What is a TCA Peel?
Trichloroacetic Acid, often referred to as TCA, is an effective chemical agent used to exfoliate and renew the skin on a superficial to deep level. This is one of the strongest peels and it is known for delivering exceptional results. TCA is most frequently applied to the face, neck, decollete, hands, and arms, but it can be used on any area of the body. TCA is the only chemical approved by the FDA to treat pre-cancerous lesions, known as Actinic Keratoses.
Why choose a TCA Peel?
Unlike progressive light to medium grade peels, such as Glycolic acid, Salicylic acid, and Jessner’s peels, TCA peels can penetrate deeper into the skin. TCA has the ability to treat a wide variety of skin conditions, which makes it the perfect chemical peel for individuals with multiple concerns.
This peel is recommended for most skin types, particularly normal to oily skin. Sensitive skin should progress to higher product potency over time. TCA is considered a more aggressive treatment for improving acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and uneven skin tone (hyperpigmentation) while increasing collagen and elastin production.
How is this procedure conducted?
The range of depth achieved from a TCA peel varies according to concentration potency, application methods, and of course skin type. The concentration and number of layers applied during the treatment will have a substantial effect on the desired results of a TCA peel. As more coats are applied, the peel will penetrate deeper into the skin until the solution finds the proteins of your skin cells to neutralize itself. This peel is typically associated with an itching sensation that progresses into a stinging sensation and finally, reaches a burning sensation. This typically lasts for about 2-5 minutes. Calming serums and moisturizers, as well as SPF, are applied to the skin after the chemical peel. You will need to follow the post-treatment instructions provided by your paramedical clinical esthetician.
What should I expect after the peel?
The downtime for this peel is moderate. It varies according to individual skin traits and selected concentration/application methods. During the healing process, there is usually little to no pain, but the skin looks as if it has been sun burnt. After a few days (usually day 3 or 4), the top layer of your skin will naturally flake or peel away. This could last for 5-7 days on average, but there is a possibility that it may take longer. This process, in essence, reveals much clearer and smoother skin. If you are not too self-conscious about your appearance, you can work during this time frame.
Sunburn Alert: This product contains Trichloroacetic Acid, which may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and the possibility of sunburn. It is highly recommended that you wear a daily SPF containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide following the peel.
Note: Ethnic skin types should proceed with caution due to an increased risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
How often should I do a TCA Peel?
Although one peel may yield desired results, TCA chemical peels may need to be repeated. Depending on the strength of the TCA, the peel can be done quarterly as a “refresher peel.” If the treatment is intended to solve significant problems or concerns, TCA chemical peels are performed every 4-6 weeks depending on the condition of your skin.