Disadvantages and Side Effects
TCA chemical peels are considered to be safe treatments and typically do not cause any damage to the skin. However, as with any skin care solution, some side effects are involved and you should be aware of these possible risks before deciding to use this application.
Recovery Time: Since you will not be able to use any make-up during the peeling process, which lasts about a week, many people do not feel comfortable being out in public. So, you will need to plan on about 5-7 days of down time following this procedure. You must pay proper attention to TCA peel aftercare.
Peeling: A couple of days after the treatment, your skin will begin to darken and become very leathery. This is a sign that the peeling process is about to begin. The skin will appear cracked and begin to flake off. This peeling will last about one week, and no make-up should be used during this time to reduce the chance of infection.
Pain: Although you should not experience any serious pain, mild discomfort or irritation may occur which can be treated with OTC main medications.
Swelling: Most people will notice some mild to moderate swelling that should subside in a couple of days.
Redness: Since the skin has been mildly traumatized and new layers are freshly exposed, you will likely look like you have severe sunburn. As time passes, this color will fade, with normal skin tones returning within 2-8 weeks following the treatment.
Sensitivity to Sunlight: Your skin will be especially sensitive to sunlight for several weeks - even months - and you will need to wear sun protection every time you venture outdoors.
Cold Sores: If you are prone to herpes cold sores you may need to use a prescription medication to prevent or treat new breakouts.
Discoloration: As your skin recovers from this procedure, there may be patches of discoloration on the treated areas that can last up to 6 months, depending on your skin's reaction to the chemicals, and the strength of the solution used. In very rare cases, discoloration may be permanent. Pigment changes are more common in darker skinned individuals.
Scarring: This is very rare and usually associated with misapplication of the product. It is very important that you find someone who is trained and experienced with TCA peels. It is not recommended that you use OTC products as there is a risk of blisters, scarring, or other serious damage.
Multiple Treatments: Although you will notice improvement after the first treatment, several reapplications are usually required. Peels can be repeated every 3-6 months, depending on the condition of your skin and the strength of solution being used. Some people find that results last for up to 9 months while others need reapplication after only 3 months. In some cases, your skin care professional may recommend using a glycolic or lactic acid peel in between TCA treatments to help the effects last longer.
Additional Note: If you are using Accutane, or have used Accutane in the last 12 months, then you should speak with your doctor before having a TCA peel.