What is a TCA?

TCA or trichloroacetic acid is the most commonly used medium depth peel solution. They are ideal for men or women who want more than a superficial peel but do not want the expense or recovery time of a deeper peel. TCA is effective in promoting skin softness and vitality.

What is a TCA treatment?

TCA is a medium depth peel which provides improvement in many different skin conditions after a period of recovery. It is the most popular and reliable treatment for skin imperfections. TCA preparations are used in varying concentrations from ten percent to fifty percent. The higher the concentration of trichloroacetic acid, the deeper the peel will penetrate. Twenty-five percent is the most commonly used strength for the treatment of most skin conditions.

Am I a candidate for a TCA treatment?

TCA peels are great for men or women who want to promote skin softness and vitality. TCA peel treatments, unlike deeper peel solutions, are safely performed on people with olive or light brown skin. The drawback to a TCA peel is the skin appears to have severe sunburn for about a week following the treatment TCA peels are not only great for facial rejuvenation, but they are excellent for body imperfections as well.

Is a TCA treatment safe for me?

TCA peels are very safe and effective. TCA solutions come in various strengths. Deeper treatments should be performed only with the supervision of a physician.

How will the TCA treatment work for me?

TCA peels make the skin look luminous and build collagen. These peels not only reduce the signs of aging, but protect against skin cancers by removing sun damaged skin cells. The epidermis (outer layer of skin) and dermis (deeper skin layer) become thicker, more elastic and more resilient with increased capacity to retain hydration, resulting in more beautiful, youthful skin.

How will I benefit from a TCA treatment?

  • Improved collagen and elastin or tone and firmness
  • Reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduction in acne scars and dark spots
  • Lighten or diminish tattoos (Tattoos will progressively lighten with each treatment results depend on the darkness and depth of the tattoo).
  • Improve skin color and texture
  • Reduction in superficial discoloration
  • Skin looks refreshed
  • Reduces dark circles under the eyes
  • Removes skin tags

Is a TCA treatment painful?

You will experience a burning sensation during the treatment. We will offer pain medication to make you comfortable.

What can I expect during a TCA treatment?

TCA peels are a little more involved than superficial peels. It is important to prep your skin to insure overall great results. Preparing your skin before your medium depth TCA treatment will result in deeper penetration of the solution, faster recovery and lower risk for discoloration.

Skin Preparation

Skin preparation is achieved by applying Retin-A, glycolic based products and a bleaching agent daily, for a period of four to six week, prior to your treatment. We facilitate the effectiveness of these products with a microdermabrasion (a mechanical skin exfoliation) treatment. Retin-a will promote the shedding of dead, superficial layers, allowing the TCA chemical agent to penetrate deeper. Retin-a will also stimulate your skin to regenerate and heal quicker. If you have darker skin you will use a bleaching agent before and after the treatment to prevent blotchy skin.
We implement this protocol and require your strict adherence to it for your safety and to insure your best possible result.

The Peel Procedure

Once you have done the appropriate preparation, you are ready for the procedure.
Depending on your treatment goals, allow fifteen to sixty minutes of time, for completion of the peel. Expect intense burning during the peeling agent application which will last about two to ten minutes. Medication is provided, however, to minimize your discomfort. The solution is applied to the skin one area at a time. When the desired depth has been achieved, the solution is neutralized with iced saline. Once the ice is applied you will have no further discomfort. Your skin is covered with an ointment to keep your skin moist and promote healing. You will not need any medication in the days to follow.

What will I notice immediately after a TCA treatment?

There is no discomfort following the procedure. You will physically be able to return to work immediately following the treatment, however your appearance may preclude this. You will wash your face twice daily with gentle soap and water, followed by an application of the healing ointment. Your face will initially appear red. Within a few days the superficial layers of your skin will turn dark, become stiff, and resemble leather. A person having a medium peel must keep the treated skin out of the sun and protected with an antibacterial ointment for about one week then your skin will flake and peel. Flaking is usually completed in four to seven days. There will be no open wounds and no scabs.
Once your old skin has sloughed, your new skin will be bright and flushed. You may begin wearing makeup if you choose to go out into the public. We recommend Jane Iredale mineral makeup because it will encourage healing. You can comfortably return to the public within seven days.
You should resume skincare within two weeks of your procedure. Your flushed appearance will fade slowly over several weeks.

Are there any contraindications to a TCA Peel?

  • People with dark skin are at risk of skin discoloration.
  • Recurring facial warts
  • Prior bad reaction to a peel
  • Cold sores
  • History of sun allergies
  • Recent radiation treatment for cancer
  • Keloid or hypertrophy scars (thick scars)
  • Pregnant or breast feeding
  • Accutane use within the last six months. Accutane should not be taken for at least six months after the treatment
  • Sunburns or significant sun exposure in the last two days
  • Surgery or cryosurgery within the last six weeks to the area that is to be treated

What are the side effects of a TCA treatment?

The first week after the peel your skin may be red and swollen. The most common side effect is brown discoloration of the skin. This generally happens when people expose themselves to the sun with out the use of sunscreen. If you are prone to cold sores, you may have a flare up. We recommend you take Lysine or Valtrex, one to two weeks prior to the treatment.

When do you notice results from a TCA treatment?

Skin condition and overall health are factors in determining whether your outcome or how soon you will see improvement after the treatment.

How long does the results from a TCA treatment last?

The results form a medium depth peel can last from six months to two years. If you use skincare products following the peel and avoid excessive, unprotected sun exposure, you will maximize the duration of your improvement. Most people choose medium chemical peels as the mainstay of their facial rejuvenation and have a repeat treatment every six to twelve months.

Are other conditions treated with TCA treatments?

TCA solutions will also treat warts, moles and skin tags. Treating these skin issues does not require all of the steps as for a facial peel. After cleansing the area to be treated, the solution is applied just to the growths, avoiding the surrounding skin. The growths should turn a white “frost” after applying one-to-four coats. The solution is then rinsed off after about four minutes. The “frost” will fade after twenty-to-thirty minutes. You will keep the area moist with healing ointment. The growths should peel off within a week. If portions remain the solution is applied a second time.
TCA treatments will not do anything for acne scars or dynamic (deeper) wrinkles.