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TCA peel

The TCA peel is a medium-strength chemical peel designed to strip away damaged outer layers of the skin.

Before You Go

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • Is there a specific TCA peel brand you would recommend for my skin if I choose to have a go at it at home?
  • What's the lowest concentration of a TCA peel I can receive that will eliminate my skin concerns without overdoing it?

Pre-procedure prep for TCA peel: Exfoliating within a month of a TCA peel can spoil the outcome of the treatment, so hold off on scrubbing, even if it's part of your daily routine. For an even peel, apply a mild AHA or Retin-A cream for the two weeks leading up to treatment. Avoid hair removal in the area to be treated in the weeks before to avoid severe post-peel irritation. These directions should be followed for a month afterwards as well.

On the day of treatment: Don't shave the day of a TCA peel. This could cause your skin to become irritated after your peel.

What To Expect

After cleansing the skin and removing its natural oils with a store-bought alcohol pad, the TCA is applied using a cotton swab or pad. Because the skin around the eyes is fragile and could react poorly to the chemicals, the solution should be kept away with the use of a basic ointment. The solution is working in full force when a white frosted layer forms on the skin.

If no such coating appears, a second or even a third layer can be applied. After four minutes, the excess solution will be removed. Expect your skin to be pink or red after a TCA peel.

Who should do it: See a dermatologist or skin technician who can control the acidic solution and its effects. A physician is likely to be more aware of the percentage of the solution that should be applied to suit your skin's individual needs. TCA peels can be applied in a dermatologist's office.

Duration: The chemical peel is left on your skin for 15 to 30 minutes until a white frosting materializes. Four minutes after this, the solution is washed off.

How Painful Is It?

A TCA peel yields stronger results than weaker peels - and is more painful as well. Not only will it cause a tingling or burning sensation during the treatment for about thirty minutes, but it can bring discomfort and swelling for up to a week.

Options for anesthesia: For a powerful TCA peel, ask your doctor about a topical anesthetic beforehand. Weaker concentrations probably won't call for this.

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