Uneven Results from a Chemical Peel?

I just had a TCA peel (doctor mixed 35% and 20% for an "in between" strength) done on my face, neck, and chest. Only one side of my face and chest are red, but the other side and my neck aren't at all. I'm worried that I just spent big bucks to get this done and the tech didn't apply enough on the one side/my neck to be effective; not to mention that I might end up with uneven results! Thanks!

Doctor Answers 4

Chemical peel results

It can take one month before you see the results of your peel.  The areas that had more sun damage can be more inflamed and take longer to heal.  Use mild products on your skin and avoid the sun.  See your dermatologist in one month for assessment.  You may require more than one peel.

Toronto Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Chemical Peel Results

It is way too early to make that determination. The results from the chemical peel are often not seen for at least a month. In addition, sometimes more than one peel is required. I would wait at last a month before being concerned whether this peel did or did not work for you.

David Goldberg, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Speak with your doctor about potential chemical peel complications

Uneven redness and healing is not uncommon after chemical peels.

Different areas of the face and neck heal at varying rates, largely based on the thickness of the skin. Thicker skin of the nose or forehead may recovery much faster than the thin skin of the lower eyelids.

In addition, different areas of the face & neck area have received different degrees of sun damage. Areas of more sun damage will appear more red and irritated during the recovery period following a peel.

Although uneven application of a chemical peel might possibly result in an uneven cosmetic outcome, it's unlikely with medium/superficial peels. The lower strength peel you received makes any uneveness once all healing is complete more unlikely.

The most important concern with uneven appearance in skin healing is infection. Your skin is extremely vulnerable after any resurfacing procedure, including peels. Viral, bacterial, and fungal infections are potential complications.

Inform you physician immediately if any areas appear infected. Follow your doctor's post-peel guidelines, and speak with him/her regarding your concern.

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

I would encourage you to be patient and wait 1 month.

Just because one side of your face/chest is more inflamed than the other following a peel does not necessarily mean the tech did anything wrong. Sun-damaged skin in general will react more briskly with redness and even crusting. The degree of sun-damage to our skin is almost never totally symmetric. For example, people almost always have more sun damage on the left side of the face because of the sun exposure due to driving. I would encourage you to wait until the peeling has been completed and the skin has fully healed, then re-assess. If you are still dissatisfied, return to the office that treated you with the TCA peel. Healing incidentally does occur much faster with frequent application of bland moisturizers, e.g. Cetaphil or Aveeno.

Good Luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 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.