A trichloracetic acid -- TCA -- peel is a type of chemical peel that is considered a medium-depth peel. Skin professionals use this peel to treat a variety of skin imperfections; it requires a longer recovery time than a superficial peel like a glycolic or alpha hydroxy acid peel. This means your dermatologist or aesthetician may offer special instructions that affect your daily activities, including exercising after undergoing your peel.
Immediately After the Peel
Exercise is not recommended immediately after you have undergone a medium chemical peel. This is because sweating can increase the degree to which your skin peels. The effect can promote uneven skin peeling and red, sore areas on your skin that can cause increased discomfort. Also, immediately after the peel, you will be directed to avoid making facial expressions, washing your face or picking at your skin, all of which you may be tempted to do following exercise. For these reasons, you should avoid exercising immediately after undergoing a TCA peel.
When to Resume Exercise
The right time to return to exercise can depend upon your individual progress following a chemical peel. Because you should avoid sweating after your TCA peel, wait until your skin has begun to heal before resuming exercise. Signs that you may be ready to return to exercise include no red, sore-like spots on the skin. This may take anywhere from five to seven days. If you are unsure if you have healed enough, you may wish to see your physician, who can clear you to exercise.
Which Exercises to Pursue
Because sweating is one of the key reasons you should avoid exercise following a facial peel, you may be able to engage in exercises that do not cause you to sweat excessively 24 hours after your peel. Examples include yoga, tai chi, Pilates or walking. Check with your dermatologist.
Background on How It Works
Because a TCA peel penetrates the skin more deeply than lighter peels, your dermatologist may recommend beginning with a retinol, pigment suppression or alpha hydroxy acid application about one month before undergoing your peel. This helps to initiate the exfoliation process. A TCA peel is applied to freshly cleansed skin and usually after taking a medication to reduce pain. The peel will make your skin feel hot for a few moments and your aesthetician will apply ice compresses to reduce any burning sensation afterward.
While you can expect to experience benefits like reduction in fine lines, smoother skin tone and growth in collagen, it takes some time for your skin to heal following the procedure.
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.