What Is a TCA Peel?

What Is a TCA Peel?

by Shearly (SU)

Looking for an exfoliate that targets deep wrinkles and scars, improves and lifts sagging skin, and can significantly renew your complexion after just a few treatments? Then you should consider a TCA peel.

TCA stands for trichloracetic acid, a non-toxic chemical that has been used for more than 20 years as an aesthetic peel. When applied to the face, neck, chest, back, hands or legs, TCA causes the upper layers of old skin cells to dry up and peel off over a period of days, exposing a new layer of undamaged skin that is smoother in texture and more even in color.

As such, TCA peels are most useful in:

  • Reducing age spots;
  • Improving the texture of sun-damaged skin;
  • Reducing melasma (brown patches on the face);
  • Treating certain types of acne; and
  • Reducing fine lines.

Why a TCA peel?

While all peels are designed to remove a layer of damaged skin, light peels only remove the top layer of dead skin called the stratum corneum. Medium to deep peels removes other layers of skin. However, the stronger the peel solution, the greater the risk of complications such as uneven pigment or scarring.

That is why most skin specialists recommend light to medium depth peels. Lighter TCA peels produce the best results after two or three treatments, whereas medium-depth TCA peels are performed once or twice a year and require some downtime - no more than a week – when the peeling is noticeable.

How are TCA peels performed?

A typical TCA peel performed by your dermatologist starts with the cleansing of your skin with a liquid cleanser, alcohol, and acetone so all oil is removed from your skin to allow the peel solution can penetrate evenly. The peel solution is then applied, sometimes in two stages. You’ll feel a slight stinging and warm sensation while the solution is active. Finally, an ointment is applied to speed up the healing process.

What to expect

Before or after the procedure, your doctor will provide you with specific instructions on pre-treatment and post-treatment care, as well as information regarding possible side effects, which may include mild discomfort, redness, swelling, pigment changes, or – rarely – scarring.

Following the procedure, your skin will be a light yellow for one or two hours before the color fades. Then, your skin will be slightly redder for a few days and feel tight. With a medium peel, you will usually shed skin cells for about a week. Once you finish peeling, you will see results. Your skin will continue improving for the next 30-60 days, provided you avoid sun exposure.

Note: If you are considering TCA peels for non-facial areas, they may not heal as well as your face, and may or may not produce the desired results. Also, you should not peel more than a small portion of your body at one time to avoid the risk of potential toxicity.

Environmental factors, stress, genetics, and gravity all play a role in the appearance of your skin. Most of us take our skin for granted until it’s too late, and a combination of factors have given it a lackluster, older appearance.

At the Atlantic Center of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery in South Florida, our skin experts specialize in a variety of aesthetic procedures to brighten and even your skin tone, reduce wrinkles and eliminate unsightly body hair, spider veins, or varicose veins. Interested in TCA peel or any other procedure? Call 954-983-1899 today to make an appointment and learn about all the possibilities out there for you.