A few weeks ago I underwent an Enerpeel treatment (TCA peel 25% 2 layers) to smooth out my acne scars before undergoing a Dermastamp treatment. It’s been quite the nervous experience, not knowing how my skin will react. Luckily, both the procedure and recovery went fine. And so, one month later, here’s my final review and thoughts.
“TCA is a well-studied and inexpensive peeling agent that can be used either as a superficial, medium depth or deep peel depending on the concentration used. When applied to the skin, TCA causes coagulation of epidermal and dermal proteins, and necrosis of collagen up to the upper reticular dermis. The clinical effects of TCA are due to the resultant increase in dermal volume of collagen, glycosaminoglycans and elastin. TCA is a self-neutralizing peel, therefore it is not absorbed systemically even if high concentrations are used. It is considered safer compared to phenol peels as there is no systemic absorption nor toxicity and pain is also less severe.” – Study: Chemical Peels for Acne and Acne Scars in Asians
Enerpeel TCA chemical peel 25% – 2 layers
Cost & Where
I paid a combination discount price of 3000SEK/€322 for both the TCA and Dermastamp treatments. The TCA treatment alone costs 2000SEK/€215, the same as Dermastamp. The treatment was done at a clinic in Sundsvall, 1-hour car drive from where I live. As I’m not affiliated with the clinic, please contact me to know which one.
What was the TCA peel like?
Before the peel, the facialist did a quick pore cleanse, hence all the red spots. I had the worst luck of getting a blood-filled cyst (that huge blob in the center of my left cheek) a week before that just wouldn’t budge in time for the treatment. She emptied it, but she couldn’t put the TCA on it, so had to work around it. This made the peel work less on my more damaged side that could need it the most.
The procedure itself was painful as hell. I don’t think I’ve ever put myself through such pain. If you ever had someone twist your arm while holding it over a fire, that’s exactly how it felt.
It’s like a thousand burning needles, and you can feel how the peel is sinking in through your every pore. The clinic provides a fan, which definitely makes it less excruciating. Some clinics do provide anesthetics, I didn’t ask for it as I believe that it intervenes with the healing process and it’s only temporary.
As I was only treating my cheeks, she did two layers, the second layer hurt more than the first, and I felt my eyes watering. The whole procedure took about 3-4 minutes, and I kept feeling some tingling for 1-2 hours afterward. You will look a bit white, this is called frosting, but it goes away as the skin turns brown/red after a day or two.
As I only got 2 weeks to do some research, I was not completely prepared with a skincare routine. I had ordered the MyChelle Deep Repair Cream and Polypeptide cream, and while waiting for them to arrive I used my own Kukui nut oil infused with Calendula. On Day 2 though, oil wasn’t enough and I had to turn to the only cream we have in the house, an old A-Cream that was hiding back in the cabinet. It wasn’t perfect either, but looking at it now, I don’t think any deep-conditioning cream would’ve made the cut. That’s how dry your face is going to be.
I did some more research on the other brand, Tebiskin, that the clinic recommended, as well as found it on sale, and decided to purchase the EGF cream. Considering I will probably have to do another TCA peel, I might as well be stocked on moisturizers!
My ego got an existential meltdown at Day 3, where I got stuck thinking, “What if it will never peel and I will be stuck looking like this?!”
Looking in the mirror and seeing yourself having this “leather face” on can spook you out. It wasn’t pleasant at all, nonetheless, when simple things like laughing and opening your mouth to eat were limited. I then read about someone who had done TCA on themselves and it hadn’t peel for 14 days(!), my tip: less Googling to not upset the nerves.
Later on Day 3, I saw some hints of peeling, and I could sleep well again. The next day I helped to peel even further by spritzing rose water every hour or so, and taking a steaming shower, as I read that would help. And it definitely did.
By day 6-10 it all peeled off pretty fast. I would carefully use a scissor to cut away any dry skin that stood out or had come off. There’s really no way to pull at it, as it hurts. Not that I intentionally tried it… Just something that happens when your finger accidentally flies too close to your face. Ouch.
My acne kept calm, don’t know if it was the peel or the MSM powder I started taking. But towards the end and after I stopped peeling, I had some purging/milia happening. Most of them would go away on their own. But other than that, spots seemed to heal quicker.
I’ve updated the Chemical Peel Recommended Aftercare-post on all the products I use. I will also do a full review of the new products that I bought in the future.
The Tebiskin EGF cream was the best in my experience. Even though it worked and felt a lot similar to MyChelle’s Deep Repair Cream, the Tebiskin kind of glued the dead skin, making me look more presentable in public. However, both were very moisturizing and nourishing and worked well in this condition.
As for the Polypeptide cream, it wasn’t hydrating enough, but I felt good having that extra nourishment of peptides. I would mix the EGF cream with the Polypeptide cream for the day, and then mix the EGF with the Deep Repair cream at night – as the Deep Repair cream lacked Hyaluronic Acid but had a lot of other fine ingredients that the EGF cream did not have.
You definitely don’t need this many moisturizers, the EGF cream would’ve worked well on its own. In other words: I really just wanted to try something from MyChelle ;)
Was it Worth it?
Okay, you’ve already seen the rating…
When the skin dries, you get this leather face that looks so smooth, and the skin underneath feels so fresh and soft, that you’d think that when it all comes off, your scars will have almost completely vanished. But this is really not the case, especially not after one painful treatment.
Not to mention the pain again, it fools you into thinking this is something so powerful that it will be magic!
My concern is that the scars (for me) looked even more prominent after the peel.
When I brought this up at the clinic, my facialist was surprised I didn’t see immediate results, as this is usually how it works with the peel. It could also just be me, both she and my father-in-law (who only sees me on the weekends) say there’s definitely an improvement. It wasn’t until I waited three weeks after the peel and matched my before-dermastamp-treatment-picture to a before picture of the chemical peel that I could say that there’s been a slight reduction. But still, nothing huge considering the pain. I’m mostly comparing with the left side, as it’s the one where scarring is more prominent, and it’s easier to see if any change has happened. *Majority of my before-and-after’s are on the left side.
The positive is that the peel seems to speed up healing, and at the end of my first week, many of my old and new dark spots had practically vanished. And my face was looking more even-colored than ever. The new skin is very soft and beautiful. And remember that old comment I made, that I feel like the scars have aged me? Well, I don’t feel that way anymore as my skin looks more radiant.
So in a way, I really loved that quality of this peel, as I had gotten a major cystic outbreak a few months before that left me spotted. In terms of doing a peel like this for reducing pigmentation, sun damage, and promote a more youthful appearance, it may be worth it. For that, I give it 4 stars. But to only do TCA peel to reduce scarring is having your hopes too high up, in my opinion. Most of the evidence points to combining it with needling for optimal results.
I’ve set another appointment for TCA peel+Dermastamp to happen at the end of April, it will be the same as this one, meaning: 25% 2 layers on the cheek area.