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What is a TCA peel?

Dr. Doris Day, MD
Dermatology
Tricholoracetic acid can be used for superficial peels or deeper peels depending on the concentration. The goal is to eliminate the surface layers known as the epidermis of dead skin, or go to the deeper layers, to the level known as the papillary dermis. At this level more care needs to be taken since the risk of scarring increases. The peel is used in spot treatments for acne scarring, or to the whole face for people with extensive sun damage. TCA comes in concentrations of 5% to 50% for use as a peel. The higher the concentration of the TCA, the deeper the peel, and the higher the risk of scarring. After the deeper level TCA peels, your skin will initially appear frosty white, and then it will turn a deep red before turning dark brown about three days later and then peeling off over then next few days. Within one week to ten days, new skin that is fresh and radiant will appear. You may want to take some time off work or make sure you don’t have any major social engagements for about one week to ten days after the peel since the process can look unsightly for that one week period. But ultimately, fine lines will be erased, age spots will be diminished, and collagen production will be stimulated. Your skin will look and act younger.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.