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I am new to this forum and also a chemical peel virgin! I am so excited to say I have my first TCA peel booked which will be a 20% peel. I understand there will be downtime of about a week and of course I will ask my provider but I'd also like to ask you.

- Will I be able to go out in the sun after my peel?

- Would it be best to take time off work?

- Will I be in pain after the peel, and do I need to do something special when I sleep?

- Can I take painkillers if there will be pain?

- What can I do to prevent scarring?

- What else do I need to know about TCA peel aftercare?

Thanks in advance


Hello! It is great that you are asking so many questions. Taking your aftercare seriously will definitely help you avoid some of the more common side effects of TCA peels. Having that, although it is great to ask people on the web for their thought, you should of course check everything you read with your provider, always.

As long as you keep that in mind, here are some answers:

  • Definitely ask a friend or someone to drive you home after the peel, rather than driving yourself.
  • Yep, sleep in an elevated position. Make sure you sleep on your back and consider one of those U-shaped travel pillows to prevent your face from turning.
  • Stay out of the sun and use a sunscreen in accordance with your provider's instructions.
  • You do not have to take time off work, if you do not mind looking really embarrassing in public. Your skin will peel and you will look pretty nasty. For about a week.


Besides the instructions you'll definitely get, I think it's important to pay attention to little things that you may not be told as well. For instance, it really helps your healing/immune system if you make sure not to drink alcohol in the days leading up to your TCA peel. After, keeping really well hydrated will also speed your healing after the peel, along with eating a healthy and balanced diet. Personally, I like to drink fresh orange juice a couple of times a day after getting any chemical peel. Smoking also delays the healing process so don't do it. Besides, and you will be told this anyway, but don't use aspirin for the pain as it is a blood thinner and it will delay your healing time as well.


What you can expect is redness and peeling along with tightness on days 2 to 4. Look some pics up so you can see it for yourself and you will not be startled. Day 3 or 4 the real peeling will start. Keep your skin really well moisturized at this point and do not pick at it whatever you do. By about day 7 you will start looking normal again, and of course better. It does not really hurt just feels tight. And a bit uncomfortable. Yes, you need to keep your skin out of the sun of course and follow your provider's instructions and call them in case of scabbing or other questions.


Oh yeah, TCA peels can give you wonderful results but the downtime... it's just something you have to get through. I started peeling like crazy on day 3 and that went on till a week or more had passed. When it did get better though, my skin looked so very much better than it had before. Be aware mind you, recovery time varies from person to person and if you have any questions just ask the person who did your peel, I mean before the peel as well as after. The side effects are temporary anyway as long as you do not actively peel away the peeling skin. :)


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Hey, to answer your questions directly:

  • Exposing your skin to the sun directly after a chemical peel, even if you are using a sunblock, will work against the results of the peel and can even lead to severe reactions. Follow your provider's instructions in this case, but generally speaking, avoid doing anything other than walking from your car to your office/house/the mall, etc.
  • You may experience some mild discomfort after your peel but should not have actual pain after the peel is finished.
  • You won't need to take time off work unless you do work out in the open where your skin would constantly be exposed to sun, but can if you want to.
  • You need to increase your use of moisturizer in accordance with your physician's instructions. (Yeah, you do need a physician applying the TCA peel.)