TCA 50% Chemical peel - before and after pictures

My arms have finished peeling after the 50% buffered TCA chemical peel.  Here are all the pictures.

I applied 50% TCA chemical peel solution to my arms 15 days ago, and here's a BEFORE picture:

Here's a picture just after applying the solution; you can see the redness and the frosting:

...and here's day 3.  The redness has turned brown and leathery.

And here's day 8 of the same arm. 

Here's day 10:

Now, here are before and after pictures, so you can compare:



The texture is noticeably improved, and the freckles are a tiny bit lighter, but overall, there's not much change in the freckles on this arm.  I have to remember that to achieve noticeable improvements, I must do medium peels, and light peels have to be done in a series to achieve the results of a medium peel.  Perhaps if I did two more of these peels on my arms, the freckles will lighten to a noticeable degree.  Patience...


  1. I would like to get your opinion, I recently purchased the Jessners Peel Kit from Skin Obesession for my arms. I suffered from horrible Keratosis Pilaris and it left me with brown spots. Do you think that this peel will be suitable for my arms or would you reccomend a different type of peel?

  2. I have read about chemical peels being used by dermatologists for KP, and the peels have reduced or eliminated the scars and brown spots. Without knowing the exact percentage of each agent in that peel kit and without knowing how your skin will react, I can't say for sure if this is the best peel. Jessner's is a good medium peel, so it should work to reduce the brown spots--theoretically. As you probably know though, KP comes back if you are not diligent about maintenance, so if you do this peel, or a series of peels with this kit, you need to make sure you keep up with your treatment plan; if discontinued, the skin begins reforming around hair follicles, so loyal maintenance is the best plan after any peel. Please let me know how it works for you, and take pictures before so you can compare--it's hard to remember exactly how the spots looks once you go through a peel.

  3. How did you apply, Gabi? Seems the usual two q-tips would take forever.

  4. Barbara, I used my fingertips this time (gloved, of course), all four of them. The really odd thing I learned about this peel is that I apply more with the hand I write with than the other hand, so I got a much deeper peel on that one arm. I guess I need to be careful about that with my face!

  5. Thank you so much Gabi. I am preparing to do arms and this will be helpful. :)

  6. Gabi - I will be needing additional info on BUFFERED? What is buffered? I have the 50% but how do I buffer?

    Getting ready to do the arms.

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  8. Barbara, I just posted on that a few minutes ago:

    You don't need to do anything to your solution unless you want to decrease the acid % - it's most likely already buffered, especially if it's above 2. Does the information that came with it show the pH level? Most acids sold without a license are buffered, but you should ask your vendor to make sure.

    Sorry so late, but I've been away for a couple of days and haven't been near my PC.

  9. Hey,
    I've done this a few times at home on various areas of the body - I have the exact same skin type, but I achieved almost total elimination of my freckles & rough skin texture.

    I had a 1 or 2 done professionally at a medspa, but I asked lots of questions and paid close attention to every step, so as to copy the procedure at home and save myself $s.

    Here's the method... it might help you achieve better results:

    After cleansing the entire arm area with an alcohol gauze pad, apply 1 layer of Jessner's solution over as a 'prep' and wait 3-5 mins until the stinging subsides. After this, apply the first layer of TCA, using another clean gauze pad. You should make horizontal strokes, going against the direction of hair growth, starting at the wrist and working up.
    Don't wash the TCA off at any point (TCA solution is self-limiting, which is what most people don't realise. For some reason they tell you to wash it off in the info packs, but I've been told time and time again that this is a mistake. Washing it off won't help, and will render a less effective result). After 5-10 mins, apply a second layer of TCA in the same way.

    Once it's all done and the pain/frosting has subsided, put on a layer of Retinol cream (I'd use Jan Marini Factor A or Retin-A Micro). Don't wash the arm area or put anything else on it for 24 hrs at all. Then, use petroleum jelly/kojic acid twice a day to encourage peeling, moisturization and discourage brown spots (this is really important).

    I promise you that you'll get excellent results with 25% max, applied in atages, with proper aftercare... 50% concentration is too high and quite risky. I'd get this pre-prepared, and wouldn't bother with dilution.

    Just my 2 cents :)

  10. Thanks for the thorough information! If I can get past the pain of leaving the solution on, I may try it. ;-)

  11. Hi Gabi,
    your blog is amazing! Thank you!

    I would like to ask you which 50%tca peel did you use for your arms?

    Thanks again!

  12. Hi Gina, Thanks! My 50% was from Yvonne. I haven't bought anything from her site in a long time though. Some people have claimed that her stuff is not good, but I think it's more an issue of user error (some people don't realize how much damage can be done with this strength). I've never had a problem with her solutions, and the one I have is probably three years old--and it still works!

    Keep me posted on your peels, if you're starting them. Good luck! ~Gabi

  13. Hi Gabi,

    So I did the 25% tca on my arms. It has been day 8 and the skin still looks leathery but no sinal of peeling. Should I do the peel again or wait a little more? How long did it take for your arms to start peeling?


  14. Gina, I would not re-apply the peel until two weeks have passed. Skip a day of moisturizing or apply oil; that should help it detach. Did you use alcohol before you applied the peel? I've done peels where I didn't remove the skin oil with alcohol, and it took longer to peel. On this post, I can't remember exactly which day it started peeling, but the first pic of peeling is labeled day 8. I remember when I did the last peel on my hands, it really took a long time. I'll have to look at the post to see how long though.

  15. No... I didn't use alcohol... :-(. Today is day 10 and my skin still looks leathery. I feel like a aligator. lol.
    Thank you so much for your help.


  16. Gina, did that peel, or did you end up applying again?

  17. Hi Gina
    I have used 20% peels two separate times and had good results.
    However when I used them on my hands and chest those areas looked worse. I am 55 medium skin tone.
    Could you please share how to on hands and declote. Thanks really appriciate the info. Sherry

    1. Hi Hurley Girly, I'm not sure if Gina will be able to see your post; I don't see a profile linked to her name. You may want to click REPLY directly under her post--that may notify her?? Gabi

  18. how long did you leave the solution on before washing it off?