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I did an at home 20 % TCA peel on my whole face. I was so excited to try it out at home and unfortunately I think I didn't prep correctly. Now my skin is looking red and raw. It doesn't look like burns yet, just very irritated. I am scared though, because now I am seeing stories about women who burned and permanently damaged their face with TCA peels all over the place. Is it too late? What do I do now? How do I know for sure if I burned my face or this is just a normal reaction to the peel? Please help because I am really freaking.

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It could be that you left your peel on too long and it inadvertently penetrated more deeply than you had intended. Red looking skin and peeling are very common effects after any chemical peel and it is only to be expected, but sometimes yes it happens that the peel goes too deep and you cause damage to your skin. if you are not sure, I would definitely keep on using a gentle moisturizer on your face and do not pick at the peeling skin. See a dermatologist just to make sure everything is fine, and if on the off chance you do have damaged skin then they can help you figure out where to take it from here.
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TCA peels are medium-strength peels, which penetrate the skin quite deeply and have the ability to cause second degree burns. If your peel went right, it will take up to two weeks for the skin to recover from the peel. During that recovery period, your skin will be red, will flake, will peel, and towards the end of the healing period, you will see new skin in its place. 

If you read what people who regularly use TCA peels on their own skin say, they all talk about the importance of preparing the skin for a week or two in advance, by using sun screen, moisturizer, cleansing the skin twice a day, and in some cases even using Retin-A cream. You also need to deep clean the skin before applying the peel itself.  After the peel, you are supposed to wash the solution off completely, rinsing it with cold water. 

From what you are saying, there is no way to tell whether you are experiencing the normal healing process after a peel, or something went wrong. This is truly a case of, if you are worried you need to seek medical attention. I would not panic too much yet however, because what you are experiencing could in fact be completely within the realm of normal.

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More, about possible complications of chemical peels:

1. Redness
2. Crust formation and subsequent scarring
3. Swelling
4. Infection
5. Increased sun sensitivity

Frankly, I am slightly concerned about the growing trend of doing chemical peels at home. So many people are asking whether they have burned their skin during a TCA peel, seemingly not realizing that TCA peels are indeed designed to cause burns. That is what makes them work. I would advise you to stay away from risky at-home procedures in the future and to only go to a dermatologist for treatments such as this.
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You have probably not burned and damaged your face long term. This is probably just normal. Some people recommend you take it easy for a week after having a TCA peel, just hanging out at home and relaxing. Take Vitamin C every day and moisturize properly.... just watch some films, read some books and wait for the healing to finish. There is not much you can do to speed up healing. That is, after you have had the peel your body just needs to finish doing its work. There are things you can do to prevent healing, that is, going out in the sun, being stressed about it, and most of all picking at the peeling skin. Don't worry too much you will probably be fine soon and your skin will look much better.
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What is it with people doing TCA peels at home? I just looked at another topic that was almost identical. Don't freak, first off yeah, 'cause there's nothing you can do to turn back time and make it so that you never had the peel in the first place. From what I've seen about TCA, it can take your skin quite long to go back to normal, up to six weeks, and you're maybe just seeing stuff that's meant to be happening right now. Again, please check in with your GP and check whether there's something you can put on that sore skin of yours while you're healing. Hopefully you didn't cause any permanent damage. TCA peels are only meant to be done by pros, though, so please just get it done somewhere else next time?

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Actually, lots and lots of people do TCA peels themselves routinely with great success. The key is to research, research, research before going ahead. I do agree that you should not be using this if you are not sure that you are capable of doing it correctly. If I were to do this, starting with 12.5 % would seem like a safer bet. You are only supposed to move onto higher strengths if you know your skin tolerates them.

Take comfort in knowing that your skin will get better with time, OP. Some people have luck with using hydroquinone to sort out hypopigmentation issues that occur after TCA peels, and you could also try mederma. In the meantime, make sure you stay out of the sun.
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Hey there,

I thought the following aftercare instructions for TCA peels may help the OP or someone else reading this.

1. Take it easy the first few days. Take the time off work and just relax at home, watching some videos with your face elevated. Make sure you sleep on a clean pillow and try to sleep on your back if at all possible.
2. Use an ice pack on your face the first two days. This will help reduce swelling and redness.
3. Use Ibuprofen for the pain and as an anti inflammatory the first two days. Also use Vitamin C orally to speed up healing.
4. 0.25 percent acetic acid on the skin will help you.
5. Do keep the skin moisturized with the recommended product. You may think you should not put anything on the skin because it is healing, but that is not true. Scarring can result much more easily if your skin gets so dry it cracks and bleeds.

In addition, you may have the itch to touch your skin to feel what it is like after your peel. Don't do that, because you may cause yourself infection. Also, after the peel do not forget to apply a sun screen, even if you usually don't. The new skin is more sensitive to the sun and you are more prone to burning.
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Hey, I'm looking to do a TCA peel in the next few weeks and have been reading about how to speed recovery. After the peel, I am reading to use Retin-A .025%. It should be discontinued the five days right before the peel, but then resumed two days after. You need to stay out of the sun completely for five days or so, make sure you do not pick at the skin. Also, general resting and lots of water is recommended. I have seen my friend do TCA peels herself and though it seems serious, the initial shock wears off and leaves beautiful new skin underneath.
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You self-applied a 20 percent TCA peel, though you don't mention how many layers you used or how long you left it on. Redness, swelling, and a general irritated look to the skin are all normal following any kind of TCA peel. You should stay out of the sun. If you notice darker patches, hydroquinones can come to the rescue. For redness or raised bumps on the skin, mederma will be your friend. If your skin is now in the process of healing normally, though, you should be fine. Keep an eye on that new skin and look whether it is darker or lighter. Make sure you keep on protecting your skin from the sun.
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See, and that is why I prefer microdermabrasion to TCA peels. There is no downtime to speak of and it did a great job treating my acne scars and sun spots. Of course if you have recently had a peel you need to wait like a month before you can consider microdermabrasion, but for next time this is something to consider. The risk of side effects is far reduced and you do not look horrible afterward. Much better than messing around with acids at home, in my humble opinion.
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Peels are now sold to anyone on the internet, while they were the exclusive domain of aestheticians just a few years ago. Does the fact that something is available for sale and you can physically order it and have it delivered to your home also mean that something is safe for home use? In the case of TCA peels, most aestheticians will tell you no, this is a treatment that should only ever be performed by someone who was trained to do them. That is because there are tricks to performing it in a way that does not lead to skin damage. Aestheticians will ask you numerous questions and examine your skin before recommending a peel, and leave you with clear instructions on what to do next. You just can't do that in the form of self care. I don't think aestheticians would even perform a peel on their own face. So ladies, just leave this one to the professionals, OK? If not, you can cause permanent scarring and pigmentation changes which do the opposite of what you wanted a peel for anyway. Just common sense advice, yes?
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