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A DIY TCA Peel Tutorial: Repair Winter Ravaged Skin ASAP!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Last year was our best year yet (hi we're 2yrs old) and you were a big part of it! The product line grew from exclusively serums to a full skincare regime including cleansers, toners, serums and moisturizer. In 2020 we plan to start doing weekly indoor pop ups starting in February, location TBA shortly! There's also been the addition of the Apotheca Borealis YouTube Channel (please watch below & subscribe). This channel was designed to help you take control of more advanced beauty routines simultaneously keeping more money in your pocket! I don’t know about you, but I love to save where I can, and you’ll be surprised how simple it is to do advanced beauty procedures with a little knowledge and guidance. That being said, our first YouTube video of 2020 is a DIY TCA peel. What’s a TCA peel? Glad you asked ;)

A TCA peel is a skin treatment that works by applying trichloracetic acid to your face. TCA peels can be used to treat a number of conditions, including acne, irregular skin tone or texture, hyperpigmentation, fine wrinkles, and scars, including acne scars. This treatment can be performed by a dermatologist, but it is quite expensive. In order to save money, you can apply a TCA peel at home. In order to apply a TCA peel, you will need to prepare your skin for the peel, apply the peel, remove the peel, and follow post-procedure care instructions.

Your skin will likely peel for approximately five to seven days following the procedure and during this time you should avoid exposing your skin to the sun. Make sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher during this time. During my recovery I used Apotheca Borealis Revive Toner, Revive Serum and a mixture of Red Raspberry Seed + Black Currant Oil + Lavender Essential Oil as a daily & nightly treatment for the first week.



Determine if you are a suitable candidate for a TCA peel. TCA peels can have positive impacts on your skin by removing signs of aging and acne. However, there are certain instances when you should not apply a TCA peel. Do not use a TCA peel if you:

  • Have cuts, broken skin, or received a recent facial surgical procedure.

  • Have a sunburn.

  • Have active Herpes simplex 1 sores.

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Have taken Accutane in the last year.

  • Have recently received chemotherapy or radiation treatment.


Use products like Apotheca Borealis Bright Serum that contain alpha hydroxy acids 5-7 days before the peel. In order to prepare your skin for a TCA peel and make the treatment more effective, you should use a face product that contains AHAs, such as lactic acids.


Read all the instructions provided with the peel. TCA peels can be purchased through online retailers. I bought mine here:

Once you have acquired a TCA solution, you should read and follow all of the instructions provided by the manufacturer. TCA peels can be highly acidic so it is very important that you follow all directions.

Watch my DIY TCA Peel How-to Video here:

Test the TCA on a small patch of skin. This way you will be able to determine if the acid solution is too strong or if you are allergic to the solution. For example, if you want to apply a TCA peel to your face, you should test a small patch of skin under your ear. This area is out of the way and will not be overly visible if you have a negative reaction. Always test the skin near the area you want to treat. Rinse the test patch of skin once it starts to burn. You can use a mix of baking soda and water to quickly neutralize and calm the skin. Wait 48 hours to apply the peel. This way you will know how the peel will react on your skin. If the spot that was tested becomes itchy, red, or bumpy, you should not apply the peel to your skin. This is likely a sign that you are experiencing an allergic reaction.



Cleanse your skin. Immediately before you apply a TCA peel, you need to completely clean your skin. If you are applying the TCA peel to your face, you should remove all of your make up. Washing your face will help to remove any surface oils allowing the TCA solution to peel away a layer of skin.


Remove surface oils using a prep solution. Some TCA peels will come with a prep solution that should be applied to your skin prior to administering the peel. These solutions help to fully dry out your skin and remove any lingering surface oils. If you did not purchase a prep solution, you can apply witch hazel or diluted rubbing alcohol to your skin using gauze.


Apply a blocking cream around the eyes, mouth, and nose. If you are applying a TCA peel to your face, you want to protect some sensitive areas from the acid. In order to do this, use a cotton swab to apply a bit of ointment gel or coconut oil to your lips, and the skin around your eyes and nostrils. This will prevent the acid from damaging these sensitive areas.


Put on latex gloves. While working with the TCA solution, you want to be careful that the acid does not touch other areas of skin. As a result, you should always wear latex gloves to protect your hands from the acid. This is especially important if you are applying the TCA using gauze because it will likely come into contact with your fingers.


Pour the TCA solution into a small dish. Place a small dish on your counter and pour some of the TCA solution into the dish. This will make it easy for you to dip your brush or gauze into the solution while you are applying the TCA to your skin.


Use gauze to apply TCA to your skin. Dip a piece of gauze into the TCA solution. Then squeeze the gauze gently. You want the gauze to be wet, but not dripping. This will prevent the solution from running into your eyes. Then apply a thin layer of TCA to the desired area of skin. If you are applying the TCA to your face, you may want to divide the area into sections. See my YouTube video for instructions.


Wait 2-5 minutes. Once the solution has been applied to your skin, you should wait approximately two to five minutes. The time will vary depending on the strength of the solution, the number of peels you have performed, and your own skin type. It is normal for your skin to turn red and sting a bit while the peel is on your face. If your skin begins to frost (i.e. turn white) or sting uncomfortably, you should begin neutralizing immediately by washing the solution off with a mix of water and baking soda. After the peel has been on for five minutes, you should wash it off by splashing water onto your face. You can also apply water by dabbing your skin with a wet cloth. This will help to remove the TCA from your skin and will help to neutralize the area.


Apply a healing ointment. Once your skin is dry, apply a healing ointment to the skin. For example, try using emu oil or Bacitracin to help heal your skin following a TCA peel. You should re-apply this solution several times a day for at least 48 hours following the peel.

There you have it! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I will respond. Good luck and if you do try this, please let me know how it goes.

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