My TCA Peel Timeline

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Q: How long do I expect the ugly peeling to take place after getting TCA peel treatment?

A: It really depends on (1) the percentage of the peeling agent (2) your skin's sensitivity to the chemicals (thin vs thick epidermal layers) and (3) the method by which your derma applied the TCA peeling agent.

Different strokes for different folks.  But on the average, the ugly peeling starts to be visible on Day 4 (my sister-in-law experiences large chunks of peeling skin as early as Day 2! See what I mean by different folks, diff'rent strokes?) and is completely gone after a week or a little over that.

Let's look at the factors affecting the length of time at which you'll start seeing the TCA peeling effect:

(1) percentage of the peeling agent.  the first time I ever had TCA, I was given 40%.  TCA peels are normally done at 20 to 30%. Now, does it mean that the higher the %age, the quicker it is for your peeling to commence? Yes, to some degree.  We'll have to consider factor 2.

(2) your skin's sensitivity to the chemicals. The thinner your skin is (meaning, the faster it naturally exfoliates or remove the dead skin cells), the better the chemicals will seep through the skin.  And so, if you have 20-30% TCA agent on your thin skin, you are most likely to peel "on-time".

(3) the method by which your derma applied the TCA peeling agent. In my experience, there is maximum peeling on Day 4 or 5 post-TCA treatment when there is no rinsing involved. Rinsing happens when the skin turns outrageously red from the solution and the derma has to subdue the chemical's effect by cooling the skin with iced water.  If your derma's very familiar with your skin already, you have higher chances of getting an optimum TCA application.  Another good method is to let the skin reach its frosted state when applying the solution (you may ask your derma about it). In my case, my derma patiently waits till the frosting of the skin comes up.  You don't ask the derma to put a thicker amount of solution (unless you want to increase the risk of burns).  You want her to go by her method until she reaches the frosted state.

Whew, that sure was long! And I haven't even discussed my timeline!

Day 1: sunburned look, may still mingle without being too conscious
Day 2: sunburned look, skin starts to become taut and a cling wrap-like thing starts to form on top of the face (but can still mingle without being too conscious)
Day 3: my skin really looks ugly. i feel like i've aged drastically. the cling-wrapped face is more obvious (start thinking about whether you want to mingle with others)
Day 4: peeling begins.

Day 4 post-TCA peel

Day 4: TCA peel photo under different lighting

Day 5: peeling on most parts of the face. peak of peeling.
Day 6: the old skin easily washes off when cleaning the face. peeling tones down and are only seen on the sides of the face (others will notice that you're still peeling). you'll appreciate the baby pink and smooth condition of your newly peeled skin against the peeling old skin.
Day 7: minimal peeling happening. okay to wear makeup (but i suggest you don't! enjoy the beauty of a baby pink skin! i actually can't stop looking at my face at this point, and sometimes on Day 6). go out and mingle! you've been living under the rock already!
Day 8: my skin is completely refreshed!

For those of you wondering if you can actually go out after getting the treatment, you actually can.  But be prepared to be oily (as you are supposed to wash the face 6-8 hours after TCA peel) and for pimple marks to show up.  I have posted a pic of me 4 hours post-TCA peel during the previous post, now here's a pic of my face immediately after the procedure.

Immediately after TCA Peel @ Doc Six Foronda's clinic

Ideal Time to Have TCA peels:
Since I have school/work on weekdays, I see my derma, Doc Six Foronda, on a Tuesday for TCA peels. I'm gonna be unpretty on Friday but I'll let them laugh at me until they see me back on the next work/school week! *evil laugh*.

I love TCA peel because it gives my skin so much benefits.  I really like it more than the Diamond peel since the effects are more long-term for every TCA session.


  1. Mae
  2. Anonymous
  3. Anonymous
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