We get a lot of people inquiring about layering the two acids Jessners and TCA. This is actually something that is commonly done in a professional setting. Today, I am going to talk about and demonstrate how to properly apply the two acids together.
I will go into detail about what each acid is good for, proper application procedure, how many layers to apply and what to expect immediately afterwards.
So, let’s get started shall we?
First, what is Jessners? This is a blend of 14% Saliyclic acid, 14% Lactic acid and 14% Resorcinol.
And… FYI… since you probably don’t know this, *Resorcinol is a blend of 50% hydroquinone and Cat-e-Kol.
It is commonly used on oily and blemish-prone skin, but because of the resorcinol – it can also be good for pigmentation as well.
Our second acid in this peel today, is TCA. We have many videos on this acid’s use, prep, post care and application – so check those out after this one.
TCA or trichloroacetic acid, is my favorite acid ever. It is great for just about everything including Acne, hyperpigmentation and melasma, and has the additional uses for wrinkles, and several types of scarring.
Both of these acid peels are applied in coats or layers. This makes them both very customizable peels.
A small quantity of layers will give you a lighter peel and the more layers you apply – the deeper the peel gets.
Since they are both applied in the same manner – it leads many people to want to apply them at the same time – which can have a beneficial effect.
When Jessners is used prior to TCA in a professional setting, it is generally as a pre-treatment since salicylic helps to dissolve the harder skin cells that could potentially block deeper penetration.
It is also especially helpful with oilier skin types – where the excess oil can block acid penetration or lead to an uneven uptake of the acid.
Now, as you can probably imagine after my explanation there, mixing the two acids can lead to a deeper peel. If your skin is on the drier side, or is thinning, then a Jessners prep is probably not the best option for you.
This is something that you will move UP to if you feel that either the TCA or Jessners isn’t working well enough on their own. This is an advanced peeling method.
On that note…. I highly recommend that you use the acids independently for at least a full peel SERIES *(which is 6-8 peels) before you think about mixing them in this manner.
How do you prepare for a medium depth peel such as this one?
We want your skin to be healthy and exfoliated before we apply an acid.
The perfect product to prepare your skin with is our Retinol Molecular Serum every evening to even out the skin. I suggest the .20%. *If you have prescription Tretinoin that is great too! Another alternative would be an acid serum like our Serum 15 or Serum 30.
What we DON’T want you doing to exfoliate is by using face scrubs. When you use a scrub you will press harder in some areas and get an uneven texture. Leave the smoothing to an acid or vitamin A instead.
Very Important Note Here:
If you have more melanin rich skin, we want you to prepare with a melanin inhibitor such as our Fade Bright for at least 2 weeks prior to a TCA peel. This will help to avoid Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. Nothing is ever 100% - but this helps immensely, so use it 2x per day – every day.
Which percentage of acid should I use?
With the Jessners, you don’t need to choose. There is only one percentage, and it is our Standard 14/14/14.
On the flip side though, we have 4 percentages of TCA. 7%, 13%, 20% and 30%.
The 13% is what I am going to apply today. This is the percentage that everyone will normally start with. Most people are applying between 2-5 layers of this percentage – and are getting a great peel – as that is quite deep.
What we are going to do is switch out a couple layers of TCA and use the Jessners instead. We still don’t want to go over our 5 layer recommendation though, so keep that in mind as you are applying.
Before we get started, here are a few warnings:
- Vitamin A will cause extreme sensitivity. This doesn’t effect everyone, so if you have tough skin, feel free to use your product up to the day before you apply a TCA peel. If you are more sensitive … Stop usage of RetinA about 5 days prior to peel application. If you are using our Retinol you can stop a couple of days before.
- Stronger acids like TCA can cause unintended color changes in the skin. This is why we recommend the application of Fade Bright or another melanin inhibitor before a peel. It is less likely with lighter skin tones – but can happen to anyone at any time. *The higher the percentage the higher the potential of this occurring.
- Do not use any scrubbing granules or abrasive scrub sponges for a few days prior to a peel. This will lead to uneven application of the acid.
- Do not use needling techniques the same week as a peel. If you perform needling, wait an entire week before applying any peels to your skin. The same thing goes for after care. Be done flaking 100% before you start needling again.
- Never apply a peel to tan skin. There is excess melanin and that can lead to spotting.
- Do not apply TCA if you are pregnant.
- Do not apply to skin that has been waxed or shaved within 24 hours.
- Do not use TCA if you have been on Accutane in the past year.
- Do not apply TCA if you are unhealthy or have active herpes simplex. You may apply a peel after you are on a preventative prescription only.
Now let’s get onto the application.
I want to mention that if you have extremely sensitive skin you can use a numbing agent prior to any chemical peel. Any of the “caine” products work well. Just follow their instructions and once your time is up. Wipe it off and wash your face 2x with one of our acid cleansers to get all of the cream off.
Now, I have acne-prone skin, so I used our AB Cleanser to wash my face, and then just patted my skin dry. Use any deep cleanser you wish – but nothing like a glycerine soap or anything hydrating. We want to deep clean the skin …
And now we are going to strip it.
Wipe our Prep B solution over all areas that you would like to peel.
*If you do not have our solution you can use a 90% alcohol in its place. If you can’t find that locally, the 70% should be fine. Just go over your skin two times to make sure.
Follow Me. We will go horizontally working our way from the Top – Down.
Now down temples and between the brows
And now we continue down the face.
If you aren’t applying the acid down your neck – you can just feather this down a little bit. If you are going down the neck and onto the chest *which I highly recommend, then just apply everywhere until all areas have been covered.
Let that air dry
Now it is time for our first acid – Jessners.
You have 2 options here.
- If you are only going to be applying a milder peel today, you can apply 1 layer of the Jessners and then you will follow it with 1 layer of your TCA.
- If you are wanting to do a deeper peel, then I suggest you apply 2 layers of the Jessners and then you will apply 1-3 layers of the TCA.
Ok, I am going to get started here and wet my pad with our solution. As I do this I am going to make a BIG point about how WET your gauze pad needs to be.
We want the pad to be WET but NOT dripping. If we have a super wet, drippy pad.. we will get a much deeper peel than we intended.
My pad is ready so I am going to apply the first layer just like I did the prep solution. Top to bottom.
Re- dip and squeeze as needed.
Once I am all done applying I need to wait 5 minutes for the acid to react with my skin.
Ill set a timer and then we can talk about a few things…
By the 5 minute mark some people may see some blanching or frosting. If you see a white haze or white speckling on some or all areas – that is frosting. It is nothing at all to fear.
FYI --- With Jessners it might be a true frost… OR, it could just be the crystals in the salicylic that have dried on the skin. If you can wipe OFF the white – it is NOT a true frost. Either way is just fine.
Some people never see frosting – and some people see it all the time. Even if you don’t see it – your skin will still peel.
Now that 5 minutes is up – I am ready to move forward with my Layer of TCA.
**Notice that I did NOT rinse the Jessners off. It will be staying on my face for now.
I am going to wet my pad and squeeze it out so it isn’t dripping. **This is EXTRA important with TCA, because if you apply a wet, drippy solution – your skin will keep processing the acid – and you will end up with a MUCH deeper peel than you anticipated.
We are applying top to bottom again. Super simple.
Now we wait 5 minutes again. *Just a quick note. If it has been 5 minutes and your skin is burning, you can absolutely wait LONGER before you apply another layer if you wish. I have waited up to 10 minutes before applying another layer. You don’t need to suffer. When your skin feels better you can move on.
If you have a very light amount of frosting, OR you only have a little bit in some areas … you can still move forward applying your next layer if you want a deeper peel.
Another option is to ONLY apply the acid to areas that do NOT have a frost on them.
If your face is mostly White then always stop.
I like to keep a bowl with ice water and a washcloth. Keep rinsing and patting until your skin feels good again – it will. There is no need to rush this. Now, pat your skin dry and we move onto after care.
This is a great time to apply any targeted treatments you have. Growth Factors, copper and even our .50% retinol Luminosity are great to use as they will penetrate deeply and give you amazing benefits.
I am going to apply our Regenerate Epidermal Growth Factor, Fade Bright serum and our Luminosity. *If you are dealing with hyperpigmentation or have darker skin, then a layer of Fade Bright is also recommended at this point.
If you like, you can apply the emu oil or our Essentials 99% Organic Healing Oil on top. Both are very healing and anti-inflammatory. If you don’t have either of those, any other calming or gentle cream or oil should be just fine.
We are done!
Potential questions with this acid combination are the same as with the straight TCA.
So, let me answer a few common questions.
How long will my face be white or pink?
Most of the time any discoloration will go away within 1 hour. It won’t last forever. After any frosting goes away you may notice your skin is a bit pink – that is normal as well.
In a few hours you won’t be able to tell that you even did a peel at all today.
I want to mention swelling when you are doing a deeper peel.
If you are applying several layers (3+) you could potentially see some swelling in the skin tomorrow. A cool compress should help and it will generally go away in a few hours.
Any pigmentation you have can potentially become darker!
If you are already dealing with hyperpigmentation you will notice that the spots will become darker. This is temporary and can happen with many people. It is the pigment dumping into the upper layers. This is actually something GREAT if you are dealing with spots as they will be flaking off in the next week or so.
Will this get all of your pigmentation in a single peel?
Most likely not. Pigmentation runs very deep and can take an entire series of 8 – or more to get rid of. With peels it is not a one-time event. Continue on and things will improve. Have patience and continue your daily treatments in-between peels. SPF is a MUST!
Another reason for darkness in the skin is that it’s dead skin. Dead skin tends to turn darker before it flakes. Some people will see this and others will not. It is more prone in those doing several layers or a higher percentage. Just like before, the darkness will flake away once the skin starts peeling.
How long will it take for the skin to peel?
On average FACIAL skin will start to get dry and just start the peeling process on about day 3 or 4 after the peel. It will start around the nose and mouth and will radiate outwards over the course of the next 4-6 days.
Neck and chest will take longer to flake. Generally they will just have a rough texture and you won’t see large flakes. Expect this to start around day 6-10 and then go on for another week or so.
How can I make it peel faster?
Here is where our Luminosity Method comes in handy. Not only does it give your skin a great boost of vitamin A immediately after your peel, but if you apply it for the next few days it will also help your skin to peel more quickly. So we highly recommend that and offer an easy way to purchase that right on our TCA peel page.
Another way to help those last bits of skin to come off is to use an Enzyme Mask. Enzymes ONLY target dead skin, so they are super beneficial to apply when you want to get this excess skin off. I like to apply a mask every day after about day 5 to help remove the last flakes.
How often can I do these peels?
This depends entirely on what percentage you are using and how many layers you are applying. Follow our recommendations in your peel manual that comes with your peel. On average, if you are applying this Advanced Method, you will be looking at maybe 1 peel per month.
If you have any more questions about applying acid peels, we are here to help Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm eastern time. Just reach out to us. Have a great day!