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TCA Peel

For me long weekends are a good time to hide out, catch up on sleep, binge watch television series I have heard of but not had the time for, and do some beauty treatments. Over this past weekend I gave myself a TCA peel. ** Disclaimer I am not a medical practitioner or aesthetician, just a vain girl**

The TCA peel is in my opinion very similar to a Vi Peel. I have done these peels several times a year for about four years now and only messed up once when I didn't follow instructions. When done properly its a great way to get the same results at a fraction of the cost. 

I use the Skin Obsession 25% peel, which I do not recommend for a first timer, it's about $25 a bottle through amazon - one bottle will give four peels. The process is pretty simple: 
1. Start with a clean face 
2. Take the solution and moisten a cotton pad 
3. Rub the moistened cotton pad evenly over the face (or peel area) 
4. Wait a few minutes, it will burn! 
5. When the skin has cooled off repeat the peel for the 2nd layer - this will burn more than the first layer 
6. Continue to a 3rd layer if brave enough 
7. When done with the desired number of layers ( no more than 4!) check skin in the mirror, it should either be frosted (turning white) or bright red. Once an area has frosted do not add any more layers. If there are any areas that are not even with the reaction of the face go over those areas only until the face is even. Once the peel is complete the skin will be very red and slightly swollen - like a very bad sunburn. 

On thing I want to talk about it what the peel feels like. Although much more affordable and convenient the TCA peel has one major disadvantage - it is very painful. 
Layer 1 - a strong sting / light burning sensation. Feels ok after a few minutes, fanning helps 
Layer 2 - a more intense burn 
Layer 3 - very intense burn, it's very hard to start layer 3 and finish once you know what it feels like. Layer 3 usually causes me to yell at myself in the mirror and tear up. At this point even the softest Tshirt will feel like rubbing your face with sandpaper. It takes about an hour to not feel miserable.  
Layer 4 - for the bravest of souls. I cannot do layer 4 without full on crying and my hands shaking. I've never been in a fire but I imagine this is what your face covered in flames feels like. This is really too intense to be doing at home. If you have done them before and feel you must go to level 4 know that it will hurt so bad you will have trouble sleeping without chemical assistance. Also, you really should stay at home and out of the sun for at least 5 days with this one.

So more layers means a deeper peel. More layers also mean a longer recovery time. I prefer 2 layer peels done quarterly vs a deeper peel, I learned this from experience ; deep peels are for ladies who lunch who can hideout for a week or more. For this go around I did two layers than a 3rd on my cheeks because they weren't turning red. I stopped when my face was an even shade of red. Most people wash the peel off with water after a few minutes. I rubbed a cool baby oil gel on my face instead - this served to sooth and keep my face moist. 

I did my peel in the AM and by bedtime most of the redness had calmed down, see: 

On Day 2 and 3 I stayed inside. My big mistake this go around was not drinking enough water and thus I spent day 3 nauseous, tired and with a headache - basically dehydrated. Act like you would if you had the worse sunburn of your life - drink lots of water and moisturizer the face often. 

On day 2 and 3 I did a gel mask - one of those pre packaged clothes that feel like they're covered in slime. This keep my face moisturized 

Day 2, 3 and 4 my face was very itchy. It was very hard not to scratch - this causes premature peeling and scars - don't do it! By the night of day 3 I was  peeling around the mouth. Before the skin peels it tightens up and wrinkles, which sucks because you spend 5 days post peel looking older than when you started. Also, I am guilty of picking the lose flakes of skin off, which is a. bad to do and b. grosses out those around me.

This is day 4 with bare mineral foundation: 

It's hard to get the tightness in a picture, trust me, the skin around my eyes and more forehead are tight. I anticipate the peeling to be done by this weekend and then I'll resume my normal skin care. Basically the application process is 10x more miserable than the Vi, results and downtime is the same if you do 3 layers ( I did two here if you are comparing to my vi peel post). So basically it comes down to how much not self inflicting pain is worth.
But seriously, I cannot emphasize enough how my experience is not for 1st timers. If you're curious I really recommend getting a TCA peel professionally the first time so they can guage your skin's reaction. If that just absolutely is not fiscally possible then start off with a low concentration (10% or 12.5%) and just do one layer, you can always do more but once you start a layer you have to finish if you want to peel evenly, this is how I know how terrible the 4th layer is. Don't be the girl crying on the floor in her bathroom, it's not pretty.


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