Sunday, September 18, 2016

My TCA Peel Horror Story

Overall I have mixed feelings about TCA chemical peel. While I recognize that they can be very effective, the healing process is traumatic unless you can stay home for 4-7 days. My TCA peel was botched and the result of very poor service--from a dermatologist office no less! I have a lovely esthetician that would have never done what this doctor's office did to me.

When I returned for my 3-month check up the doctor suggested the chemical peel when I brought up my concerns with hyper pigmentation. It was just a "we can do the chemical peel today. It's $75." It was treated very casually, like chemical peel, no big deal. So I went along with it thinking I've spent more on snake oil at Sephora. My appointment with the doctor maybe 3 minutes long.

When the esthetician came in and starting prepping, as any person that is on the receiving end of a procedure would do, I had questions. When I tried asking what the downtime was and basically what is this...the response I received were 3 words that should never be used in a doctor's office: "Just Google It."

So yes, as I was sitting on the bench while she's mixing chemicals I was literally on my phone googling TCA, of course for whatever reason my network wasn't working inside the patient room. And then I was laying down and this stuff was being put on my face. After 5 seconds I was like "it's hurting me." After 10 seconds, "no it's really hurting me." Immediately the esthetician starting freaking out to neutralize it. Bear in mind I get laser hair removal, which blisters and smokes my skin, and I don't even flinch.

As you can imagine only 10 seconds in, she would not have had time to apply the treatment evenly. And then she asked me when was the last time I used my prescription (Epiduo: retinol/benzoyl peroxide), when I told her last night, she said in an accusatory tone "You're supposed to be off it 3 days before. Why didn't you tell the doctor?!" In my head I'm like the doctor that knows what prescription I'm on?!

Anyway I was so in shock when I paid and left. The smart thing to do would have been to run out the room the minute I was told to "Just Google It."
TCA Peel
The first picture is what the peel looked like when I got home. Do you see the stripe on my forehead? Unevenly applied and not even covering my problem area which is just above my brows. The next two are a 5 days after, as the skin is dying and falling off. The right side of my face (which was the side facing the esthetician) got the brunt of the treatment. And it was my left side of my face that I was struggling with, my right side had "perfect" skin prior to the peel! After the fact, I know they used 25% TCA which really shouldn't be used on a first timer on a prescription retinol no less!

Thankfully, my skin has since returned to normal. There is some long term hyper pigmentation on a patch on my right side where the skin peeled off too early. The missing pigmentation returned to the stripe on my forehead and I do have the neck of an 11 year old now. :)

But don't do what I did! Don't trust someone just because you're in a doctor's office. And definitely don't trust someone that you're not comfortable with and especially someone that can't be bothered to explain a procedure to you.

So what about you has anyone else had experience with chemical peels or other botched cosmetic procedures?

10 comments:

  1. I am so sorry you had to go through it. "Just google it" ?? How unprofessional ! And potentially dangerous.

    My father owns a clinic where I had gotten some laser treatment for unwanted hair. I came home burnt in patches from time to time, but nothing close to what you went through. My sister had a burn on her hand from her treatment and folks at work would asking her about domestic abuse.

    You have gorgeous skin. (Conclusion from the photo on the left ofcourse ).

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    1. How do you like your results with laser? I find it to not be 100% permanent, but still I'm happy with the results.

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  2. my goodness. good thing you're recovering properly!

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  3. Dear PaPP! I deeply feel for you, and anger rises up at this practice's handling of the whole thing, including trying to pass blame. I'm glad to know that your skin has returned to normal, or even improved (my neck would love that!), but the torture to get it there... I haven't done chemical peels, as I just assume my skin won't handle it, but I did lasers and would do it again but for the cost. I visited a low-level lasering boutique a while back, which I might try now that my skin is somewhat less sensitive, but the care they took in talking with me, going through all my sensitivities, etc. was leaps and bounds beyond what your doctor and practitioner seemed to have offered. I wish you continued recovery!

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    1. What laser treatments have you done? I'm so fascinated by medspa treatments. When I told my lovely esthecian about the tca peel, she even said she doesn't like tca since it's too harsh.

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  4. OMG I'm so relieved that you were able to recover from that. So scary! Do you plan to report them for professionalism and failing to properly advise? They are very lucky that your skin returned to normal but there is so much risk for others that may not be as lucky.

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  5. Oh my goodness!! I'm glad to hear you eventually recovered! If you can, definitely post a review of your experience on Zocdoc or similar sites so that other people are warned.

    I have DPNs all over my cheeks (typical of 'ethnic' skin, they looked like raised freckles), and I've been meaning to get them removed, but now I'll be extra careful when booking appointments - I'll have to go to an ethnic skin specialist probably.

    Also I'd be skeptical about a $75 peel, but I might just be used to NYC prices.

    Take care!

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    1. I chose this dermatologist specifically b/c she is brown skinned as well. I won't post a bad review since these are the "preferred doctors" of the company I work for. It may come back to haunt me.

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  6. Oh my gosh! I am happy to hear you recovered. A year ago, i was doing laser hair removal on my face for nasty chin hairs and a few rogue ones on my side cheeks. After about 6 treatments i got burnt! The burn marks haven't completely faded it. I still have dark spots on my face - more like sun spots. I had blemishleas skin before the treatment and I ended up burnt. The healing process has been very slow. In retrospect, I wish I did not do laser jeair removal for my face. As soon as I stopped, the hair started growing back with vengence! :(

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    1. that is something that makes me nervous about doing too much hair removal on my "peach fuzz" I worried that if I mess with it, it will become worse.

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