Call me a masochist, but despite having a back that's frequently smattered with breakouts, I willingly chose a backless dress for my upcoming wedding. I can already feel your judgment and furrowed brows through the screen as I type this, but hear me out: I was determined to clear it up, come hell or high water. And not only for my nuptials and the (very expensive) wedding photos, but for every day following. I often forego delicate tank tops and shoulder-baring shirts, embarrassed by the glaring acne scars and bumps on my back, but acne is treatable, so I didn't have to hide in my own skin. I was bound and determined.
A while back, our former wellness editor Victoria Hoff told me that Stacked Skincare's TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel had cleared up her body breakouts, so I got my hands on a bottle.
- Noticeable results after a few days
- Glowing skin, thanks to lactic acid
- Can use on sensitive skin
- Dark spots are decreased, thanks to salicylic acid and TCA
- Price per ounce is expensive
- Slight burning sensation
Now, I know that bacne is an emotionally debilitating topic for many, and I wouldn't over-sensationalize the results of a treatment, so here goes: This peel is scary-good.
Stacked Skincare TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel
Best for: Acne, bacne, keratosis pilaris, dark spots
Uses: Clears skin while leaving it softer, smoother, and glowing
Star Rating: 4.5/5
Potential allergens: None
Active ingredients: Lactic, trichloroacetic, salicylic, glycolic, and phytic acids
About the brand: Stacked Skincare was developed by esthetician Kerry Benjamin in Los Angeles. The ingredients are created by "stacking" various treatments in one product.
To be honest, I let the product collect dust on my shelf at first, discouraged by the application process (the one I got came with a fan brush and dish add-on, which felt a bit more… involved and was superseded by my laziness). But thinking back to Hoff's rave reviews, I dug the bottle out of my collection and opted to use a Shiseido cotton pad instead, (which made things much easier).
About My Skin: Bacne problems
I know this sounds strange, but one of the main sources of my back blemishes is something called acne mechanica, where sweat and oil mixed with friction causes the skin to break out. One remedy that's helped is limiting my bra wear. In the summertime, my breakouts are mostly centralized to my shoulder blades and upper back, right where my bra straps rub. I get this isn't a feasible workaround for full-chested girls, so a strapless bra or a backless silicone bra will work too.
The Feel: Tingly
Back to the TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel, on contact, it's quite tingly and delivers a slight burning sensation but nothing unmanageable. It's a lightweight and fragrance-free consistency. After a few swipes along the affected area, it dried within seconds, the tingling wore off, and I went to sleep with dreams of having less "texture" the next morning. You only need to apply a thin layer to the skin, and no rinsing is necessary.
The Ingredients: Powerful and effective
- Lactic acid: Lactic acid hydrates and brightens the skin. It is an exfoliating acid to help smooth skin.
- Trichloroacetic acid: This acid helps with removing damaged dead cells, leaving skin smooth. It is great for improving texture and removing PIH from breakouts.
- Salicylic acid: This is a beta hydroxy (oil soluble) acid that helps exfoliate the skin, targets harmful bacteria that causes breakouts, and helps with oil control. This acid decreases swelling and redness in the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
The Results: Instant and noticeable
The morning after I applied it, my back was noticeably clearer and the hyperpigmentation from scarring had faded considerably. The next few days were when the real magic happened, though. By day four, upon checking my back in the bathroom mirror, I had to do a double take: My breakouts were almost completely gone. I could've cried happy tears in that moment. Finally, a solution. Not only that, but my skin didn't feel dry—instead it was bright, soft, and glowing. A total win-win.
My breakouts were almost completely gone. I could've cried happy tears in that moment.
The Value: Worth the investment
While this product is an investment, it's because you're paying for results. The powerful and effective ingredients provide quick and long-lasting results when used properly. It's recommended you use the product one to two times a week. Skin is transformed and the differences are noticeable.
Similar Products: You have options
While Stacked's body peel has been the clear winner in my search for back-clearing products, I've found some worthy runners-up, too.
Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads: Pre-soaked pads make the application process even easier. These $46 pads are filled with 2 percent salicylic acid and 10 percent glycolic acid meant to deeply exfoliate and turn over new cells.
Murad Acne Body Wash: Another glycolic and salicylic dynamic duo, this body wash ($45) rinses away acne without any unnecessary additives like parabens or phthalates.
Our Verdict: We approve
For visible and quick results to dark spots, acne, eczema, and if you're like me, specifically bacne, I highly recommend you try the Stacked Skincare's TCA Multi-Acid Body Peel—you won't be disappointed. Gone are the days of having to worry about any scars or acne problem areas when out and about.
Sharquie KE, Al-Dhalimi MA, Noaimi AA, Al-Sultany HA. Lactic acid as a new therapeutic peeling agent in the treatment of lifa disease (frictional dermal melanosis). Indian J Dermatol. 2012;57(6):444-448. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.103063
Rendon MI, Berson DS, Cohen JL, Roberts WE, Starker I, Wang B. Evidence and considerations in the application of chemical peels in skin disorders and aesthetic resurfacing. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(7):32-43.
Kornhauser A, Coelho SG, Hearing VJ. Applications of hydroxy acids: classification, mechanisms, and photoactivity. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2010;3:135-142. doi:10.2147/CCID.S9042
Davis EC, Callender VD. Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation: a review of the epidemiology, clinical features, and treatment options in skin of color. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(7):20-31.
Lu J, Cong T, Wen X, et al. Salicylic acid treats acne vulgaris by suppressing AMPK/SREBP1 pathway in sebocytes. Exp Dermatol. 2019;28(7):786-794. doi:10.1111/exd.13934