The Art of TCA Peel: Essential Do’s and Don’ts for Optimal Results

Touching, picking or pulling at newly peeling skin following a chemical peel should be avoided as doing so could interfere with its natural healing process and result in scarring, says our Dermatologist in Mumbai.

Use a gentle, soap-free cleanser to wash your face and pat it dry after use – don’t rub! Also, staying out of direct sunlight until your skin stops flaking or peeling can help prevent sunburns from occurring.

1. Cool compresses

Cool compresses can help ease pain and swelling after receiving a chemical peel treatment. Soak a washcloth or some gauze in cold water before placing it over your face to provide comfort, and be sure to replace frequently for optimal results.

Avoid picking, rubbing or pulling at dry scaly skin that is naturally shedding as this will impede its natural healing process and may result in permanent hyperpigmentation.

If the discomfort persists, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium (Advil, Motrin IB) may provide relief. Ice packs may also help soothe redness and discomfort. Finally, sun exposure should be limited; when venturing outdoors use at least SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen to protect the new skin. Your dermatologist may provide more specific post-peel care instructions depending on what type of chemical peel was performed on you.

2. Moisturize

Maintain a moisturizing regimen. Hydrating will allow your skin to heal after receiving a chemical peel and help prevent flaking.

Moisturizers with emollients like petrolatum, lanolin and mineral oil will be effective at softening dead skin cells that shed after a TCA peel as they form new, healthy tissue underneath it.

Avoid products that increase sun sensitivity, acne medications such as Accutane and benzoyl peroxide, vitamin C products, bleaching agents or lighteners and any exfoliative products such as loofahs or coarse sponges which may irritate sensitive skin.

Do not pick or rub at dry, flaky peeling skin that has dried out as this could result in scarring. If it hurts, take an over-the-counter pain reliever instead.

3. Ice

As a last resort, ice can be beneficial in soothing skin after chemical peels. Be careful not to directly apply ice, however, as that could further irritate it and worsen healing time. Instead, an ice pack wrapped in a towel, loose clothing or wide-brimmed hat may provide sun protection during recovery period.

After receiving a deep chemical peel, you may experience pain, swelling, redness, throbbing and possibly eye swell-ups as a result of treatment. These symptoms typically subside within seven to ten days but redness of treated areas may remain for months – over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may provide useful relief against discomfort.

4. Over-the-counter pain relievers

If your skin is particularly irritated, over-the-counter pain relievers may help. Your dermatologist can provide guidance regarding which product would best address the effects of your sunburn.

Always avoid touching or picking at skin that’s peeling; this disrupts its natural process of shedding and may cause bleeding or scarring.

Try not to re-tweeze or wax treated areas for approximately one week after receiving treatments, including facial masks, face scrubs, permanent hair dyes or other methods of hair removal. In addition, avoid applying any cosmetic treatments like facial masks, scrubs or bleaches until the area has healed properly – such as facial masks or scrubs – facial masks are especially unadvisable due to potential irritation caused by sweaty exercises like strenuous yoga. Instead opt for light walking or gentle yoga classes.

5. Sunscreen

Chemical peels often make your skin more susceptible to sunburn, so using sunscreen daily is crucial in helping it heal while protecting it against further sun damage.

After taking a cool shower, apply store-bought pure aloe vera gel to any sunburnt areas to reduce pain and itching (you can place the tube in the fridge for added coolness), followed by applying hydrocortisone cream according to package directions if necessary, says our top dermatologist in Mumbai.


Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and apply as directed, applying as often as necessary. Also, avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade during peak sun hours (10 AM-4 PM) as much as possible and staying out of tanning beds and self-tanners until your burn heals; doing this will prevent irritation and itching as it continues its journey towards recovery.