couple of months apart (15%) along with obagi skin treatments with defiantly help with the micro holes. I was convinced by what she said however I just wanted to know how yours were going and if they look much better? I look forward to hearing from you :)

Peel #3 is booked

for the end of this month! I don't mind looking scary in class :)

BTW, still peeling for peel #2...almost done and redness is dissipating. Also my local doc said I'm healing fine.
and no orange skin after peel? what was your skin care before the peel?
im happy you are getting well!
Thanks but micro holes are still there albeit softer looking.

Quick Update

Micro holes on cheeks and nose look softer but still too soon to tell if it's here to stay. Still flaking but finished sheet peeling (I had to peel the rest of the dead skin off of my forehead, chin). I will be doing Peel #3 end of this month and from there we will see. If suggested, I may Peel #4 in March but I will be asking him about dermasanding and dermabrasion + TCA just so I have some more knowledge about it. I also have a consultation with another doctor in March who does chemabrasion (TCA 35% + dermabrasion).
pls help out, i am asian but light skin, mixed like u. my skin the treted AREA NOW DAY 3 TURNS ORANGE BROWN--CHEEK, FOREHEAD AREA, IS THIS NORMAL, I AM COncered, thks a bunch
Did a professional do your peel? If so I would contact the dr who did your peel if you are having concerns. The skin is supposed to get dark then peel but like I said, if you have concerns please see your doctor.
thks so much for quick reply, i did it. it looks cruchy now as i can feel it will start peeling soon. shd i wait a couple more dys b before seeing my dermalogist. i should not haf dn it myself. also i am a swimmer. i still swim ,should i stop for now, thks a million, b

Retin-A, we meet again!

Still not a fan as it's causing so many tiny pimples. Very annoying after a peel. I'm trying it every 3rd day before my next peel coming up because I'm tired of taking almost 2 weeks to fully peel! I don't have much time until my next peel (next week) but I thought I'd at least try to get a little Retin-A in.

On second thought...

This Retin A really peeved me off. This can't be a good reaction to the cream. Used it once after using Epiduo for a couple of days and BAM! So many red pimples all over. So frustrating. Now I feel like I have to "start over". Hopefully these pimple things do not scar and at least the peel is in a week so I can start anew. Ugh. I don't think I'll touch Retin A again. After this peel, I'm going to give my face a rest and not use anything except for my zinc sunblock and moisturizing lotion.

What Retin A Did

Here's a photo 2 days after one time use. From clear to crazy overnight. Pimples/dermatitis/whiteheads.
Do you think 4 peels all together will solve the micro holes issue? I know you said they are still there but softer looking. My derm suggested a series of 4 with a combo of clear and brilliant which is a very light form of fraxel that only penetrates the top layer epidermis. They said the very light penetrating laser stimulates collagen more than the peel. I am hesitant and I know everyone else is because we have all been damaged by some form of fraxel in the first place. It seems all of the damage from fraxel resulted in too deep of a penetration to the skin. Clear and brilliant claims to have good success rates and I haven't read any bad reviews about it. Its been out for some time now. Just wondering if anyone has heard of this. I have read some posts of people with texture and orange peel issues have been restored using a very light form of laser like clear and brilliant. What does everyone think??
I'm not familiar with clear and brilliant and I never had fraxel. Due to my bad experience with ProFractional & MicroLaserPeel, I am biased against lasers and would not suggest it. As for the chemical peels, because I am working up the concentration of the TCA (starting from 20% to hopefully up to 35%-my goal) I believe my 4 peels will not suffice. On the other hand, if they are several peels of 35%, that may be another story as it is more effective concentration. Good luck with whatever you choose to do! Keep us updated :)
Depends on the strength chosen. I we'd say low intensity at least 7--10days apt plus the fractal business, b

Peel #3

I had my third peel today and it went well. I really like my doctor because he listens to my concerns and is empathetic. I had a Jessner's + 25% TCA all over my face with the exception of my cheeks which were 30% TCA. We did a higher percentage on my cheeks because they really bother me (deeper micro holes). I think it was fair because he was concerned I could not take a higher percent of TCA. Now we will see how I heal with the 30%. He also wants me to dilute the Retin A and then try using it that way. I also learned more about dermasanding and dermabrasion. I am getting really good about being in public after a peel lol. I wasn't going to add this picture but I will anyway. This was several minutes after the peel. I swelled up a bit but I think my skin is getting used to the peels because I feel like I did not swell up as much or get as red. I took one prednisone about an 1.5 hours after the peel. I ran into an older lady earlier who had something done to her face and she just smiled at me :)
Hopefully this helps you I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you(: what are your plans after your peel will you let your skin be for a while ?
Hey Mandy, thanks so much, I really appreciate your comments! I booked one last peel 6 weeks from now, although he wanted me back 3-4 weeks. I would have gone sooner but due to school I cannot. After this 4th peel, I am going to see another doctor for more info on chemabrasion (TCA + dermabrasion) although I do trust my current doctor, I just want to be more informed on my options. After the 4th peel, I am going to give my skin a break (plus no time after March anyway) and will not do anything for at least 5 months or so, depending on what I decide to do next (more peels or dermabrasion).
Also I do want to add that I know it can take up to 3 months for full affects of the peel so after my 4th peel in march, I will give it a break and see what changes occur. From there, I will decided/consult on dermabrasion or sport dermabrasion if needed. We will see...


I am still taking all the same supplements and meds prescribed however I had to change my birth control before this peel to one with slightly more estrogen. Hopefully this does not affect my healing as I know it can increase chances of hyperpigmentation.
There may be other reasons you take he pill but if it's just for birth control purposes highly recommend getting the copper IUD put in. It's the best birth control I've ever used. Even 10 years ago it was thought of as less effective for women who hadn't had children, but these days doctors say it is a good option for them. It has no hormones, and you prettying don't know it's there. It hurts a little going in but that's only once every 10 years, unless you decide you want to get pregnant.
Sorry, so many typos!
Thanks for the info, my friend got one recently. As for me, I need the estrogen to help manage my acne. Thank you though :)

Premature Peelibg

On both sides of my jaw area. Any way to stop it? I ran water on my face under the sink faucet instead of splashing....bad idea. Didn't realize that would cause premature peeling. I think I overdid that. What I also did differently was not stop any retinol or retinoids a week prior. Now some areas are raw, red and sore on my jawline and I'm concerned. I will try to keep the areas moist with Aquaphor and steroid.

My First Mistake

Was being too relaxed about my aftercare this time around. I got a little cocky considering I had two successful peels that's far. Well that was a dumb mistake. With that said, some panic set in and now moving forward to damage control.

Sleeping on my BACK only
No more hot showers
Reducing how much I wash
Keeping cracked areas moist and with steroids
Took two oral steroids today because I was behind on it
Made an appt to see my local Derm this Wednesday.

In hindsight I should have not done all these things during my prior peels! From now on, I will take care of myself the best I can. I've also upped my Vitamin C and zinc for healing, as well as a good diet.
Great tips!
hi, i did my 1st and sec tca 25% 10dys apart. it seems to have no harm dn considering the short interlude. what is yr take on having a 3rd one same interval. it is wrking for me. sunscreen,lots of moiturizer. thks, b

Peel #3 Update

So I am annoyed that I am breaking out a lot with this peel. I did change my birth control during the same time which I did not want to do in case it did cause a breakout. I have several white heads and small red pimples. My local derm said I am healing normally. I hope this acne clears up soon and that my new birth control works like my old one to help my acne.

I went to school like this!

Your a brave soul!
Haha I suppose, thanks Janey!
You truly are, I would be hiding out lol

Should've followed my gut!

Well I knew it. My new birth control broke me out in MAJOR angry red cysts that hurt! I knew I shouldn't have switched during my peel because now my skin is so angry and sore from the acne. I seemed to have healed fine besides this issue. Back to Yaz for now until I try something else. One step forward, 2 steps back. Sigh.
Arg, so frustrating! 
Same thing I got of the pill and have acne on my chin and jawline the only good part on my face sigh. Mind you it took over six months until acne started but I was incredible depressed and anxiety level were trough the roof for months that prob was what messed with my body in the end. I'm also back on yaz. Did you ever read about recell? I heard they can do that with peels not sure if that's true though ..might not be available in us?

Still Flaking

This happened last time. After the initial sheet peeling which was completed about 2 weeks, I am now having skin still flake off. Although annoying, I guess it's good since I think it means the peel went deeper. Still dealing with the acne from changing bc and fighting it with Epiduo, which also enhances the flakiness.
Hi Le0fx , your such a brave girl , your helping our community so much . It's hard to move on from laser damage and many of us are terrified of having another procedure , thanks for tracking your progress and sharing your story with us , it will certainly help to empower us to try new options to help fix our skin and souls . On another note ,a lot of the research I have done on scarring states the best treatment for scarring is a " three pronged approach" fill smoothing the skin , filling the skin , and stimulating collagen . ( good health also ) so I'm guessing that means smoothing as in chemical peels or resurfacing , injectable fillers to fill the notoriously hard to treat indented or pitted scars and stimulating collagen , maybe by needling biostimulating fillers or laser (not an option for many of us ) , I was wondering if your surgeon mentioned if chemical peels were a complete fix or recommend this approach ? (many surgeons i researched do) ? Peace and healing to you :)
I mean - smoothing , filling , stimulating ( three pronged approach many surgeons speak of )
Thanks Sandy! Sorry I'm on fieldwork right now hence my late replies. As for the 3 prong approach, I've read that in journals as well. During my consult, he did talk about all the different techniques such as fillers, subcision, dermabrasion, etc. Although he mentioned the various types of procedures, I was not ready to try more than one thing. I wanted to see how chemical peels would affect my skin and if I could get any improvement based solely on them. I may decide on spot dermabrasion. When I asked if he thinks dermabrasion would fix my cheeks, he said it would. So we will see. I have one more peel in 4 weeks and then will let my skin rest and heal for several months before I try anything else. I also do not have the time to do more peels for a few months after my fourth.


I knew switching birth control right before a peel was a bad idea. It caused major cysts. I have now reverted back to Yaz temporarily to help fix my skin but cannot stay on it as it keeps me from sleeping. Unfortunately it looks I may have developed some unusual scarring that may have been due to the cysts and the peel. I am concerned but cannot see a Derm for another couple weeks. In case it is a scar forming, I've been usin a little steroid and ordered silicone sheeting to place over it. I will post a photo tomorrow. Besides that, am not very flakey from Epiduo. I will stop it and evaluate my skin in a week to see if I have true improvement and not from swelling, because right now despite possible new scarring, my right cheek looks better.
I've heard about recall being used in conjunction with dermabrasion in Europe. It is not available in the US yet. Seems promising though!

Looks worse in photo

My scarring looks worse in photos it seems. Where the 2 arrows are pointing I feel like these are scars caused by cysts forming during the peel. I should have waited on changing meds. So annoyed/concerned. I feel like they are different scars because I feel the induration, or it feels hypertrophic to me.
Oh no! Try not to worry about it too much. Your face does look better than it did prepeel. The cysts just look red right now. Hard to get a good perspective from a pic. It's a different story when they're pulsating and sore in your own face.
Thanks Janey !!! I needed some support. Stress will only make things worse so I'll give it some time. Less than 4 weeks until my 4th peel. How you holding up?
I think ur skin looks better as well. It prolly looks bad because those marks are red. It will get better

Next Peel Coming Up

My fourth peel is next week and I have been toying with the idea of cancelling due to the downtown and emotional aspects of it. However, I think I will regret cancelling and I won't; plane tickets are booked anyway. With that said, I hope we do 30% all over or at least what we did last time. Hopefully I have something good to say after.


I mean down time*. Brain fried due to finals.
I think you should go for it! It will work out for the baest, give your skin time to heal after this last peel and see how it goes.
Thanks bk! I will go for it despite dealing with a week of school, but hey, they have already seen me with my face off! I'll keep you updated.

Well that hurt!

I made it to my appointment today (I kept thinking about cancelling even though I had already made it to the airport!) sleep deprived and stressed. I had a very long week and knew I would not be able to hand the chemical peel like I usually do. Stress and lack of sleep (and probably close to my period) makes it harder to tolerate pain.

Anyway, like usual my doctor was kind, courteous and always on time (if not sooner!). His demeaner puts me at ease and it says I tolerate chemical peels very well. Long story short, we did the same strength as last time but this time added 30% on my nose. Jessners + TCA 25% all over with 30% TCA on my cheeks and nose. It went well and I frosted as usual (see pic). Unfortunately I had some new bad scarring from when I swapped birth control pills.

We also talked more about dermabrasion as I am starting to more seriously consider it. The reviews on here do not make it seem promising but I feel like my damage is different and I am trying to level out my skin, not try to erase my scars with it. If I choose to do it, it will be early next year when I have completed grad school.
Hopefully all goes well this time too all the best! I am also thinking of dermabrasion plus ReCell in the future, however I'm not sure it will help either if the holes simply go too deep. As far as I know restore can go to 1.4mm deep into the dermis , but I suspect that is too deep in facial area and simply leaves scars behind. If that's the case the another ablative will not help. I don't want to thin my skin either so I think in this point a biobsy to measure how deep does these holes go would be a must for me. My gut instinct tells me they go deep. And that my skin has thinned because of lasers, which in turn make me believe they used ablative instead of fraxtional. It's a big mess so sick of this. I have a smokers skin but I don't smoke. It's so embarrassing to have skin like a 50year old who had smoked all her live and tanned in sunbeds. All because of laser. Very frustrating but I hope we find some help to this! Good luck and lots of healing!
Sorry Mandy, I know the feeling :( That is a good idea to get a biopsy, I guess derms can do that ? Or would you go elsewhere. I was thinking about ReCell too...Thanks again for your support. I seem to be peeling quicker this time, maybe because I'm moving my mouth more + the Epiduo.

Spring Break!

Finally on Spring break. Photo is 1 week today. Peeling well and not much to report at this time. Will definitely update at 3 months to see if there has been any overall improvement with my four peels.
Just ordered the Obagi Nu Derm kit... Without Tretinoin products. Although it has been 15 months since my own Fraxel mare, my skin is still too unpredictable and prefer to wait until the two year mark before doing anything corrective. I would love to know how you find those more aggressive products from Obagi.
I had a thousand omens that day... I did not listen to them.

Tsk! Tsk!

On an emotional standpoint, I do not recommend doing 4 consecutive peels 4-6 weeks apart. I would limit yourself to 3 peels then take at least a 3 month break. I was naughty and peeled the rest of the skin off on Day 10-11. Although I would say I was 90% healed, I still should not have touched my face at least for 2 more days. I was just tired and burnt out on my peels. I will continue using my steroid twice a day until the end of the week then just solely use zinc sunblock n my face + ingest my supplements like 1,000mg Vitamin C daily for continued healing.
Hi Tina, Mandy... I'd like to tell you my story on skin needling short after laser damage. I'm only three months out from a single Smartxide Dot fractional CO2 treatment. I have ice-pick scars on my cheeks from acne, and the laser only made them look worse! 2 months post Smartxide, I had done one 2.0mm Dermapen treatment, because I felt I had to be pro-active. This only seemed to make my acne scars less deep, although it did nothing for the orange peel texture and micro-scarring that I got from the laser. However, I am 3 weeks post Dermapen, so there may be some more improvement. I am literally sitting on the edge of my chair for lef0x to give some hope over the TCA peelings she has done over the past few months. If not, Dermabrasion + Recell will probably be my only hope. I read several succes stories over at This one seems very promising:
Sorry to hear that dutchguy. I'll update in a month. Let us know how the dermapen works.
Hi lef0x, I always thought of skin needling as just some kind of gimmick. I instead wanted quick results with the Smartxide, which has been my single biggest mistake ever! Its seems like the microscarring from te laser made the surrounding ice-pick scars much more visible. I can see a clear difference between my forehead (which wasn't treated) and all the skin beneath it. The doctor said that the redness will probably subside after 6 months, and during that period it's probably not wise to do any treatments that involve burning and/or removing the skin. Dermapen is therefore considered safe, and even probably beneficial. The device works by moving needles rapidly in and out of the skin, which will result in microchannels in the skin that the body detects as damage. This will trigger the production of collagen and elastin that will rejuvenate the skin. The treatment is relatively new in the Netherlands, so no specific aftercare instructions were provided, other than your usual moisturizer. Although I can imagine that the potential for better results can be achieved by combining this treatment with use of copper peptides or PRP. I also like to tell you that a simple home-use dermastamp can theoretically achieve the same result, although for it to make the same amount of needle movements as the dermapen, you would have to stamp your skin a lot longer.

Hate these laser holes

It's been about 2 months now after my last peel. Overall my tone is better but my holes are still there. I've posted close up shots so you can see them. The bridge of my nose was left in tact and that's how smooth my skin was all over my whole face before I had the laser done. I was not born with all these holes and it makes me sad! Anyway, here are some photos for my update. The peels did help even out my skin tone overall, but I look pinkish right now because I am still using Epiduo & erythema is a side effect.
I also have laser damage. You can see some photos here:
Hi, I will never go near another laser-ever. I am thinking of getting a phenol peel. going to a doctor in NYC tomorrow for another opinion.
Keep us updated & good luck. I was thinking about a light one myself/exoderm.


Tone has improved. Maybe some improvement with the holes but hard to tell right now without stopping my Epiduo, which I don't want to do this yet. It takes about 3 months for Epiduo to really work & for the skin to get used to it so I will continue using it for awhile.

At this point I am still thinking dermabrasion or a light Phenol peel; the former was the recommended procedure by my doctor but I want to get more information on a light Phenol peel before I can fully commit without any doubts.
Lefox I had the exact same problems as you. And I must say that the holes done look so bad. Your skin tone is beautiful I love it!!!! I took your success story and just got my first peel done after laser damage. I'm crossing my fingers and hope it goes well. Hansen is such an amazing doctor I hope I get amazing results now. I was going to say I can't message you. But I hope to keep contact with you! So anxious
kamngetit, are the holes just on your nose or on your entire face? What kind of peel did you have? Please keep us updated and good luck.
So glad to hear!!! Congrats and keep us updated. He's awesome! I will message you, I had it temporarily disabled. All the best! Yay


I was tempted to get another peel due to a couple new acne scars from being off birth control for surgery but decided to book my appointment to have dermabrasion. I am having my full face done by the same doctor at the end of the year. My laser damage is all over my face so I opted for full face instead of just cheeks. I will update in the next few months. I'm still very happy with the peels overall.
Thanks so much for sharing your journey and keeping your review so up to helpful! Glad the peels are working well for you, look forward to your updates - good luck!!
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Now I see why people travel out of state for their medical & aesthetic needs--The best doctors are in California! I was very lucky to have found Dr. Hansen through RealSelf, I actually think it was fate. He is kind, caring, extremely knowledgeable, personable, and funny. The office staff and nurse are great too! I never have to wait for my appointments and he actually got me in for my peel early when I arrived before my appointment time. I can't wait for my next one!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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