Chemical peels are used to treat different skin problems, such as acne, sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone and texture. They involve the use of chemicals such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, Jessner's solution, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and phenol. The chemical is applied to your skin and then removed after some time. The top layer of your skin peels off as a result, revealing newer, more youthful-looking skin. TCA and Jessner peels are two popular types of chemical peels.
What is a TCA peel used for?
A TCA peel is most commonly used for:
What is a TCA peel?
TCA is a non-toxic chemical (trichloracetic acid), which has been used to perform skin peels for over 20 years. It is a relative of vinegar (acetic acid.) When TCA is applied to the skin, it causes the top layers of cells to dry up and peel off over a period of several days to one week. When the old skin is peeled off, it exposes a new layer of undamaged skin, which has a smoother texture and more even color.
Some dermatologists, in fact, still prefer TCA peels for treating sun damage or melasma, usually in combination with prescription creams. TCA peels are safe in the hands of an experienced dermatologist. TCA may be a good option, particularly if you have melasma, because many lasers are difficult to use when treating melasma.
How do peels work and what are the different depth peels?
All peels work by removing a layer of sun damaged skin. Superficial or "light" peels remove only the top layer, mostly the layer of dead skin called the stratum corneum. Progressing from medium to deep peels, the layer of skin removed is greater with each increase in strength of the peel solution. The stronger the peel solution the greater the risk of complications like uneven pigment or even scarring.
TCA peels can be done at different depths from shallow to deep. Most dermatologists now are using laser technology instead of deep TCA peels, but light to medium depth peels are still in widespread use.
Lighter TCA peels are usually done in a series of 2 or 3 for best results. This is similar to other light peels that usually involve hydroxy acids such as glycolic, salicylic, or a mixture of other hydroxy acids. Medium depth TCA peels are usually done once or twice a year and do require some downtime - usually about a week - when the peeling is obvious
What areas can be treated?
The face, neck, chest, back, arms, and legs. TCA peels may be very cost effective on the body because larger areas can be done at less cost than a laser. However, the risks of problems may also be greater unless the dermatologist is very experienced with TCA on the body.
When considering peels of non-facial areas, it's important to realize that these areas do not heal as well as the face, and the desired results are not as predictable. It is important to note that you should never peel more than a small percentage of the body at one time in order to avoid any chance of potential toxicity.How long do the effects of a TCA peel last?
This depends on the depth of the peel and the extent of your continuing sun exposure. Your licensed professional should be able to give you an estimate.
When will I see results from my TCA peel?
As soon as you finish peeling you will see results. Your skin should continue to improve for 30-60 days as long as you are protected from the sun.
How much do TCA peels cost?
This really depends on where you live, the depth of peel and the areas you are peeling. TCA peels can run from $300 to $1,000 for a full face peel and are often done in a series. A full face, neck, and chest will cost more.
What does a TCA peel feel like? Is it painful?
The peel goes something like this. When you arrive, you will be put in a room and be asked to get comfortable on an exam table. Your skin will be cleansed several times with liquid cleanser and alcohol. It's important that all the oil be off the skin so the peel solution will penetrate evenly. Then the peel solution is applied and sometimes this is done in two stages. There is some stinging and a sensation of heat while the peel solution is active. Sometimes a small handheld fan is used for cooling in this stage. Then an ointment is applied to speed healing and post care instructions are given.
What will I look like right after the treatment, and what will the healing time be?
You will usually peel for about one week with a medium peel. The skin will be a light yellow after the procedure for 1-2 hours. This color will gradually fade. The skin will be slightly redder for 2-3 days after the peel and feel tight.
Avoid all sun exposure. You will begin to peel approximately 48-72 hours after the treatment and the peeling will last generally 2-5 days. There is no pain but the skin looks as if it has a severe sunburn. You will be more sensitive to sunlight for 4-8 weeks after so don't plan any sunny vacations for at least a month.
What are the possible side effects and complications of a TCA peel?
Your provider will give you specific instructions on pre-treatment and post-treatment care and expectations. And if you are going to take any pain medications, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment. Your provider will also give you a list of side effects, but here are some possible side effects or issues:
How should I care for my skin after a peel?
Your Aesthetician will give you specific instructions but some general guidelines are as follows.
Wash nightly with a gentle cleanser like Rejuvi O Cleanser and remove any makeup very gently. Apply a thick, bland moisturizer like Rejuvi Super Soothing Cream. Ask your Aesthetician when makeup can be applied. You will need to increase your use of a moisturizer after the peel as your skin will be temporarily drier. We ask you to avoid all sun exposure for 2-8 weeks!
$50/$40 added to a facial
Jessners Peel is a superior treatment designed to remove superficial layers of skin. It’s one of the most effective light cosmetic peel available. A Jessner peel consists of a mild peeling agent that can be used to lighten areas of hyperpigmentation and to treat aged sundamged skin.
The Jessner’s peel is excellent for all skin types. It smoothes and rejuvenates skin, producing beautiful results in treating mild to severe acne, discoloration, moderate wrinkling, and sun damage. Peeling the face, neck, hands, and upper chest is also quite effective.
The Jessner’s peel is very beneficial for patients with acne, oily, or thicker skin, because it tends to decrease oil production and open clogged sebaceous follicles. It also contributes to the healing process of acne.
The Jessner’s peel combines resorcinol, lactic acid, and salicylic acid to result in deeper penetration and greater exfoliation of the outer layers of skin cells. This deeper exfoliation produces noticeable flaking and exfoliation in the following three to four days after the peel, and within a week a smoother, healthier layer of skin will be revealed
About the Jessner's Peel
A Jessner's Peel is a medium depth peel performed by a dermatologist and is designed for more extensive damage than AHA's can improve. It is made from salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid), lactic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid) and resorcinol. A SNB Paramedical Aesthetician will apply a glycolic cleanser over your face to fully remove the oils and horny layer so that your Jessner's solution will penetrate properly. Then she will apply the Jessner's solution to your face, it will then burn slightly (although this uncomfortable sensation can be relieved by a fan blowing cool air on your treatment area). Then she will neutralize the acid and remove your solution with cool water. You will peel and flake for about 7 days and turn pink or brown afterwards. After you heal nice, smooth skin will be revealed.