What is a TCA peel?
TCA stands for trichloracetic acid. TCA peels are used to treat mild to moderate lines and wrinkles, melasma, age spots, brown pigmentation and some forms of scarring. The TCA peel will often take 5-10 years off of the appearance of your face when you have significant abnormal pigmentation.
Your skin will be cleaned very agressively with alcohol to remove all the oils from your skin. The TCA is an acid that we apply to the face. TCA works by precipitating or "cooking" the proteins in the top layer of your skin. As this happens, your skin will turn a frosty white. This is akin to cooking an egg where the proteins turn white as they are cooked. Once the desired level of skin frosting is acheived, cold, ice water will be sprayed on your skin. You will then completely rinse your skin.
Once the procedure is completed, we will apply a thick layer of TrueLipids ointment to your face.
Which areas of the body can be treated with a TCA peel?
While the face is most commonly treated, the neck, chest, and arms can also be treated.
What can I expect from a TCA chemical peel?
You can expect improvement in pigmenation (significant improvement in many people), melasma, fine lines, wrinkles, some forms of scarring, and skin texture.
What is the post-procedure care?
You will use TrueLipids skin protecting ointment on your face for approximately 5 days. This special skin barrier ointment was invented by Dr. Eberting to help the skin to heal itself very quickly. You must apply it to ALL treated areas frequently enough so it is NEVER allowed to dry out at all. You should never see any scabbing or crusting. If you do, you need to apply more of the ointment.
What is the downtime?
Most people are back in action at about six days. At this time you can apply makeup and sunscreen. We do not recommend the application of sunscreen until your skin barrier is healed. Once the skin is healed, it is very important to use sunscreen religiously for at least 21 days. This is the time period in which the top layers of the skin will regenerate.
How is a TCA peel different from a microlaser peel?
The end results are very similar from a TCA peel and a microlaser peel. In many cases, the TCA peel is preferred because the top layer of the skin remains intact with the TCA peel and likely has a lower risk of infection.
What are the risks?
A TCA peel can rarely cause permanent loss of pigmentation or scarring. While this is extremely rare (i.e. we have never seen it in our practice), it is a possiblity. Dr. Eberting, Dr. Stolman and Carolyn Sironen are all very experienced in TCA peels and have achieved beautiful results for many of our patients.