Trichloroacetic Acid Chemical Peel (TCA Peel) in South Florida


What is a TCA peel, or chemical peel?

Chemical peels improve the overall appearance of your facial skin by removing the damaged outer layer, and as a result, facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation are virtually eliminated. A variety of peeling agents and formulations can be used, but the most consistent and commonly used agents are alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and phenol.

What are they used for?

Alphahydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels. These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who can't spare long recovery periods. AHA peels may be used to treat fine lines, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne.

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can be used in concentrations of 20% or 35% and is most commonly used for medium to deep peeling. Fine surface wrinkles, superficial blemishes and pigment problems are commonly treated with TCA peels.

Phenol is the strongest of the chemical solutions and produces the deepest peel. It is used mainly to treat deep facial wrinkles, areas of blotchy or damaged skin caused by sun exposure, or pre-cancerous growths.

What is the treatment plan?

Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly or at longer intervals to obtain the best result. An alphahydroxy acid, such as glycolic acid, can also be mixed with a facial wash or cream in lesser concentrations as part of a daily skin-care regimen to improve the skin's texture.

The results of a TCA peel are usually less dramatic and not as long-lasting as those of a phenol peel, but the recovery time is significantly shorter. Since phenol sometimes lightens the treated areas, your skin pigmentation may be a determining factor as to whether or not this is an appropriate treatment for you.

What Skin Conditions Can a TCA Chemical Peel Treat?

TCA chemical peels are used to treat a variety of skin conditions. 

These skin conditions include the following:

  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Sun damage
  • Acne
  • Acne scars
  • Skin dullness
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Mild to moderate skin laxity
  • Rough skin texture
  • Freckles
  • Stretch marks

It is important to discuss the skin conditions you have with one of our professional dermatologists so we can determine the best peel for you.

What Are The Risks of Getting TCA Chemical Peels?

As with any cosmetic procedure, there are risks you need to consider before getting a TCA chemical peel. 

These risks include the following:

  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Hypopigmentation
  • Scarring
  • Increased chance of an infection
  • Redness
  • A flare-up of herpes
  • Having an allergic reaction to the chemicals
  • Sustaining an eye injury

One of our expert dermatologists will discuss these risks in detail during your consultation. If you are apprehensive about these risks, we can offer you safer alternatives to help you achieve your aesthetic goals. 

How Long Does it Take to Recover From a TCA Chemical Peel?

The amount of time it takes to recover from a TCA chemical peel depends on the intensity of the treatment. Superficial peels do not require much downtime, if any at all. It can take up to a week to heal, but you will be able to return to your normal activities right after your appointment. You will need to refrain from being in sunlight for a little while and wear sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher. Medium peels do require a little downtime, typically about a week. Deep peels require you to spend at least two weeks recovering.

How Often Can I Get a TCA Chemical Peel?

The frequency of getting a TCA chemical peel depends on a few factors. These factors include your skin type, concerns, and the intensity of the peel. Deep peels, however, cannot be done back-to-back. For the best results, it is highly recommended to get peels spaced out through several weeks. 

What Makes a TCA Chemical Peel Different From Traditional Chemical Peels?

Although the goal remains the same, TCA chemical peels are more potent than standard peels. This is because they penetrate deeper layers of the skin than superficial peels, which makes them ideal for treating moderate skin conditions. 

Is a TCA Chemical Peel Painful?

It is expected to experience a stinging or tingling sensation once the chemical is applied to your skin. A deep peel, however, can cause you to feel a burning sensation during the first few minutes. Once the peel is complete, you might experience redness, peeling, and tightening, but they are temporary. If they continue to persist or worsen, contact us immediately.

What Are The Contraindications of a TCA Chemical Peel?

There are certain contraindications that can make you ineligible for a TCA chemical peel. These contraindications include pregnancy, having an active skin infection, taking acne medication such as Accutane, having an open wound, having a history of scarring, and being sensitive to the sun.

If you are interested in a TCA peel or another type of chemical peel, please use the form on this page to schedule a consultation at Hollywood Dermatology or visit our contact page for information about our South Florida locations.

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