Updated on Sep 23, 2009
I've read a few negative results that were obviously the cause of carelessness on the part of the user, vs. potential negative/ adverse results of a home TCA peel. I've decided that outside of sharing my pictures and story, i will take the time to bring to light some of the reasons behind why people are so dissatisfied with a home TCA peel by listing a few rules that NEED to be followed in order to get great results. By listing those reasons, i will come to show why some individuals say the peel is worthless.
Here are a couple things you need to do to be happy with the results of your peel:
1. Decide it the peel is for you. Research and ask: what am i treating? ( ex: acne scars, discoloration: sun spots, huperpigmantation from medication, age spots, tattoo removal, wrinkles and so on...) Once you identify your reasons for the peel, verify that the peel will be helpful and research any other more cost effective treatments. There is always a possibility that there is something better and cheaper out there for you.
2. Ok, so you have decided to do the peel, and you are set on doing it at home to save some money. Now it's time to find a place to buy the peel from. This is the part where people make an unexpected mistake that results in a bad peel experience. It's a fact, all of us want to save money. So what do we do?, ( and i did this too the first time), we turn to ebay. We look over the pictures and the great results and buy the peel that is a 50% or 100% solution, thinking that our results will be as great as advertised.
Truth is that no professional will use a 50% solution or more on a patient the first time, so you shouldn't either! If you feel like your skin will not benefit more from just the typical (up to 20%) solution, you need to see a professional. It will be more cost effective for you and it will prevent you from a bad experience or potential damage you might do to your skin. Unless you have done the peel in the past, YOU SHOULD NOT use anything stronger the first time than 15%! If you do, you will regret it! You will burn your face!, (just look at some of the pictures of the people on this blog, their scaring and discoloration is the result of a too strong solution)! The consequences will be that you will pick your skin, or it will nip on your pillow or something like that and that will cause scaring and discoloration, or brown spots and uneven skin texture or other unwanted results. TCA peel is not a joke, don't treat it as one or you will regret it!
2. So after you do your research, find a place and a peel that people have reviewed well and it's worth buying from, you need to prep your skin. The idea of prepping your skin is to help your skin peel better and faster. If you work and cant take 10 days off, i suggest you take this stage seriously. It will save you 2-3 days off work and some serious embarrassment if you will work during this period. I used an alpha hydroxy cream( nothing special, drug store brand) daily, but i believe that you can use retinol-A cream as well and some other one's too. You need to use it daily for at least a few weeks before the peel. A good way to tell when you are ready to do the peel is that your skin does not get red,dry or flaky from the cream you have been using. If you are still in that stage where you are getting red, flaky, dry or your skin burns when you apply the cream, than you need to discontinue using it for a couple days, or you wait till your skin 'is used to it'. For some people that might mean 2 weeks, for others 2 months. you can think of the cream as a light peel that you do daily, so that when you do a TCA peel your skin recognizes it, accepts it and reacts favorably. After all, your skin is alive, it will react better if you slowly adjust it and 'easy it in on your plan, so to speak.
3. Ok so you're ready now, you got the peel, your prepped, you have done your skin test and it's been 24 hours and you didn't have any adverse or allergic reactions. All looks good. Now it's finally time to do it. You researched your stuff, and you know what method you will use. ( this part is more personal than anything, it's based on what you are treating. For example, if you are treating ice pick scars, the cross method might be the way to go, and if pigmentation, than maybe just a layer in that area might be enough). You prep up, clean and dry your face, have your buffer ( baking soda and water) ready just in case the pain gets to bad, or your skin frosts up faster than expected and you need to neutralize the peel before the 5-10 min mark. You're ready to do it, but wait! Here are some things you should pay attention to:
-if you are doing a peel on a big area, be aware that where you start will be on longer than where you finish. 25 sec can make a difference, as i have found out. Your skin can go from lightly frosted to completely white( which will result in a very strong peel and should not happen on a first time peel) in less than 30 sec. If you used a strong solution with no skin prep or skin test, there is a strong possibility that that might happen and you need to be ready to neutralize the area you started with as soon as you see it going beyond frosting.
- you should care and follow the instructions that came with your peel, but be aware that everyones skin is different. Just because it says leave it on for 5-10 min, doesn't mean that you should! Sometimes your skin will take to the peel so quickly that anything beyond 3 min would result in a burn. Skin should be frosted, not white! The peel will continue working after you neutralize it for couple more sec, whatever the instruction might claim, you can bet your money that you will feel the burn after you neutralize it.
- It does happens sometimes that you put the peel on and you don't feel anything. In those instances, you might need to apply a second layer. I suggest that you wait around 4 to 5- min between each layer. By pilling one layer on top of the
other, you are increasing the %. So even though you started with a 12.5 solution, after a second layer of 12.5%, the true solution used will have the effect of a stronger solution. I don't believe it doubles up completely to a 25% solution , but the solution becomes stronger.
4. After you have done the peel and you are satisfied with the solution you used and the burning has subsided, wait a couple of hours to put on jelly/moisturizer( don't use any crams that are meant for anything other than moisturizing! So stay away from your daily wrinkle cream or anything along those lines, non-greasy baby oil might be the best to use) Within the next couple of hours ( for some people it might be a day) your skin will get rosy and dry. Treat your skin well by moisturizing it and keeping it clean. Use only water, no soap, or cosmetics for the next couple of days till you finish peeling, after all you don't want to irritate it more than it is.
Within 10 days or so, if all directions are followed, your skin should look brighter, smoother and younger.
I posted my pictures and story on this blog, under the title: It's worth it but must make time', if you would like to see my results and read my experience.
Good luck and happy results!