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The LONGEST Peel Ever!! But Was All Worth While

I was very excited to start my at home TCA 12%...

I was very excited to start my at home TCA 12% peel. Initially, I read and re-read the directions and blogs concerning the dangers of a peel. At the end, I was convinced that this would be in my best interest to at least experience.

The one and only warning I wish they really underlined and that I wish to for you is that you must have some down time [NO WORK OR OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES] while attempting the process. I received stares as if I had some leprasy and these are all within days 3-7 of the healing/peeling process, so I would NEVER do it while working ever again. TCA peels are optimum for when you'll be home on vacation and best in warm climates.

Overall the experience was worth it just that when you start your peel it's confusing on how much of the 'burn' is good vs dangerous. I applied it twice within one day and another coat, the next day for good measure because I never did get that frosting that everyone spoke of. As soon as it touched my skin, I was burning, red and swelling so I immediatly washed it off with COLD water. Hours after, I still had to fan myself because it felt as if it was still burning. I decided to wait a few days and 'try again' but that was not needed as my skin became instantly TIGHT and rubbery then dry and crackish ..

the next morning I saw some peeling form around my lips [who knew you didn't have to have it frost]. I put ALOT of sunscreen on and my skin was a nice brown ashy grey color! [never again, I tell you!] wash with warm water and a little soap, gently, and repeat with sunscreen. Only after days 4 or 5 did I discover vaseline to be BETTER than anything else -- this is what I should have started with but the next go around, I will be better prepared with my vaseline in hand.

Anyway, for the next 7-10 days, my skin looked just as ashy grey with some flaking .. nothing more .. so, I don't know if it's because I didn't let it really get down in there and burn ..err.. frost or because of my complexion [caramel brown] whatever it was, it took FOREVER to heal. But at the end, I feel confident enough to know that I'll be back with another coat in a couple of months. I have some deep embedded acne scars which are slowly fading [tca didn't do anything major for them] so maybe I'll attempt the cross method with simply isolating the problem spots and reapplying daily until .. {?} .. that's another thing I've discovered during this whole process, no one [Dr.s, facialists] really has a set of rules as TCA is an individual experience and the person can figure out what works for them and adjust to suit their specific needs. If you're trying it at home, I guess you'll have to use that 6th sense to figure out when to call it quits, what to use to cool and moisturize. Lastly, the main thing I wish to leave with anyone thinking of experimenting with this is that you should ALWAYS start [and stick with, at least with me] the 8%-12% concentration ONLY. I really don't see why anyone would go higher because this does the job without the discoloration. And it is perfect for dark skin tones!

All in all, everyone should TCA their skin at least mid-life to awaken the pores!

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Comments (9)

Thanks so much for your story. I almost did the same thing you did. I used a TCA 18% peel, though, and I too didn't see a frost, so I did it again the same day, then I did it again the next day. I think the only way to get a frost with such a low % is to apply a 2nd layer after 5 minutes, that's what the directions say. I tried it on the second day and sure enough, I saw a little frosting. The next time I do a peel in a couple months, I will surely do two layers, five minutes apart and leave it on the time required.
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I have tried a 12.5% tca peel and a 21% tca peel. Both frosted and I immediately removed the solution with neutralizer. However, my skin really didn't have a good peeling effect . . . it was like my deadened skin just stayed there--even after a week. I had to scrape the deadskin constantly to remove it. Should I have used a higher concentration or is there something that I might have done wrong?
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Never pick your skin or peel it off as it scabs over. That a good way to get scars. If you want to speed up the process, take long showers and wash your face rubbing gently. That will help with the skin coming off in a safer way. You can wash your face about 3 or 4x a day as well. Just be gentle. The water will do the work. Keep in mind, the longer the dead unlifted skin is on, the better the outcome. It takes patience.
If the skin is not healed underneath after washing and dead skin peels just add some antibiotic cream and it should subside and you'll be fine. I used a 100% TCA and I am fine. IT TOOK ME YEARS FOR MY SKIN TO GET USE TO THAT STRENGHT!!!!!! Always start out slow. One layer of 20% your first time is ok. (my opinion) Just becareful, scarring is a horrible result. Be smart about what your doing gals!!! LUV YA and best of luck.
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I am an african american female. i have used 12.5% tca and 35% glycolic at home with great results by following directions that came with the peel. i battled acne for 13yrs. ive used alot of products. the peels are worth it and worth a try at home.As with any chemical product do a patch test first wait a couple of days. if your going for tca cross take a picture before but only test one ice pick. See how you come out. I would never use 100% tca for nothing.. I'll never pay for someone to do a peel again..
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I agree that at-home peels can be done successfully. With the current economy, a lot of us are going to be doing more at-home peels, too. But, the most important thing is to BE PATIENT! First, think about what everyone here suggests --- do a very mild peel with something like glycolic first to learn your skin sensitivity. Go to a professional for at least one medium peel with Jessner's or a mild TCA. I'm very fair and my skin is not very sensitive, so I can take 30% TCA without a problem. But, I still would never go any stronger than that. Also, if you are going to do different parts of your body, like your decolletage or hands, you will probably need a different concentration than your face for the same effect. But, BE PATIENT! It's always better to have a couple experiences of slight flaking while you work up to the best strength solution, than to damage your skin by using something too strong or attempting a second peel too soon because you don't want to wait another two or three weeks. The point here is to get back to your natural undamaged skin. One other suggestion. I couldn't afford to go to an expensive place for my first peels. So, I went to a very reputable cosmetology school and got my first peels done by students who were well-supervised by experienced instructors. If anything, I felt like my skin was in better hands because the students were really paying attention and so were the instructors. I also learned a lot there asking questions and listening to the instructor give guidance to the students. On top of all of that -- I only paid $20 - $30 for a great facial and peel! Well worth it and informative. Also, great advice about the baking soda solution and buffered acids. I learned that at the cosmo school, too! Good luck and be careful.
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Yes, there is misinformation on the Internet. Yes, you should do a lot of homework before you put any acid on your skin. But that does not mean that you cannot safely do a home peel at lower concentrations IF you know your skin. Don't try a TCA peel if you've never even done a super-low-concentration glycolic (like the L'Oreal over-the-counter one). If it's your first "real" peel, don't just buy a low concentration and hope for the best. Pay to have a dermatologist or at least licensed aesthetician (whom you have gotten a good referral for - there are plenty of idiots in salons/spas who know less about this than the people on this site) do your first peel and see how YOUR skin reacts. Maybe 12% TCA in a single layer is going to burn badly. Maybe your skin is like mine, and a 30%TCA will hardly peel. Everyone is different! Buy a buffered peel, which stops working in 5 minutes or so regardless of your actions, but even so, NEVER start a peel without your neutralizing solution nearby! (Baking soda & water, usually.) If you do it yourself, make sure you've purchased from a good site, with acid that is FDA licensed/inspected from a pharmaceutical maker. Make sure it's buffered. Read the instructions. Follow them. Don't just rinse with cold water -- use the neutralizer! Then use aquaphor or vaseline for mild burning post-peel or neosporin/bacitracin for moderate or worse. You don't want a skin infection on your face.
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I have never done a TCA peel at home. I would really be nervous about it. However, I have had one done professionally, and I know my doctor recommends that you use Aquaphor afterwards. It is really soothing, so I recommend the Aquaphor over vaseline or whatever for those of you who do them at home.
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If you would go to a Dermatologist or a Clinical Aesthetician, who have spent a lot of time and money on training, and who deal with skin and side effects from peels every day, you would see better results. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, and even on this site of what you should and should not do before, during and after a peel. The truth is everyone's skin is different, and has a chance of reacting different to a TCA peel. These are strong chemical solutions that are formulated to kill your skin cells (the frosting) and cause a CONTROLLED wound... the key is control, which is why you should go to a professional to get it done. They don't use a "sixth sense" to know when to stop, they use their education. You can really hurt yourself doing this. Applying too much solution can give you toxic shock, affect your thyroid, and give you permanent scarring or loss of pigment in your skin. Also if you have an adverse reaction, it is impossible, even for a trained professional to properly treat you over the phone or via e-mail. You need to see the skin in person to determine the severity of the burns/allergies/reactions. If you'd like to use products at home, Glycolics are safer, they can be neutralized with water (TCA can not). It is still a good idea to find a aesthetician in your area that can recommend you the best products for your skin type and condition. You will get faster more predictable results with a professional guiding you, and won't be wasting your money, time, and potentially damaging your skin by "testing" things on yourself at home until you find what's right.
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Pls listen one, and listen all. Before I did any type of peel on my skin, I did my research! AND LOTS OF IT! There's plenty of it online; even some on ebay. Then, after comparing glycolic and TCA peel prices everywhere, I researched dermatology and skin care sites, even partial textbooks online discussing chemical peels. TCA peels are NEVER done twice in one day, regardless of strength! Vaseline is a commonly used for burning, although with what's described here, Neosporin would've been a better bet. Baking soda and water solution can be used right after to stop the chemical from going too far, if you're new to peels. Also, if it's your first time, go glycolic, no stronger than 30%. This is a lighter peel which can be done 2-3 times per week, once individual reaction is experienced. Keeping in mind the preceding and then done properly, peels are great. For really dark skin, i.e. African-American, I wouldn't do it without a licensed aesthetician or dermatologist, because hyperpigmentation could occur and damage the skin. I'm no expert, ladies. I just do my research for anything and everything I buy, especially as it pertains to my health, inside and out. Hope this two cents proves helpful.
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