I'm new to TCA peels, but I''ve built up to using 60 percent glycolic and 25 percent salicylic peels off and on for a few years, and my HG face/body mosturizer is AmLactin, a drugstore moisturizer that's 12 percent lactic acid. (It used to be a prescription item.)
Still, I have fairly sensitive skin, so I didn't want to start too high with a new product that penetrates not just in the epidermis but the dermis.
I bought the 18 percent for some melasma on my temples and a couple of faint age spots on my face and not so faint ones on my hands and legs. For me, the 18 percent on my legs (dabbed on with a Q-Tip) was a yawn. Nothing. A bit of tingling, and I did two layers and a few days later repeated it. Clearly, I need something stronger there.
My hands fared a little better. I definitely got frosting with two layers, and the age spots got a little darker and I was hopeful that would cause a peel, but within a few days all but one spot had lightened again.
The one spot that stayed dark actually developed the faintest of scabs: it didn't look like a scab, but it felt like a scab. That age spot was a seborrheic keratosis--a stuck-on age spot. On that one, I swabbed three layers of acid because I really wanted it gone.
Still, several days later it hadn't peeled, and didn't look like it was going to. Impatient, I put another double layer of acid on that spot and the others on my hands, and got more frosting. A few hours after washing it off (I didn't bother with neutralizing; I just washed with the fabulous green-tea soap and rinsed a zillion times) my hands looked shiny, the next day the skin got a little red and hard and the stuck-on one peeled off. Halleluyah!
On my face, I've only treated my problem areas: the melasma at the temples, the age spots, and the top of my nose, where the pores and one small ancient acne indent are visible (at least to me). After my hands had been so slow to peel, I right away went for two coats of acid and waited for the frosting. My temples got shiny and tight right after I used the acid, and, surprisingly, peeled the next day.
The age spots got a little darker but didn't really peel. They just got flaky-looking. I waited five days. They were still a little flaky, but mostly back to normal. Grrrrr. So, I took a Q-tip and dabbed the 18-percent solution on the age spots once again. I put on a second coat after 5 minutes, and let that coat marinate for another 5. It burned, of course, but in this case I see pain as a "No pain, no gain" kind of thing. Besides, for me it wasn't that bad.
I waited until the skin was really white in the magnifying mirror, kinda like a horror movie right before things get REALLY disgusting or a dermatology text on skin diseases you so don't want to have. I was tired of messing around with it; TCA is so different from the instant gratification of glycolic/lactic/and salicylic acids.
Next day: redder and a little crusty feeling. Peeled on the third and fourth days.
Age spots are lighter but by no means gone. Since I didn't use the stuff on my whole face, I can't comment on the overall quality of the skin, etc.
The stuff clearly works, and there's always a learning curve in using a new product. Now I know that I need to keep this stuff on longer for it to work, or maybe user a stronger solution. I'll update as I learn more.
UPDATE: Tried the 18 percent again, just on my hands. Couldn't afford the down-time for my face. Even a heavier application this time. More than frosting--it was more like frothing in the spots I really hit, like curdled milk. I wouldn't take that chance on my face, but I wanted to see if more would be more effective. Harder scabs formed in those spots the next day. Those peeled in 4-5 days in the shower, but then rescabbed--though a far lighter scab.
Two weeks since the peel, it's pretty much done except for some faint pinkness in the spots I hit hard. And again, I've noticed improvement, but again, not as dramatic as I had hoped. That said, even when the dermatologist burns stuff off, it's not a miracle, and it's not overnight--so why should this be? If these results occurred overnight, it would be a small miracle, but two weeks for a, say, 20 percent improvement is just a very good thing.
I initially tried the 12.5 percent TCA peel. I did my spot check, and I got no peeling from that area, so I knew that when I treated my face, I needed to leave it on for the full 8 mins. I have a habit of overdoing whatever it is that I am doing, so I went light on myself for the first time, and only did one layer, and left it on for 8 mins. I had a little bit of flaking, so the next time I double layered it. Let me say that I have been using Retin A micro for at least 6 months (that is why I jumped into 12.5 percent first). I also wanted to explain the reason I got this peel. I have a few freckles to get rid of, and one specific acne/cyst scar on my cheek that I just couldn't deal with any longer. Also, after reading all of the other reviews about how horrible you look, I decided to treat my face in sections so as not to look horrific. I treated my cheek first, and that is where I had the min. peeling. Next I did my forehead with a double coat, and it peeled a ton, but no thick sheets. I went back to my cheek and redid it (about a week later) with 2 coats this time (like the directions state you can safely do). This time it got this creepy dry look to it and of course, I started picking at it. My picking posponed the healing I am sure by a few days, but after a week, it was looking back to normal. I believe that the scar has become less visiable, but I am definitly going to have to treat it again. I also redid my forehead, and this time I guess I put it on thicker, so it peeled off more in sheets like my cheek, and I actully peeled off the freckles! They are still there a little, but much lighter. It was the second time I treated each area, that the freckles got dark and peeled. It seemed like if the skin doesn't turn dark where the freckle is, they do not peel off.
If you are like me, and can't hide out for a week, I suggest treating your face in sections. Do your forehead by itself, and as it is almost done peeling, do a cheek or your chin, or something along those lines. I did it this way, and although the parts I was treating looked gross, I put on a ton of makeup (the instructions says not to, but lets be reasonable here), and nobody seemed to notice a thing or look at me strange or even ask. This is a tolerable way to get the job done, but still leave the house. It does drag out the whole thing (I have been messing with this stuff for weeks now. I have gotten braver, and did my whole jawline and up onto my face about an inch as one section), but I think it is worth it. One other thing, picking at the skin REALLY delays the healing process. I did one of my cheeks, picked at the skin, did my other cheek several days later, did not pick at it, and cheek number 2 was done and looked good, and cheek number one still had some pink spots on it. Try not to pick!
So, if you already have very nice skin, or if you are not having issues with scaring, or uneven pigment, this is not worth your time. I need to get rid of that "hole" on my face as I like to call it, so while I was at it, I figured I would go for it, and treat any and all freckles I could come up with (even if they were barley there), but besides helping with those 2 issues, I can see little other change in my skin (I am also in my 20's, so that could be why). I don't think it helped with the few fine lines I have, but being so young, it is proably hard to say for sure. I will repurchase if I find myself with freckles that need to be removed, or in the future when I need to brighten my skin.
Bottom line here is this:
If you have pigment issues, scaring, and possibly wrinkles, this is a great product. If you are 20 with beautiful skin, you are just wasting time and money because it is doubtful you will see any difference once you are finished hiding inside for a week!
Update 12/2/08: I am finally finshed treating my face in sections, and it looks great! Even better than I expected. It seems as though this product removes even hints of freckles that are kinda there, but not too terribly noticeable, and in the end, your skin is clearer and more even than you imagined it would end up being. I treated the sides of my face where I have kind of neglected sunscreen in the past, and it seemed to get a ton of discoloration off. There were small freckle sized dark spots all over the place. I realized I had some freckles over there, but not that many (could be because the sides of your face are a bit hard to get a good look at w/o a couple of mirrors.) Basically, as my skin was peeling off, the skin that was coming off had the small dark spots on it which were I assume were freckles that I didn't even realize were there.
I am very pleased with how bright and fresh it looks. I really think this brightens up your skin a ton and I this is def. in my top 5 favorite products, and that is why I have gone so crazy reviewing it. I want everyone that is considering trying it to go for it..totally worth the time and effort!
Since I've been reading all of your reviews for years, I figured it was about time I contribute because I greatly appreciate all of the wonderful information and opinions on MUA!
I bought my first products from MUAC almost 14 years ago and they have always had excellent customer service, fast shipping and very reasonably priced, quality items. So with their great reputation and all of the awesome reviews on here, I decided to take the plunge and try the 12.5% TCA peel. I have some large pores and lines that have been bugging me for some time and refuse to plop down $500-$1000 for an injectable toxin (aka Botox) that only lasts 3-4 months...that's just not a good investment IMO. I just did the peel tonight so I will update as the days pass.
PATCH TEST: Last night I did the patch test and boy am I glad I did!!! Not because the peel was uncomfortable, but because the horrid Neosporin caused itchy, red welts on the area I tested and I don't even have particularly sensitive skin. I do not recommend using this crap for this very reason. Anyway, I did a fairly large area along my jawline and felt minimal stinging at first which then subsided. The 5 mins went quickly, then I neutralized and applied the aforementioned horrid ointment (which caused a reaction) but after I washed it off with the lovely green tea soap provided with the peel and moisturized with an organic moisturizer, it was fine. No frosting, slight redness, no biggie.
DAY 1: Since the patch test went well (barring the Neosporin incident) I did my entire face with the first layer. Minimal burning, no redness or frosting, so after 5 mins I applied a 2nd layer but only on my trouble spots. Definitely more burning, redness and some lovely frosting on the areas of the 2nd layer. I neutralized it all after another 4-5 mins, which burned even more and then washed my face with the green tea soap. Since the Neosporin was now the devil...I used a few products that I highly recommend. On my slightly damp face I applied Burt's Bees Apricot Baby Oil and then Burt's Bees Diaper Ointment. I know you're probably laughing or shaking your head, but check out the all natural ingredients online. Things like zinc, vitamin E, almond oil and many more which are known for their natural antibacterial, hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, if it's good enough for the sensitive skin on a newborn's butt...LOL. Well despite being a little greasy and having a white cast to my face for about 10 mins, my face feels great and smells really good too! It's the weekend so it doesn't much matter atm, but I'll have to modify the application come Monday morning so I don't frighten the patients. Haha. I'll continue to update my results as the days pass and anticipate some wonderful results!
UPDATE: Still Day 1 a few hours post peel. My face got very red and hot and quite uncomfortable, so I rewashed it with the green tea soap and applied just the Burt's Bees Apricot Baby Oil and MUAC's Aloe Jelly w/Lavender. It feels much more comfortable and is no longer hot and swollen. I think the ointment formed a seal over my skin so it couldn't breathe properly and therefore, caused it to retain heat. I will discontinue using it because the combo of the oil and aloe jelly is perfect and my skin is comfortably soft and not at all greasy, which will be much better come Monday when I have to go to work. I will just add a sunscreen with SPF 30.
DAY 2 UPDATE: My face is pink like I have a sunburn, shiny and taut but no peeling yet. The oil/aloe jelly combo is working great to keep it soft, comfortable and not greasy.
DAY 3 UPDATE: First day at work since doing the peel. I used the oil/aloe jelly, KS Protect SPF 30 and BE mineral foundation. My face looked "crunchy" and ready to peel. By the evening it had already started to peel and after washing it, was actively peeling. I did "nudge" the peeling process along and was please that only the layer of top skin was coming off in thin sheets with healthy skin underneath.
DAY 4 UPDATE: I could make a snake jealous! LOL Aggressively peeling...not pretty, but not too bad...thank goodness it's my day off! I can't be sure, but I'm thinking most of the substantial peeling will be done tomorrow or the next day which is better than 10 days.
I am rating the 12.5% TCA peel. I was extremely excited to try this peel, and based on reading the reviews here, was anxious about scheduling the down time due to all of the peeling.
I finally was able to work out some time off from work, and followed the instructions exactly. I did my patch test and had no reaction, so I proceeded with a 2-layer peel the following day. The 1st layer went on without much stinging. After waiting 5 minutes, I added the 2nd layer. The stinging was greater, but bearable (especially with a hair dryer set on cool pointed at my face). I did experience some frosting on my chin, around my nose, and on certain parts of my cheeks, but no where else. After 5 minutes, I applied the mixture of baking soda/water to neutralize the acid. OH MY - that stung worse than anything else. I finally washed it all off with the green tea soap included with the kit. My face was quite red afterward. In fact, I think I scared one of the neighborhood kids when he came by to play with my kids. The look on his face was priceless.
Anyway, I would say the first 3 days are the most uncomfortable. But afterwards, any brown skin and peeling is easily managed with a layer of Aquaphor on your face. I went out in public (to run errands and such) virtually every day of my peel. Did I look pretty? Nope. But, I didn't look like a monster, either. If I went outside, I used a generous layer of suncreen (Lancome's new SPF20 with Mexoryl), placed some Aquaphor on the dryer patches, dabbed concealer under my eyes, and also on some of the brown patches, and I looked "OK". (I know - no makeup - but IMO a touch of concealer after layering all of the other products isn't going to hurt anything).
I finally completed all of my peeling in about 7 days - and that includes the little dry peelies. The verdict: Is my skin softer? Yes. Did my sun damage fade? Perhaps a bit. But, I think seeing brown skin (that turned brown from the TCA, not from sun damage) peel off and reveal pink skin underneath, might have given me the impression that it was sun damage peeling off, not TCA brown skin peeling off, if that makes sense. Perhaps I had bigger expectations, especially after scheduling a week of down time, but I had hoped for a bit more improvement. For that reason, I won't be repurchasing the 12.5% TCA peel. However if I were to do this again (hindsight is always 20/20, as you never know how your skin will react) I would have bought either the 15% or 18% peel to start with instead.
If I hadn't tried it I wouldn't believe it.
This is peel is awesome! I did one peel 3 weeks ago and a new one today. The first face peel was
one layer of 12.5%. Today I did two layers and my neck.
My skin has never looked better in my life! The results were beyond any hope I had. I went out a few days ago, checked the mirror - my "makeup" looked good. After I left I suddenly realized that I had never put any makeup on. My skin looked THAT good!
My skin is smooth, soft and even. I also used it on my hands (15%), they look 10 years younger! Lip lines reduced 25%. Very happy.
Can't wait to see the results after this peel is done! GREAT product!
I am in LOVE with my face now, LOL. Seriously, the TCA 12.5% kit did wonders for acne scars I had since I was a teen and felt insecure about them. I feel more beautiful and secure to go without makeup now. I blogged my chemical peel experience so I know what to expect again (I am doing a few more peel for touch-ups) and as a resource for those who are curious in trying the peel. I am thinking of buying my mom a kit for Christmas. The green tea soap is awesome and helped shed the skin fast. I used Neosporin for the first two days, Cetaphil the third day and EVIAN spray all the time for dryness. I do wish that there was a non-oily Neosporin as I had a few small pimples afterwards, but still I can manage them. I used two layers my first time. I peeled by days 3-7 and it was super flakey then got into small flakeys with my forehead peeling last. Day 3 I was able to go out and again after day 6. Results may vary, but I do recommend this product for hyperpigmentation, acne scars and dull skin. TIP: Use EVIAN spray everyday and you will heal & peel faster, also drink lot of water, and eat lots of water-rich foods with high vitamin C. Give yourself at least 5-7 days of downtime and most important STAY OUT OF THE SUN!! Use a high SPF 30-50+ for sensitive skin and you MUST continue to use sunscreen everyday so you do not cause more hyperpigmentation in the future. GOOD LUCK and GOD BLESS!!
Yesterday was Day 5. The peeling phase, thusfar, has been most dominant at Days 4&5. Using the Aquaphor (mineral oilointment w/vitamins), as recommended by my Derm doc, has been vital. It not only soothes and hydrates the skin, it is critical to softening/melting away the peeling skin which is far more gentle than trying to slough it off with a nubby washcloth as per the instructions that came with it---very harsh if you already have sensitive skin that has been made far more sensitive with peel. Results so far are really good. I can't wait to complete the process and see final results. The results so far is I see about a 25% improvement. I had very sun damaged skin, so I think that is why I am seeing such good results. I see a definite improvement in skin tone and texture. The skin coming through from underneath is fresh, soft, far less pigmented, and wrinkles very definitely softened with several fine lines now gone. I tend to have dry skin at times, and I can not imagine doing the peel and not simultaneously using the Aquaphor as well as the Curel ad in the Natural Healing Lotion, both highly recommended by my Derm doc for post treatment healing and moisturizing. Both significantly helped with managing peelies. On Days 4&5, if I was working it would have been very hard for me to go to work looking like I did. The peeling part is very similar to peeling after a bad sunburn, though there was no pain, redness, swelling, or pink skin underneath, just regular fleshtoned healthy fresh skin. Perhaps with a stronger solution peel those things would occur, but did not with the 8% level, which again, I layered twice and each layer boost the process 25%. I also applied the 12.5%in some areas where I had some fairly substantial sun pigmentation spots--in those areas I only did one layer since it was a stronger solution--I could definitely feel more sting w/the 12.5% and my skin reacted with greater irritation in those areas. Those spots were substantially lightened. However, for all over application, because I have sensitive skin, I think I would wait to use the 12.5% level all over face until I have acclimated skin more using the 8%, layered, a few times. Gals with less sensitive skin would likely be fine with starting with the 12.5% level, especially if you are medium or darker complected and/or oily skin as it tends to be less sensitive to sun/chemicals, etc. However, note there are warnings for darker complected folks in that if you don't accomplish a very even handed application you could end up with multi tone calico-like results so the darker you are the more you might want to stick w/milder solution til you get the feel for it and see how your skin reacts ----or just stay with the lactic acid or glycolic acid peels.
Review of MUAC's 18% TCA peel. I ordered the 1/2 oz. kit for close to 30$. Compared to 175$ per treatment at the derms office this is a bargain because you can get up to 10 peels out of the kit. Just to give some background I've been to a dermatologist and actually had an appointment scheduled to to a TCA peel there, but for some reason I did not go through with it. It just didn't feel right. Anyway, I'm doing the peel for mild to moderate ice pick acne scarring on both cheeks that I have had since I was a teenager. I have also done TCA cross on several of my icepick scars about 6 months ago and got great results. This was my first time doing a chemical peel at home, I chose to do 2 layers because I knew that my skin could handle it. I have been prepping with .1% retinol for almost a year along with glycolic peels and enzyme peels weekly. These never really produced any results on my skin. I just did the peel about an hour ago. I cleansed with my origins cleanser instead of the one that came with my kit. I used 18% and did 2 layers. The first layer I applied very sparingly with a cotton pad because I was so afraid of what might happen. Mild stinging for about a minute. I was just red and shiny. At that point I wished i had used a little more.Second layer I applied liberally and that burned very badly. I stood in front of a fan and talked to my husband about what "frosting" is lol. I had mild frosting on both cheeks in small areas but not bright white. I left it on for the few five minutes for a total of 10 minutes all together. I neutralized with a washcloth dipped in my baking soda/ water mixture. Washed with the cleanser that came in the kit. Not sure why I switched:) So far so good. I'm red and pretty leathery. No more pain. I took a lot of pictures will update in a day or two with peeling process.
Hi, It's day two, well technically it's been 24 hrs. I did the peel yesterday at around 7pm, it's 7:20pm now. Nothing to report. Skin is a little tight, not dry. All I did was wash my face with my Origins Checks and Balances Cleanser. I did put on Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture with SPF 30 and then added a regular baby SPF 50 sunblock when I went outside to play with my kids. I look pretty much the same except I look like I have a bit of a sun tan. I suspect it will be darker tomorrow indicating the skin is getting ready to peel. I will update daily for 10 days and then post all my pictures.
Hi so it's actually day 7 now but I'm going to sum up what happened in between as well as upload the pictures.
Day 2 like 48 hrs. Dry and tight. Still looked relatively normal.
Day 3 when I make an expression especially wrinkle my nose or open my mouth too wide you can see the skin beginning to crack. Still no peeling. Just turning a light brown. I made sure to slather on spf 50 sunscreen when I went to the store.
Day 4 Peeling started. Around my mouth mainly. It was my mother in laws birthday so we went out all day. My husband said I looked like I was peeling from a mild sunburn. Nothing that was hideously frightening. lol
Day 5 still peeling my cheeks and around my nose are starting to peel. After I wash in the morning, I gently massage on neosporin and it helps the dead skin to come off. Also I found out that neosporin can clog your pores so that explains the pimple I got on my jawline.
Day 6 switch to polysporin :) most of the peeling is gone just mild around my hairline. It's funny because a lot of the reviews I have read on this site and others say that their skin peels off in sheets and also that the new skin underneath is like fresh and pink. Neither of those things happened to me and I used a pretty high strength. I guess everyone's different. My skin peeled more in patches and the skin underneath, although it was brighter, it was definitely not pink.
Day 7 Done peeling. Still when I wash my face, I can massage off little particles here and there but 99% I'm done. I feel like I got a 20% improvement. Which is amazing with one application. The pics will be on my page if you want to see them.
I plan to do another peel in another week. I will move up to 21% with 2 layers. Although I do see a lot of improvement, I would really like to see more. Of course. But I think that my expectations are very realistic and more improvement is definitely possible with more treatments. After the one next week I will do one more in November, then hold off until February or March.
Overall, this is a great product, it gave me great results, and I would 100% recommend it to anyone with pigment or scarring issues!!
Ok Im having trouble with the pictures... and it's late... but I promise I will upload them soon... when I have more time... and I'm not sleepy :)
Let me start off by giving you some skin history. I have always had great skin that was only problematic once a month. That all changed after my husband, my children and myself moved to germany. I have no idea what happened. Maybe it was the stress, maybe it was the air, maybe it was lack of air conditioning in the summer, but my face freaked out! Within weeks of moving there, my perfect skin was the worst of my life. I didn't know what to do with it. It was sensitive to products designed for acne, but anything else seemed to clog my pores even more. After almost a year I found muac. I bought the 12.5 % TCA peel, but couldn't bring myself to use it. After having it for months and doing more research i decided to buy the 25% mandelic acid and 40% lactic acid. My skin is very fair, extremely ruddy, horrible hyperpigmentation, minor ice pick scars on the tops of cheeks, and extreme blackheads all over nose with a slight smattering over the rest of my face. I started with the lactic acid. It is awesome. Then i moved on the alternating the lactic and mandelic acids for about 3 weeks to a month before I finally decided to take the dive and do the TCA.
I washed with neutrogena naturals fresh cleansing and makeup remover and used the ph prep step. I then prepared my neutralizer and set my timer. I took a q-tip and applied the 12.5% tca all over my face. The burn was awful. My face is sensitive and the lactic acid feels like sharp bug legs crawling all over my face. This was worse. I sat in front of my fan set to high, gritted my teeth and begged my husband to talk to me to try and help me get through as many minutes as i could stand. I lasted five minutes before i nuetralized. I didn't know this was going to burn so much. After neutralizing i rinsed my face with cool water and patted it dry. I then applied embryolisse lait creme concentre and went to sleep. My face was pink and slightly tender.
I looked great. My skin was taught but not too dry, and I could see a more evenness, if thats a word.Used the same wash and moisturizer as the first day and they worked just fine.
I look like leatherface. Horrible. Plus my skin is breaking out in a few places. Mostly there are just a few whiteheads peeking out, but i also have to deep painful pimples side by side on the top of my cheek.
Still slightly breaking out with whiteheads, but my two painful pimples dried up all on their own and now i just have a very thick patch of red dry skin there. My skin is peeling soooo badly. I look horrible. My skin is extremely taught and dry, but i can see my new skin peeking out and it looks really great.
Same as day four.
Most of my peeling has subsided, everything but my forehead, which doesnt look that bad. Im hoping my face will be done peeling because this weekend is supposed to actually be nice in germany.
Overall, I am very happy I used this peel. The results from the lactc and mandelic acid were already pretty great, this is just awesome. I can't wait until I can do another. I plan to maintain this peel with my other peels and I will update after all my peeling is finished.
This peel was gentle, worked well and a wonderful experience. I used 3 layers of 8% and my skin started peeling the next day. It wasn't so horrible I had to hide and my skin looked great after. The 8% is great peel if you want the effects of a heavier TCA, are willing to do biweekly or monthly in a series and don't want a ton of lost paychecks. MUAC TCA isn't just TCA tho so be aware if you are sensitive to glycolic or lactic acid.