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A PCA peel is a specific brand of chemical peel that’s manufactured by the company PCA Skin.

These exfoliating solutions are customized for different skin types and incorporate a variety of ingredients. They’re applied topically by a PCA Skin certified specialist.

Like other chemical peels, PCA peels are intended to reduce signs of acne, hyperpigmentation, and aging by exfoliating dead skin cells and revealing a new layer of skin underneath.

Keep reading to learn more PCA peels, what the skin peel procedure is like, and how much it costs.

A PCA peel is a brand of chemical peel manufactured by PCA Skin. The company offers a wide variety of professional chemical peels as well as everyday products to:

  • rejuvenate your skin
  • correct the effects of the sun
  • reduce scaring from acne or trauma
  • manage discoloration and wrinkles from aging

The company has manufactured products since 1990 and offers a certification program for professionals seeking to perform PCA peels.

Most PCA peels are superficial peels

Many PCA peels are known as superficial peels. This means they target the top layers of your skin, with little recovery time. There are different formulas for a variety of skin types.

Several of the PCA Skin peels use a modified version of the Jessner peel. The PCA peels contain ingredients like lactic acid and salicylic acid. Both are deemed to be effective for treating the skin, according to a 2016 research review.

Some PCA peels target deeper layers of the skin

Some PCA peels treat deeper layers of your skin. These are known as blended peels.

Blended peels contain an ingredient common to medium-depth peels called trichloroacetic acid (TCA). Blended peels lower the toxicity of each ingredient by combining them together.

Superficial PCA peels may appeal to those who are curious about chemical peels but wary of the recovery period and side effects. PCA peels work for a variety of people because of the many product options available.

If you want to correct more serious skin irregularities, you may want to consider a heavier peel. These irregularities may include conditions related to your skin’s:

  • texture
  • pigmentation
  • scarring

Before undergoing treatment, discuss chemical peels with your doctor if you’re pregnant or nursing or have a serious underlying health condition.

Superficial peels will have some immediate results, while others may require a series of treatments.

Either way, the results aren’t permanent. You may seek monthly PCA peels or use other PCA skin care products to maintain your results.

Here’s what to expect before, during, and after a PCA skin peel procedure.

Before your peel

Before your skin peel, you’ll discuss your needs with a doctor or skin specialist trained in PCA Skin products. This could be a few weeks before the treatment or closer to the time of your peel.

You may need to apply some products to your skin for 1 or 2 weeks before your treatment for optimal results.

Day of peel

On the day of your procedure, your doctor or skin care professional will first clean your skin. Then they’ll evenly apply the chemical solution.

Superficial PCA skin peels are applied in layers and left on your skin. They’re not timed and removed like deeper chemical peels. The strength of a superficial PCA peel is controlled by the number of layers applied.

The specialist will apply a calming topical lotion with broad-spectrum SPF protection on top of your final layer before sending you home.

After your peel

Your doctor or skin specialist will give you instructions on how to care for your skin immediately after the procedure, such as how soon you may wash your face after the chemical peel and what products to apply. Be sure to follow these instructions.

Superficial chemical peels from PCA Skin may require very little following the procedure. Your skin specialist may even allow you to apply makeup 15 minutes after the procedure to cover up skin flaking or redness.

Within the first 2 days of your procedure, you should avoid:

  • overheating
  • hot showers, baths, and other hot steam
  • hair dryers near the treated area
  • swimming
  • activities that result in a lot of sweating
  • exfoliating the treated skin
  • icing or heating the treated area

You should avoid direct sun exposure in the 1 or 2 weeks following the peel. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more, and don’t use a tanning bed within 2 weeks.

Delay other skin treatments near the affected area for 5 or more days.

You should also use any products following the procedure as recommended by your skin specialist. They’ll determine the most effective combination of products for your skin type. This may include a gentle skin cleanser and a noncomedogenic moisturizer and sunscreen.

Discuss medications you take with your skin specialist to ensure your safety and reduce the chance of a reaction following your procedure.

Contact your doctor or skin care professional if:

  • You’re in extreme discomfort following the procedure.
  • Your symptoms worsen after the initial recovery period.
  • You have any other concerns.
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Most PCA peels target only the first layer of skin. That’s why the recovery time is much shorter than for a medium or deep peel and why the procedure causes very few side effects.

Superficial PCA peels

Side effects from a superficial peel will affect the treated skin and typically include:

  • shedding or flaking
  • redness
  • tightness
  • dryness

Medium-depth PCA peels

Medium-depth peels can cause more serious side effects, including:

You can lessen your risk of developing these side effects by using a credentialed skin professional for your PCA peel.

PCA peels and other chemical peels are considered cosmetic procedures, so they aren’t covered by medical insurance.

The price depends on:

  • the type of peel you get (superficial or medium)
  • the facility you use
  • whether you need additional products or medications before or after the procedure

Superficial PCA peels are intended to be used in a series, typically 3 to 4 weeks apart.

Based on prices charged by several skin care studios, PCA peels range from $100 to $250 a session. Some clinicians offer discounts for multiple bookings.

Keep in mind that you may want to get regular peels or use cosmetic products to retain the benefits of the peel, so the total cost over time will add up.

Medium-depth chemical peels that contain TCA may cost more. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, minimally invasive chemical peels cost an average of $644 in 2019.

It’s very important to use a certified skin professional when receiving a chemical peel. This will ensure your experience is safe and reduce the risk of side effects or reactions to the peel.

The PCA Skin company trains and certifies skin care professionals to perform the peels. You can locate them on the company website.

You can also find qualified providers for chemical peels through the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ search engine. And you can find a board certified dermatologist using the American Academy of Dermatology’s search tool.

Superficial PCA Skin peels are relatively safe chemical peels that can freshen your skin.

Superficial exfoliating peels also cost less than chemical peels that target deeper skin layers (such as TCA chemical peels). Plus, they have reduced recovery time and less chance of potential side effects.

Use a certified skin professional when getting a PCA peel, and follow their before-and-after care instructions for optimal results.