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I'm a 25 years old white male, and recently Ive been reading about home TCA peels and decided to try it to reduce acne scar and improve my skin in general.
I first tried a 50% solution on a small patch on the side of my forehead (it was hidden behind my hair, so I thought, even if it goes wrong, who cares, nobody'll see it). To my surprise, it went fantastically well; first producing some brown, thick and dry skin, and then peeling away extremely easily on day 4, revealing perfect pinkish-white skin underneath (now indistinguishable from the surrounding skin, save for the fact that the texture is slightly prettier). I was so eager to try it on the rest of my face! My target areas: the nose and cheeks, going as close to the eyes as possible without running a risk of touching them. This time, I would be using a 30% solution, just to be on the safe side.
So 4 days ago, I asked my girlfriend to apply it for me, because I thought it would be easier to have someone else do it for me. Unfortunately, it seems like this was a mistake. At first, I didn't feel like she was applying enough pressure, so after a while I told her to press harder to make sure the acid would penetrate all the way into my skin (apparently this was difficult because my beard was breaking the cottony thingies we were using to apply it.. guess I'll use stronger ones next time). Anyway, after she was done, I went over to the mirror, and noticed that the areas where she applied more pressure had a lot of frosting, while the others hardly had any. However, I didn't dare go over those areas again because I was afraid of overlapping the other areas that had received enough. After all, I was feeling the burn all over, even where there was no apparent frosting, so I figured it would be alright.
Well, yesterday (3 days after applying the stuff), I started peeling, and so I started pulling at some patches very lightly, and removed a bunch of dead skin with those small metal pincer-like thingies that you use to pull out hair (the name escapes me right now, but I'm sure you know what I mean). But here's my problem now. Even though all the pieces came off easily, I now think that maybe it was too early, and I'm afraid I may have done some damage to myself. There are 2 spots in particular that are a lot redder than the surrounding skin (even compared to the skin that I peeled today on day 4) and I'm afraid it'll stay that way, and I don't know what to do..
I think my mistake was trying to crack it with my fingers, even though I was really gentle (I'd put 2 fingers on the skin and gently push in opposite directions). It's just redness, there was no bleeding, and I've protected it from the sun very well with generous applications of sunblock. But I was really shocked, because even when I used the 50% solution on my forehead, it faded to perfect white within less than a week..
Am I worried over nothing? Or is this gonna leave a mark? Can it be corrected by doing another peel, provided I wait more patiently and let it peel on its own?
I'm planning another peel during my winter break (about 6 weeks after the one I just did). Next time, I'll apply it by myself and make sure I put it more evenly everywhere. And I'll definitely wait for it to peel on its own, even if it looks like it's ready after just a few days.
Boy, I know that everything I read, over and over, says do not pick do not pick. It can definitely scar. Especially so soon out. However, although it may take weeks or even months for the spots to go away, they may not be permanent. I think it depends on how bad the action was, as well as your skin tone. Darker skin may scar easier than lighter skin. (I am no authority here...)
You used a 50% tca then? That's really strong. Even most doctors don't use that. What they have found to be safer is to use a 35% tca, with a Jessner layer or two under it. That is the safer equivalent to a 50% tca. That's what most doctors use if they are shooting for 50% tca. Scarring from those high concentrations is a big risk, even without picking.
How are those spots now? I would keep something hydrating and protective on them at all times. Either something like emu oil, neosporin, or a barrier type like vaseline or Eucerin (Eucerin has a clearish "diaper" formula that works great, but I can't think of the name right now.) Of course over this stuff wear sunblock and also a hat. The sun hitting your fresh new skin can cause scarring itself, let alone on those extra vulnerable spots.
I think time is your friend here, and before you do another peel do make sure your skin is totally healed. Six weeks should do it I would think, but if those spots look "vulnerable" in any way at that point, don't do it yet.
JMO on this, and if anybody reads and disagrees with my advice, please do speak up! I'm learning myself here...
Totally agree with Annie. Use a high SPF physical sunscreen every day for the next several months, along with a hat if you're in the direct sun light. Don't use any more chemicals for at least 6-8 weeks. You can cause some permanent damage by pulling flaking skin off before the skin has properly formed underneath. Good luck.
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