TCA peels are used to improve fine wrinkles and scars and diminish blemishes, discolorations, blotches and pigmentation abnormalities. Deep wrinkles, pronounced scars and pre-cancerous growths will be largely unaffected by trichloroacetic acid. In the case of pre-cancers, known as actinic keratoses, photodynamic therapy is a highly effective treatment.
TCA removes the outer 2 layers of skin (epidermis) and therefore decreases the depth of wrinkles and fine lines; also improves discolorations and age spots. After your TCA peel, you skin is lighter, tighter, smoother and more evenly textured.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
- Improves fine surface wrinkles
- Lessens superficial blemishes
- Helps blend pigmentation problems
- Can be used on hands, neck or other body areas
- May require pre-treatment with Retin-A or AHA creams
- Treatment takes only 10-15 minutes
- Peel depth can be adjusted
- Repeat treatment may be needed to maintain results
- Sunblock must be used for several months
Your TCA Peel
Typically, your skin is first thoroughly cleansed. Then the TCA solution will be carefully applied to your skin. You may feel a stinging sensation with lower level peel strengths as the peel solution is applied, but this feeling will quickly pass. The more concentrated levels will cause a burning sensation that stops in about 3 to 4 minutes.
A full-face TCA peel usually takes no more than 15 minutes. Two or more TCA peels may be needed to obtain the desired result, and those may be spaced out over several months. Mild TCA peels may be repeated as often as every month.
How TCA Peels Work
Trichloracetic acid (TCA) peels work by coagulating protein. Typical strengths used vary from 15% up to 50% (although when treating acne scars, higher strengths are used with great success). TCA peels may or may not contain dyes to make them blue. (Most people have heard of Blue Peel. which includes a blue dye so it is visually easy to apply.)
TCA peels are applied to the skin after a thorough cleansing with acetone or other degreasing agent. This is done to assure an even peel. We will taper the strength by applying a slightly lower strength to the ears and neck in order to avoid a major difference in skin tone between the areas.
Because the peel can be uncomfortable, we typically use ice water and fans when peeling up to 35% TCA. For higher concentrations, we may prescribe a moderate pain or anxiety medication.
The Peeling Process
Within a few days, your superficial layers of skin will turn dark, become stiff, and resemble leather. They will then crack, flake, and peel. Flaking is usually complete in four to seven days. There will be no open wounds and no scabs.
Immediately post treatment your skin will appear as if it has been sunburned. Expect some redness for about 10 days to 2 weeks. If you do not have several days to recover from a TCA Peel, you may wish to instead select a series of light glycolic peels that do not involve downtime or heavy peeling or fractional laser resurfacing
With a TCA peel, the moderate discomfort and mild swelling you may experience will subside within the first week. In about a week to ten days, your new skin will be apparent and you should be healed sufficiently to return to your normal activities. You should avoid sun exposure unless you are adequately protected with a hat and protective sun block.
Glycolic Acid Skin Peels for lighter peeling and no to low downtime peels
Photo Dynamic Therapy for skin rejuvenation
PDT for resistant acne
Fractional Laser for skin resurfacing
Cosmelan for control of hyperpigmentation
Microdermabrasion for skin resurfacing and collagen stimulation
IPL Photofacial for light-based treatment of sun damage
During your office consultation you will be provided with a detailed plan of the treatments that will benefit you most. Initial Consultations are Complimentary and there is no fee.
Please contact us by phone or email with any questions you may have or request an appointment online for your complimentary consultation.
* Individual Results May Vary