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The Truth About Chemical Peels

Want the TRUTH about chemical peels? I'm spilling all the tea.

Back in January when I shared that I was getting a chemical peel for the first time and each time since I get a ton of questions about why/where/how. I totally get it because prior to January I knew nothing about chemical peels and the vision I had in my head was Samantha Jones a la Sex and the City with Carrie telling her she looked like “beef carpaccio” and to go home. It was SCARY. That image stayed with me as I’m sure it did with a lot of you. Lucky for us, it’s 2018 and chemical peels have come a long way. The peels I have done are from PCA skin and there’s zero downtime. They’ve been dubbed “the lunchtime peel” because you can walk in, have your peel done, and walk back out and no one will ever know unless you want them to.

Want the TRUTH about chemical peels? I'm spilling all the tea.

There is a myriad of benefits from regular chemical peel treatments. With formulations for all skin types — even those with sensitive skin — PCA SKIN peels improve skin concerns: acne, hyperpigmentation, and aging.

I have sensitive skin that is almost always red, so to me, chemical peel + me just didn’t make sense but I was wrong. Most everything I thought about chemical peels was wrong and I figure it’s probably not just me so I wanted to create this post as a guide for anyone else who may be interested in getting a chemical peel. The biggest myth that was debunked for me following my first chemical peel was that if you’re not physically peeling it’s not working. The truth is, you don’t have to peel with a peel. Improvements in the texture, tone and overall appearance of the skin take place whether or not peeling occurs. I chronicled my experience over on Instagram Stories in a highlight if you want to go watch me get the peel and see my results for about a week after. I didn’t physically peel but the changes in my skin were incredible. I had a post peel glow that made my skin look brand new. My redness was diminished and my skin looked firmer, healthier, and more hydrated. So you get awesome results with little to no downtime. If you’ve never had a peel and don’t use acids in your skincare routine you could possibly peel as a side effect but it would just look like a sunburn peeling it’s not uncomfortable or painful at all, almost like a snake shedding its skin.


The type of peel and the number of layers you receive during your treatment are determined by your professional based on the current health of your skin. This way, you will experience little to no downtime following a peel, yet still, achieve outstanding results. I get my PCA skin peels at Garden State Med Spa here in South Jersey, I highly recommend them if you’re local.I’ve been seeing Jaclyn for routine chemical peels and facials and my skin has never looked better. She completely customizes each visit to target what my skin needs at the moment. She’s so knowledgeable about each peel and knows what limits we can push my skin to based on what kind of results I want. It’s important to pick the perfect skincare professional for you, you are trusting them with your face after all. I definitely found mine with Jaclyn.

The peels I’m going to focus on today are all from PCA skin because it’s what I know. Full disclosure — I went on a press trip with PCA skin in January which is where I had my first chemical and it’s been a love affair ever since. If you’ve been around these last few months you know I talk about their products often and their Dual Action Redness Relief is my holy grail. All that to say they have a locator right here that you can use to find your nearest PCA Certified Professional.

Want the TRUTH about chemical peels? I'm spilling all the tea.


Blended TCA peels are exceptional for the treatment of aging skin, acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, especially in dry skin. All of the info below about each peel is from PCA Skin.

Sensi Peel®

This gentle solution is perfect for extremely sensitive skin types. Sensi Peel® will strengthen and brighten the skin while helping to treat sun damage and other forms of hyperpigmentation. This multifaceted treatment also provides anti-inflammatory, anti-acne and antibacterial action, making it an excellent choice for helping to calm rosacea, as redness and inflammation can subside substantially after treatment. This is the perfect peel to choose as a first timer! I’ve done this one the most and my redness (in combination with my Dual Action Redness Relief) has never looked better.

Ultra Peel® I

Specially formulated to treat dehydrated, maturing skin, Ultra Peel® I is also appropriate for many other skin types, conditions, and sensitivities. It will help treat pigment disorders, fine lines, and wrinkles, sun damaged skin and acne. This treatment is especially ideal for sensitive skin, as it produces only a mild tingling sensation. Mild to moderate exfoliation will be experienced, depending on the number of layers applied. Overall, the final result will be plump, hydrated and luminous skin. When I was wanting to up my results and push it a little more we tried out this peel and I absolutely loved it as much if not more then the Sensi Peel. I had a dry patch or two in the days following this but still absolutely no downtime!

Ultra Peel® Forte

The most suitable candidates for this deeper and more active treatment are those with resilient skin who have more dramatic wrinkling, sun damage, and acne scarring. Ultra Peel® Forte will effectively treat aging skin, acne, pigment disorders, smokers’ skin and photodamaged skin. This treatment is ideal for aging skin in need of rejuvenation. This peel is available to physicians only though so you’ll need to do some research if this is the type of peel you’re interested in.


PCA Peel® Hydroquinone Free

This is ideal for more sensitive skin types, ethnic skin or those allergic to hydroquinone. This treatment will help unclog pores, clear acne and rejuvenate the skin. With its blend of brighteners and alpha and beta hydroxy acids, it also is an excellent choice for correcting pigment discolorations and maintaining even pigmentation for those with hydroquinone sensitivities.

PCA Peel® with Hydroquinone

This is for those who want an even skin tone and have no sensitivity to hydroquinone. It will help to quickly lighten pigment discolorations of any kind, such as melasma and actinic damage. In addition, this peel helps inhibit active acne and correct post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne.

PCA Peel® with Hydroquinone & Resorcinol

The most potent of our enhanced Jessner’s formulas, this peel will even skin tone and provide more exfoliation for oilier, thicker and more resilient skin types. It is extremely effective on sun-damaged and thickened skin. It is also excellent for those with active or cystic acne and asphyxiated skin (dry on the surface, oily underneath) or those who require deeper treatment.


Ultra Peel® II

This advanced hydrating treatment encourages additional post-treatment exfoliation. It may be used alone or at the end of any other PCA SKIN® professional treatment to improve tone and texture. This retinoid booster contains the phytohormone genistein, which stimulates collagen and inhibits MMP while hydrating and moisturizing aging skin. The retinol (vitamin A) content helps increase cell turnover to keep skin looking fresh, while L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) strengthens the skin by helping to increase the skin’s collagen and elastin network. This is what I want to build up to!

Esthetique Peel

An excellent treatment that can be used alone or in combination with any other PCA SKIN® treatment for smoothing, firming and brightening of all skin types, even extra-sensitive skin, including rosacea and acne. Its advanced formulation of lactic acid and retinol, along with a host of polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins, humectants and brightening ingredients, improves the texture of skin, and also helps correct many types of skin discoloration


One of the biggest questions I get is about chemical peels + pregnancy. And while you can’t get any of the above chemical peels while pregnant, these are two alternatives that you can get while pregnant or lactating (obviously talk to your OB about any type of treatment first) to keep your skin free of pollutants and toxins, leading to a brighter and clearer complexion. This will be especially great if you have acne prone skin.

Detox Gel Deep Pore Treatment

This is an excellent choice for detoxifying all skin types. The active blend of lactic, glycolic and salicylic acids effectively penetrates pores to dissolve impactions and blackheads, kill bacteria, reduce inflammation and remove excess cell debris to leave the skin hydrated, purified and clear. This gentle, deep pore cleansing treatment provides strong antibacterial and antioxidant action.

Oxygenating Trio

This antioxidant therapy corrects and prevents free radical damage, as oxidative and environmental stress is one of the more significant contributors to the aging process. This treatment helps stimulate cutaneous oxygenation and circulation, rejuvenating sluggish, stressed skin as it draws oxygen to the skin’s surface, resulting in radiant, healthy skin. I had this done in combination with a Sensi Peel and I have to tell you that my skin felt so hydrated after, and as someone with dry skin, this was everything for me.

This is 100% a shit-ton of information but I wanted to try and cover everyone and their skin types and all of the questions and have it all in one place. Your biggest takeaway should definitely be checking out the PCA skin locator and finding a skincare professional near you!

And again, if you’re local to the Philadelphia/South Jersey area I HIGHLY recommend setting up an appointment with Jaclyn at the Garden State Med Spa, the entire experience is amazing and has changed my skin for the better.

Want the TRUTH about chemical peels? I'm spilling all the tea.

No filter. No edits. Straight cell phone selfie. Immediately post chemical peel glow.