Save Your Money, Do It at Home, but Educate Yourself
I have had procedures performed in a dr. office,...
- 23 Jan 2011
I have had procedures performed in a dr. office, and I was fairly certain that there are non-surgical procedures that I could perform myself just as well as the "pros," at a significant cost savings.
I purchased a 12.5% TCA peel and applied to my face on a Friday night. Saturday it looked tight and red, but nothing crazy. Sunday my face took on a purple-brown, shiny appearance, and by that evening, some of it was just beginning to peel in certain areas. Monday my whole face was coming off in sheets! The hardest part is not picking or rubbing at it.... I would just apply more moisturizer and then do my nails, to keep my hands busy. Tuesday evening I felt comfortable enough to take a warm bath and GENTLY rub my face-- wow! By Wednesday I was comfortable out in public, though there was still quite a bit of peeling going on, the color of my face was more normal and the really deep sheets of shedding had subsided.
Now, 9 days post-peel, my skin looks more even in color, smoother... I'm pretty excited to do this again in 6 weeks or so. I am 30, with a few signs of early aging, but my primary motivation was hyperpigmentation from prior acne. I also have a few shallow boxcar scars, which I didn't really see any improvement in, but it's still early yet, and I didn't expect miracles from just one peel. It's a process, I know...
I knew what to expect and I was pretty careful with application. Use Vaseline around your hairline, because while you want "all over" coverage, it's easy to miss these parts when rinsing (you wash it off pretty quickly!) and you don't want to over-treat those parts. I would actually do this is "regions" of the face, rather than all over at once, because by the time you're finished with one area, it's basically time to take it off another.
In terms of discomfort and pain-- it burns, yeah. Did I need any painkillers or the other anti-anxiety meds they give you at the drs. office? No. Having read comments from people who say it's one of the most painful events of their life makes me wonder about them-- seriously, it's not that bad at all, and it's all over in about a minute (of course, if you do section by section, it's one minute, then wash, then apply to another section, wait ~one minute, and repeat...).
Definitely start with 30 seconds application time for thinner areas, maybe up to one minute for "thicker" skin (for me, this means forehead, cheekbones). And very important: It doesn't HAVE to "frost" to have an effect! I was concerned that my face didn't frost, save a few tiny areas, and it wouldn't be effective. Oh well, I thought, worse case scenario, I will re-apply in another week and leave it on longer next time. Not needed! My skin was peeling and shedding plenty, even in areas which looked almost unchanged from pre-application.
Please note that you will look pretty bad for days 3-6. Try to leave the peels alone-- it's tempting to try to remove them, but remember that the skin underneath is still healing! Think of a scab-- it's ususally better to leave it alone!
Anyhow, despite all the bad results that a few people have had (but use judgment, people-- 100% applied to your face the first time!!! puh-leez! not smart!), I think a TCA peel can be safely applied at home with near-drs. office results. That has been my experience.