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Chemical Peels

The truth about chemical peels
Everything you need to know before your first treatment

Chemical peels are an important part of skin health. As an effective treatment option for most skin types and concerns, they improve tone, texture, fine lines and wrinkles, breakouts and dark spots, but many people are intimidated to go in for their first peel treatment. The fear of leaving with a bright red face that hurts prevents some from experiencing the many benefits of a peel. The post-peel reality is a glowing, healthy complexion. Here’s everything you need to know before your first PCA SKIN chemical peel: Peeling is exfoliation. When your skin peels or flakes after a treatment your skin is shedding dead or damaged surface cells and revealing new, healthy skin cells on the surface. This action is called cell turnover. Supporting the cell turnover process with chemical peels is what allows the skin to shed dead cells and bring new, fresh skin to the surface, free of signs of aging, sun damage, dirt, and debris. The result is glowing skin. You won’t necessarily experience visible peeling. That doesn’t mean your treatment was ineffective. Everyone experiences different levels of peeling, dependent upon skin type, resilience, type of peel and the number of layers applied. Some people experience ‘sheeting,’ when large portions of the skin peel off at once. Some experience ‘flaking,’ when small pieces of skin peel off, similar to dry, winter skin or mild peeling after a sunburn. Others experience exfoliation that is not visible. If you don’t peel, your skin is still exfoliating. In this case, the exfoliation is happening on a cellular level that can’t be seen by the naked eye. Typically, the deeper the peel you receive, the more extensive peeling you will experience.

Sensi Peel

Sensi Peel is a unique peeling option that was formulated for all patients, including those with highly sensitive skin. This gentle 6% TCA solution will help to improve surface texture while 12% Lactic Acid brightening the skin and evening skin tone. Customized to suit each individual’s needs, this multi-faceted and skin brightening treatment is an excellent option for sensitive skin and higher Fitzpatrick skin types. 

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Ultra Peel I

Ultra Peel I was specially formulated to treat maturing skin while promoting even skin tone and clear complexion for all skin types, conditions and sensitivities. PCA uses 10% TCA solution for superficial and medium-depth peeling to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 20% Lactic Acid is also used as part of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor to moisturize the skin as well as exfoliate. Azelaic Acid and Kojic Acid help to promote a clear complexion and even skin tone.(1 hr)
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PCA Peel with Hydroquinone

An innovative light to medium depth Jessner’s Peel, modified and enhanced and proven to soften the appearance of lines while encouraging a clear complexion. Key ingredients 14% Lactic, 14% Salicylic and Citric Acid effectively exfoliate and brighten the skin, while 3% Kojic Acid and 2% Hydroquinone lightens hyperpigmentation promoting an even skin tone. A perfect treatment for acne and hormone induced breakouts and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. (1 hr)

PCA Peel with Hydroquinone
& Resorcinol

PCA Peel with Hydroquinone & Resorcinol is the most potent of our enhanced Jessner’s formulas. This peel will help to improve skin tone, enlarged pores and pigmentation, for oily, thicker and more resilient skin types. PCA uses the same key ingredients as in there other Jessner Peels with the addition of Resorcinol to enhance clients’ results who require a deeper exfoliation treatment. Perfect for Fitzpatrick types I-III. (1 hr)

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Retinoid Peels

The future of retinol is here and even more powerful. PCA Skin combines unique ingredient combinations, advanced delivery technology, and condition-specific formulas to provide dramatic results without irritation.
Retinol, is a gentler vitamin A derivative, widely known as one of the most effective ingredients in skin care today. Retinol has been used in many forms, both at home and in the treatment room. Retinol enhances the absorption of vitamins, antioxidants, and rich active ingredients into the skin for maximum benefits, and is highly effective for improving pigmentation, clearing blemish prone skin, and increasing cell turnover cycle as we age. 
The Pure Retinol Peel is PCA SKIN®’s newest innovation. For skin in need of rejuvenation, this retinoid peel smooths, brightens, and evens skin tone through increased cell turnover and peeling without irritation. Peeling can last anywhere from seven to ten days, returning the skin to optimal function and its results are dramatic. Powerful antioxidants are used to calm and rejuvenate the skin while fight off free radical damage, providing better product absorption and moisture for firmer, brighter, smoother skin. This powerful retinoid peel is available in both 4 and 6% formulations and perfect for normal to more resilient skin types in need of rejuvenation.

 Smoothing Body Peel Treatment

The PCA Skin Smoothing Body Peel is a two-step treatment specifically targeting the skin on all areas of the body to reduce surface lines and wrinkles, smooth rough skin texture, treat skin discoloration, redness, and assist in clearing acne or blemished prone skin. The Pre-Peel Accelerator Mask contains urea and malic acid, naturally found in apples, and is applied first to help soften, nourish and hydrate the skin’s surface.  The Smoothing Body Peel is then applied in one or multiple layers, dependent upon skin condition or desired result for mild to moderate exfoliation revealing healthy new skin. The Smoothing Body Peel is formulated with a potent yet skin-friendly blend of 10% TCA, 45% Lactic Acid, 10% Salicylic Acid, Arbutin and Kojic Acid to improve and enhance the skin’s appearance.

Medium Treatment Areas

  • Arms (Lower or Upper)

  • Back (Lower or Upper)

  • Feet

  • Hands

  • Shoulders

Large Treatment Areas

  • Arms

  • Back

  • Chest

  • Legs


Clarify: Therapeutic Salicylic Acid Peel

This salicylic acid peel was formulated to calm and purify oily, breakout-prone skin to promote a clear complexion. 20% Salicylic Acid (BHA) is used to decrease inflammation, detoxify, and exfoliate the skin, while decongesting the pores. Calming antioxidants vitamin E, cascarilla bark, wild and sweet cherry extracts, assist in soothing and increasing moisture in the skin. This clarifying peel is appropriate for all skin types, but perfect for those suffering from thick, oily, acne and break-out prone skin. (1 hr)

Revitalize:  Therapeutic Papaya
Enzyme Peel

This gentle papaya enzyme peel combines an active blend of papaya puree, antioxidants and fruit extracts from lemon, orange and apple to release impacted skin cells, reduce inflammation, and exfoliate the skin. Dull complexions are left smoother, healthier and glowing. Green tea, vitamin E and honey, help to moisturizing and keep skin soft and hydrated. This results-oriented therapeutic mask is appropriate for all skin types and conditions, including fine lines and wrinkles, dull and sallow complexions. (1 hr)

Retexturize: Therapeutic Pumpkin Peel

This pumpkin enzyme peel can be used to tackle any skin type and condition, providing deep hydration, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, and effective at removing dead skin cell buildup. An active blend of pumpkin enzymes, salicylic acid (BHA), vitamins and nutrients work together to deeply nourish and hydrate, while draw out impurities. This nutritive rich treatment mask is perfect for those suffering from dull, rough, thick resilient, pigmented skin, looking for an even skin tone and clear complexion. (1 hr)

Frequently Asked Questions

How much downtime is expected with a peel?

There is little to no downtime whatsoever with PCA chemical peels. You can actually receive a peel on your lunch hour and return to work. You will be shinny and possibly show signs of redness but it will not stop you from doing what you need to do. During the time of peeling, you may not want people to see you but you can physically do anything you need.

When will I start “peeling”, for how long and how much?

 Everyone’s experience will be different. However, on an average, you will see flaking by day two or three following the treatment. It is possible to see flaking for up to five or six days. With all PCA peels, only light to medium exfoliation will be experienced.

How irritating is a peel?

PCA peels are only slightly irritating. You may experience mild burning or stinging, which is transient.

Can a person who is in the sun a lot receive a peel?

Yes, only if they are compliant with using sunscreen protection and avoiding the sun 48 hours after a peel. If you are getting peels to lighten the skin, Perfecting Protection (SPF 30+) is ideal to reduce any chance of further hyperpigmentation due to its enhanced lightening ingredients of Bearberry, Licorice Root Extract, Kojic Acid, Mulberry Root and Lactic Acid.

What peels can be used on someone who frequently works out?

Someone who frequently works out can have any peel but must wait 48 hours after the treatment to exercise. If you don’t want to wait, any non-chemical or retinol peel is a great choice. The Esthetique or our Ultra Peel™ II which is an acid-free, time-released retinol cream are great choices. They have a delayed flaking action that creates no irritation or downtime and leaves the skin glowing and hydrated.

My skin is very thin. Why would I want to peel? Wouldn’t that make my skin thinner?

If your skin is dry and thin, often there is a buildup of dead cells that actually keep your home care products from penetrating. Having a retinol treatment will remove the surface buildup, hydrate the skin and give it a more plump, “thicker” appearance. The use of Vitamin C products in the treatment, as well as in your home care program, will help to build the collagen in your skin, thus making it stronger and more durable.

Can pregnant or lactating women receive a peel?

No, but there are other treatments available.

Can someone using Retin-A® or Accutane® have any PCA Peel treatments?

We generally recommend that Retin-A® use is stopped five days prior to a peel and five days post treatment because of potential irritation and uneven peel penetration. Accutane® users tend to have very dry and sensitive skin and need to be treated only with peels that are appropriate for their skin type. We have found that the PCA non-peel solutions are Accutane® friendly. However, your skin care specialist should always be made aware of any Retin-A® or Accutane® use and my recommend you postpone treatment if the skin is too reactive.

What is the difference between PCA and glycolic peels?

Glycolic acid will dehydrate skin and make pores larger after extended use. PCA uses lactic and citric acids which are skin-friendly because they are natural constituents of your skin. PCA peels are unique because they are moisturizing and hydrating and leave your skin fresh, soft and supple, the way it wants to be!

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