TCA Chemical Peels
- About TCA Chemical Peels
- What can I expect?
- Safety / side effects
- Before treatment instructions
- After treatment instructions
Your skin is a living organ made up of millions of cells. Everyday thousands of these cells die and fall off, then replaced with new cells from below. Unfortunately, as we age, this becomes a slower and more haphazard process, making your skin unable to shed dark blotches or sun damage, which results in a dull, lifeless complexion.
The function of a TCA chemical peel is to create an even, controlled shedding of several layers of damaged cells. This exposes a new fresh layer of skin with a more even color and a smoother texture. In addition, the TCA chemical peel stimulates new cells to grow, thereby tightening the skin, decreasing wrinkles.
At The Menkes Clinic, Dr. Menkes and Dr. Soohoo use different strengths Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) to treat the skin, depending on the patient's needs. TCA is a non-toxic chemical which has been used to perform skin peels for many years. TCA chemical peels have the advantage of creating a fresh, natural appearing complexion, while preserving the normal skin color. For this reason, they are often referred to as "freshening peels".
TCA chemical peels can effectively improve many uneven skin conditions, including:
- Shallow acne scars
- Dull, weathered skin
- Blotchy hyperpigmentation (including the "mask of pregnancy")
- Sun damage (including precancerous lesions)
- Fine wrinkles
TCA Chemical Peel Benefits:
- Smoother, younger looking skin
- More even toned skin
- Improved skin texture
- Lighten acne scars
Our doctors will decide the strength of the TCA solution, the duration and the depth based on your skin's condition.
TCA chemical peels generally take 15-60 minutes from start to finish. Once the peel is applied to the skin, you may experience a burning sensation. Once the desired peel depth has been reached, an iced saline is applied to neutralize the peel. After the peel is complete, we will cover your face with an ointment to keep it moist and help protect the fresh skin. Pain medicine may be used for any minor discomfort.
TCA chemical peels are very safe when performed by a doctor. Side effects may include brown discoloration of the skin, however this only happens to those who have exposed the treated area to excessive sun exposure.
You should not have a TCA chemical peel if you have:
- Used Accutane within the past 6 months.
- Pregnant or nursing
- Cancer radiation treatment
- Stop the use of exfoliating sponges or pads 2 weeks prior to your peel
- You may start using a mild alpha hydroxy acid cream 2 weeks prior to your treatment to prep the skin for the chemical peel
- Avoid direct sun light and tanning prior to your treatment
- Arrive at your appointment with the desired treatment area clean and free of makeup or moisturizers
After your TCA chemical peel is complete, your skin will be flushed and red. This will slowly fade over the next few weeks. After a few days, the treated skin will slowly begin to crack and flake off, continuing to do so for up to 7 days. Typically most patients are able to resume normal activities immediately.
You may wash the treated area with mild soap and water. Do not use anything abrasive on the skin. Be sure to keep the skin moisturized and apply a sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF. You may apply make-up one week after the treatment as long as there's no crusting or soreness.
TCA chemical peels generally last 6 months to 2 years. Using appropriate skin care products can help maintain your new skin even longer. Touch-up peels may be performed 4-6 weeks after your first peel, if needed.