TCA Chemical Peels

What is a TCA chemical peel?

“TCA” stands for trichloracetic acid – a safe, non-toxic chemical used for facial peel treatments. The “acid” in TCA is very mild, a similar substance to vinegar. When the TCA is applied to the skin’s epidermis, the top layers of cells dry and peel over a period of 5-7 days, resulting in smoother, rejuvenated, and younger-looking skin.

Does a TCA “exfolilate” the skin?

TCA peels provide a much deeper exfoliation than a typical aesthetic facial peel, salon facial or microdermabrasion. However, it is not as invasive as laser resurfacing so the recovery time is faster. TCA peels may also be done in conjunction with other facial treatments or surgical procedures such as a facelift, necklift, pan facial rejuvenation, or facial feminization surgery (FFS).

TCA chemical peels are ideal for treating several skin conditions:

  • Freckles, blemishes, and uneven pigmentation
  • Wrinkles, fine lines, enlarged pores
  • Acne scarring and other scars
  • Sun damage and “sun spots”

Is a TCA peel just for the face? Or can it be used on other parts of the body?

TCA peels may also can be safely applied to other sensitive skin areas in other parts of the body such as the décolletage (cleavage), neck, hands, or the back. Often it is used to improve the texture and tone and improve the appearance of sun damage on the arms and legs.

The TCA chemical peel process:

A typical TCA facial peel takes no more than 20-25 minutes but be prepared to spend at least 45 minutes in our office to allow for preparation time. To begin with, our Board Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist will thoroughly cleanse your skin. She will then apply the TCA solution to your skin in several coats. At this stage you may feel a mild stinging sensation but this is normal and will pass quickly. Recovery time varies from patient to patient, but usually it takes anywhere from 5 to 12 days depending on the strength and depth of your peel.

How many TCA peels will I need to fix my skin problem?

Most often, more than one TCA peel will be needed to obtain your desired result. TCA peels are ideally spaced out over several months to allow your skin to heal and rejuvenate between treatments. Your Aesthetic Nurse will advise you as to a recommended treatment plan based on your skin’s condition and desired results.

Aftercare for your TCA peel is important.

After your TCA chemical peel your skin will be generating new cell growth so it will need extra protection from the elements. To protect your newly rejuvenated skin you are advised to diligently avoid all sun exposure for about 3-6 months after treatment — even in winter or if you live in a cold climate.

Jennifer Fick, your Board Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist will recommend an aftercare program that includes recommended sun protection products and skincare tips.