Between Botox & filler injections and procedures like facelifts and mini facelifts, there are myriad ways to combat the signs of aging. Some are more invasive, while others are more cosmetic than surgical. One of the more popular non-invasive treatments involves using trichloroacetic acid. More commonly known as TCA chemical peels, they give the skin a more youthful, radiant glow.
Here’s the scoop on TCA chemical peels. Read more to learn what to expect, who’s a candidate, and why it might be the right option for you!
What is a TCA Chemical Peel?
The outer layer of the skin is made up of layers of epidermal skin cells. While these cells provide a layer of defense against environmental dangers, as we age and endure bruises, nicks, cuts, and sun damage, the cells take a beating.
Those cells are held together by microscopic fibers called tonofilaments, which are surrounded by an extracellular–which works as a glue holding all those cells and fibers together. Again, as we age, those cells shed through the body’s natural process of exfoliation.
TCA chemical peels work to dissolve that “glue”, speeding up the natural exfoliation process.
By removing dead skin cells from the affected area, like the face, neck, hands, or other part of the body, TCA peels reduce and minimize the visible signs of aging, like acne scars, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and even wrinkles.
Notably, of the most commonly used chemical peels, TCA penetrates the skin more deeply than glycolic or salicyclic peels. This makes it arguably the most powerful of the chemical peels. This makes it an ideal choice for those with the most visible signs of aging–like scarring or pigmentation issues.
TCA chemical peels can be applied in a variety of concentrations and strengths, from light to medium, depending on a number of factors, including age of the patient, the area of focus, and the number of layers applied during treatment.
Treatment & Recovery: What to Expect
Depending on the strength and concentration of TCA chemicals involved, the chemical peel procedure may vary from patient to patient.
First, your surgeon will apply the TCA solution to your skin–using gauze or an applicator–to the treatment area. As the acid penetrates the outer layers of your skin, it removes the dead skin cells and stimulates growth of new, healthy cells.
After about 5 minutes, we can add more layers–depending on the depth of the treatment.
Once we have applied the desired amount of layers, your surgeon will remove the TCA peel and apply a cold compress to the skin. We then apply a topical, moisturizing ointment to lock in the hydration.
Immediately after a TCA chemical peel treatment, it’s normal for the skin to feel red or swollen. After a few days, the redness and swelling will transition to darkening, crusting, or peeling. This usually subsides within 1-2 weeks.
During the recovery period, we recommend patients avoid picking or peeling at the skin. Use only mild skin cleansers, and if you’re going to be in the sun, choose a sunscreen with a high SPF. Until fully healed, avoid using products with vitamin C, as well as retinoids and other exfoliation products.
Most patients are able to treat discomfort effectively with over-the-counter pain medications like Ibuprofen, Aspirin, or Tylenol. Be sure to schedule and attend your follow-up appointment post-treatment for best results.
Who is A Candidate For TCA Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels are not just for folks who want to reduce the signs of aging.
TCA peels are also a great way to treat a wide variety of skin flaws and conditions. For instance, discoloration, scars, and sun damage.
However, not everyone is a candidate for chemical peels.
Importantly, prospective patients should be free from infections and in good general health. We do not recommend TCA peels for patients with extremely sensitive skin.
Schedule Your Consultation!
TCA chemical peels are one of the best ways to treat imperfections of the skin and restore a healthy, vibrant, youthful look. They’re widely used in the dermatology community to treat a wide variety of skin conditions across a wide spectrum of skin tones and types.
Schedule a consultation today! One of our experienced, knowledgeable surgeons will work with you to find the right chemical peel treatment for you.
During your consultation, we’ll discuss your medical history, your goals, the procedure itself, and even ways to maximize the efficiency of your treatment. This can include moisturizers, creams, and other products you can use to make your treatment last longer and look better!