Can I Wear Mineral Makeup After a TCA Peel?

Heavy makeup like this on Katy Perry is a big no-no after a TCA peel.

Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You want everyone to notice your smoother, younger-looking skin after a Trichloroacetic acid or TCA peel -- but you don't want anyone to catch you with that red, swollen and peeling skin in the days immediately following the peel. The results of a TCA peel can be astonishing, but the healing process can be just as embarrassing. You might be able to apply mineral makeup to camouflage your changing skin; but before you reach for your makeup brush, make sure mineral makeup is safe for your freshly TCA-peeled face.

Depth Matters

Just how deep will you go? TCA peels are generally medium-depth peels that reach the middle layer of skin, but some TCA peels are more superficial, exfoliating only the outermost layer of skin. Most physicians OK mineral makeup for medium-depth peels, but every case is different. Only medical professionals can perform the deeper peels -- so if an aesthetician does your peel, you should have the green light to mask that unsightly redness with makeup.

Time Considerations

Eventually you’ll be free to cake on the makeup the way Katy Perry does, but the depth of your peel dictates how long you have to wait before you can get your glam on. If you go for a “lunchtime peel” you should be in and out of the spa on your lunch break, with time to brush on your mineral makeup so your co-workers will never know your skin care secret. With a deeper peel, your recovery time is longer; you may have to suck it up and skip the makeup for several days.

Mineral Benefits

Mineral makeup has grown in popularity because it provides natural-looking coverage and it’s so light you don’t feel like you’re wearing makeup. Plus it doesn’t have any man-made chemicals or preservatives in it, so it’s less likely to irritate your skin. And that’s exactly why it’s the preferred choice after a TCA peel. The chemicals in pressed powder or liquid makeup may infect your skin, so leave your traditional makeup in its case until you’re completely healed from the peel.

Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, only your aesthetician, your nurse or your doctor can decide if and when it’s safe to let you apply mineral makeup on your freshly exposed layer of skin. Your skin will be extra-sensitive from the chemical burn, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and skip the mineral makeup, when in doubt. That peeling sunburned look sucks, but it can get a lot worse if you disobey the doc’s orders. And remember, whether you wear makeup or not, wear sunscreen: A peel leaves your skin extra-sensitive to the sun.

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