TCA ACID USES AND DO’S -DONT’S

TCA is a non-toxic chemical (trichloracetic acid), which has been used to perform skin peels for over 20 years. It is a relative of vinegar (acetic acid.) When TCA is applied to the skin, it causes the top layers of cells to dry up and peel off over a period of several days to one week. When the old skin is peeled off, it exposes a new layer of undamaged skin, which has a smoother texture and more even color.

TCA stands for trichloroacetic acid and is a common agent used for chemical peeling, one type of facial resurfacing. It comes in varying concentrations, allowing for varying depths of peeling (depending on the concentration). TCA peels can help treat pigmentation, discoloration, fine lines and aging grooves.  The downtime and recovery can range from a few days to several weeks, depending on the strength of the peel.

TCA Chemical Peels are considered potent medical-grade peels that work to maximize skin texture, uneven discolorations and wrinkles. They are  highly effective for  aggressive exfoliation and epidermal stimulation. Benefits of a TCA peel would include: improving the skin’s ability to repair and renew itself, erasing signs of aging, melasma, sun-damage, fine  lines , uneven texture, large pores and dull skin after acne breakouts. 

The procedure results in red, swollen, and crusted skin which peels over the weeks following the procedure. This will help improve the skin texture, tone, and reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles and superficial discoloration.

A chemical peel isn’t for everyone. Your doctor might caution against a chemical peel or certain types of chemical peels if you:

  • Have taken the acne medication isotretinoin (Amnesteem, others) in the past six months
  • Have a dark complexion
  • Have red hair and a pale, freckled complexion
  • Have a personal history of ridged areas caused by an overgrowth of scar tissue (keloids)
  • Have abnormal skin pigmentation
  • Have a history of frequent or severe outbreaks of cold sores

So you’ve just had a chemical peel and now you’re left with dry, irritated, peeling skin—all side effects which are perfectly common post-peel.  NOW what?

Do’s:

Treat your skin gently. Instead of using a washcloth on your facial, switch to a gentler option like a baby washcloth . The rough texture of a wash cloth can be too aggravating for skin that is already irritated.

Wear SPF. You’re exposing vulnerable immature cells so you must make sure they don’t get damaged from UV rays. Apply sunscreen daily on the face and neck.

Limit your time outdoors to reduce sun exposure.

Use soothing products with chamomile, azulene and Seawhip to comfort the skin and reduce redness.

Use antioxidants. Since the skin has been traumatized, free radical production is high. Suppress the free radical activity with an antioxidant moisturizer.

 

Don’ts:

Pick at the skin! The whole purpose of a chemical peel is to “burn” off the surface dry, damaged cell layers and reveal younger-looking, healthy new cells. But to do this, the skin has to shed and that’s part that people dislike the most. But picking off dry, flaky skin when it may not be ready to come off can result in scarring and unnecessary redness.

Over-moisturize to compensate for post-peeling dryness. When the skin is peeling and flaky, it’s normal to want to apply heavier moisturizer to alleviate dryness and comfort the irritated skin. The whole purpose of a chemical peel is to peel. So to hydrate peeling skin when it wants to shed off, will not give you the best benefit and prolongs the down-time of the peel. Just use your regular moisturizer and let the skin do what it wants to do.

Exfoliate. It is so important to not remove the dry skin before its time and to let the skin shed naturally. Facial scrubs and acids will only irritate the irritation further and could result in scarring the skin.