Did you know?! The scoop on at home chemical peels
By: Reed Walton
The average cost of a Trichloreacetic Acid (TCA) chemical peel–plus the various medical spa trappings that accompany it–is $500!
Okay, I’m certainly no Britney Spears (well, that’s a crappy example) but I can’t just traipse into spa for lipo-dissolve injections, or to the plastic surgeon’s for a tummy tuck whenever I damn well please. Them things are expensive, y’all!
I’d like to let readers in on a little secret that I’ve been reluctant to share. Not for selfish reasons, mind you, but for safety reasons. Yes, there are home chemical peels–with TCA concentrations from 8 percent (“lunchtime peel”) to 30 percent (the big guns).
I’ve been using a 15 percent TCA peel from Makeup Artists’ Choice for about a month now–two applications so far. And I’ve been really pleased with the results. I had some large pores, facial scarring and slight discoloration on my face; I’ve always had acne-prone and oily skin. I’m halfway through the actual “peeling” process from the second application, and already my skin tone is much more even, I suffer fewer breakouts, and the scarring from messing with my face as a teenager is SERIOUSLY diminished. Since the TCA peel penetrates the epidermis AND dermis, I’m starting to see the cute little freckles that I thought I’d lost as a kid.
Safety concerns are paramount, however, if you want to avoid damaging your skin further instead of making it nicer.
- If you are currently seeing a dermatologist you must, I repeat, must ask them if you should be using a peel. Even the lightest serums can have negative consequences if used with other skin care products or pharmaceuticals. This applies to over-the-counter items too. It’s always a good idea to consult a professional before you introduce something new to your routine.
- You can burn your skin by using too high a concentration, especially if you haven’t used acid peels before.
- The “peel” itself is like getting a sunburn–the skin gets tight and then flakes off, revealing nicer, newer skin below. Peeling makes you much more susceptible to UV damage, so wear sunscreen absolutely ALL THE TIME–at least SPF 30, broad-spectrum protection. I dig Dr. Jeffrey Dover’s Sun Effects Broad Spectrum SPF 30.
- Start with a glycolic or lactic acid peel if you’ve never ever used chemical exfoliants before. Even the 8 percent TCA can be too strong for sensitive skin.
- You have GOT to keep the serum away from your eyes. The Makeup Artists’ Choice home peels come with instructions on how to treat crow’s feet, but if you get this in your eyes it can do permanent damage.
If you DO decide to start experimenting with home peels, at least you can do it on the cheap. A bottle with about 10-12 peels will set you back only about $30. According to the recommended use directions, that’s a four-year supply!
For the Bargain Basement Queen, that sure beats the hell out of $500 a peel!