Medium TCA Chemical Peel Question From a Reader

Hello, Very serious question  for you today so your urgent response will be most appreciated….I am biracial and three weeks ago had a medium TCA chemical peel performed by a student under the supervision of his licensed instructor. The healing process on the left side of my cheek was more horrible than any. So today when i look at my face, every blemish that was here before, is still here. The left side of my cheek now has a big brown blotchy spot. And I’m continually breaking out and the new breakouts are turning to blemishes. But when i feel my face….smooth as a new born baby. So the Esthetician from the school says the peel worked but the chemical didn’t so she has me using Mederma Cream three times a day. I need a better explanation than that…please help!

It sounds like the peel was too intense for your skin. I usually ask about skin sensitivity and history of hyperpigmentation (brown spots) before peeling, especially with darker skin tones. I would like to know more information with answers to the questions at the bottom of this response to get you a better answer.

TCA stands for TriChloroacetic Acid. It is a good choice for sensitive skin or first time peels ONLY if small percentages are used and only one layer is applied. If multiple layers are applied or if a higher percentage is used, this peel can cause major shedding of the skin as well as a possibility of darkness. Usually a percentage of more than 10% needs to be done by a nurse or doctor.

Pigmentation – In some cases, especially when there is a lack of proper nutrients in your body and skin, you can hyperpigment after a peel. Sometimes this hyperpigmentation (brown spotting) is temporary and in other times it can last a lot longer. If the peel was too strong for you and burned your skin, this burn could show up as a brownish color. The fact that the student recommended a scar healing cream for you means that you could have suffered a burn.

Breakouts – Chemical peels send a message to your skin to make new skin cells and start moving them toward the surface. Therefore, if there were any toxins or bacteria in the upper layers of your epidermis, they would have surfaced and been discarded in the form of a “breakout.” This can be normal. However, if you are out in the sun without proper sunblocks, your skin can easily pigment in these areas so proper use of sunblocks with zinc and / or titanium dioxide is crucial.

Right now, you need to rest your skin. Your best bet is to keep out of the sun and use natural sunblock when you are outside. Add in Omega Fatty Acids to your diet as well as lots of antioxidants (Vit’s A, C, E, Alpha Lipoic Acid, CoQ10, and any fruit or veggie) to feed your skin from the inside out. This will help feed your body the nutrients it needs to aid the healing process. Use very gentle products to cleanse and moisturize every morning and night. Also, applying a fatty Vitamin C directly to the affected areas with stimulate the healing process of your skin, possibly even faster than the over the counter scar cream.

If the pigmentation or irritation isnt going away, make an appointment with your dermatologist.

I hope this information helps, please email me the extra answers to these following questions and I may be able to give you more insight. If you need any product recommendations or supplement recommendations – let me know!

More indepth questions:

  • how long ago did you get this peel?
  • do you know the percentage of the TCA?
  • what are you using on your skin at home to cleanse and moisturize?
  • were you using the exact same products previous to the peel?
  • were you out in the sun right before or after the peel?
  • are you taking retin A, tretinoin, differing,  or accutane?
  • are you taking any omegas fatty acid supplements or vitamins on a daily basis?
  • have you ever had a peel before, if so which one?
  • did your skin burn and frost during the peel – frosting means your skin turned white wither in some areas or all over (frosting usually means that skin proteins were damaged and the peel took more skin off than just the very top layer – which could mean that you need lots of healing downtime in order for your skin to rest and recuperate)
  • what  did the student apply to your skin after the TCA?
  • how long did you wait to rinse your skin with water after the TCA was applied?
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