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 4

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
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Moisturization is essential after a chemical peel

Opti-Ceramide creams are essential element of hydrating the superficial layers and in maintaining deep moisturization after a chemical peel. We recommend an Opti-Ceramide cream called Elevase Moisture Booster as it is oil free and non-comedogenic. Apply it 3-4 times daily after your chemical peel for optimal outcome. 

Hratch Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Buffalo Phlebologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 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

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

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.