Trichloroacetic Acid TCA instructions
Determine if you are a suitable candidate for a Trichloroacetic Acid. TCA peels can have positive impacts on your skin by removing signs of aging and acne. However, there are certain instances when you should not apply a TCA peel. Do not use a TCA peel if you:
- Have cuts, broken skin, or received a recent facial surgical procedure.
- Have a sunburn.
- Have active Herpes simplex 1 sores.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Have taken Accutane in the last year.
- Have recently received chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Use products that contain alpha hydroxy acids 5-7 days before the peel. In order to prepare your skin for a TCA peel and make the treatment more effective, you should use a face product that contains AHAs, such as glycolic or lactic acids. There are a variety of creams, lotions, and toners available for your skin. Begin using this product approximately five to seven days before applying the peel.
Test the TCA on a small patch of skin. This way you will be able to determine if the acid solution is too strong or if you are allergic to the solution. For example, if you want to apply a TCA peel to your face, you should test a small patch of skin under your ear. This area is out of the way and will not be overly visible if you have a negative reaction. Always test the skin near the area you want to treat.
- Rinse the test patch of skin once it starts to burn.
Wait 48 hours to apply the peel. This way you will know how the peel will react on your skin. If the spot that was tested becomes itchy, red, or bumpy, you should not apply the peel to your skin. This is likely a sign that you are experiencing an allergic reaction.
Applying a TCA Peel
Cleanse your skin. Immediately before you apply a TCA peel, you need to completely clean your skin. If you are applying the TCA peel to your face, you should remove all of your make up. Washing your face will help to remove any surface oils allowing the TCA solution to peel away a layer of skin.
Remove surface oils using a prep solution. Some TCA peels will come with a prep solution that should be applied to your skin prior to administering the peel. These solutions help to fully dry out your skin and remove any lingering surface oils.
- If you did not purchase a prep solution, you can apply witch hazel or diluted rubbing alcohol to your skin using gauze.
Apply petroleum jelly around the eyes, mouth, and nose. If you are applying a TCA peel to your face, you want to protect some sensitive areas from the acid. In order to do this, use a cotton swab to apply a bit of petroleum jelly to your lips, and the skin around your eyes and nostrils. This will prevent the acid from damaging these sensitive areas.
- You may want to wear safety goggles to prevent any TCA solution from dripping into your eyes. You will still have to apply petroleum jelly to your nose and mouth, however.
Put on latex gloves. While working with the TCA solution, you want to be careful that the acid does not touch other areas of skin. As a result, you should always wear latex gloves to protect your hands from the acid. This is especially important if you are applying the TCA using gauze because it will likely come into contact with your fingers.
Pour the TCA solution into a small dish. Place a small dish on your counter and pour some of the TCA solution into the dish. This will make it easy for you to dip your brush or gauze into the solution while you are applying the TCA to your skin.
Use gauze to apply TCA to your skin. Dip a piece of gauze into the TCA solution. Then squeeze the gauze gently. You want the gauze to be wet, but not dripping. This will prevent the solution from running into your eyes. Then apply a thin layer of TCA to the desired area of skin. If you are applying the TCA to your face, you may want to divide the area into sections.
- For example, start by applying the TCA solution to the right side of your face, then the left side, and do the forehead last. This will help prevent you from overlapping the solution.
- You can also apply TCA using a makeup brush, but a brush is more likely to cause dripping.
Wait 2-5 minutes. Once the solution has been applied to your skin, you should wait approximately two to five minutes. The time will vary depending on the strength of the solution, the number of peels you have performed, and your own skin type. It is normal for your skin to turn red and sting a bit while the peel is on your face.
- If your skin begins to frost (i.e. turn white) or sting uncomfortably, you should begin neutralizing immediately by washing the solution off with water.
- This is more likely to occur when using a stronger TCA of 15% or higher.
Apply a post-peel neutralizer to your skin. If you begin to experience frosting, you should apply a post-peel neutralizer to your skin. This typically comes with the TCA peel kit. Apply the neutralizer to your skin using a gauze or a soft cloth dipped in the neutralizer.
- You can also make your own neutralizer by mixing 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 and a half cups (355 ml) of water.
Wash your face with water. After the peel has been on for five minutes, you should wash it off by splashing water onto your face. You can also apply water by dabbing your skin with a wet cloth. This will help to remove the TCA from your skin and will help to neutralize the area.
Apply a healing ointment. Once your skin is dry, apply a healing ointment to the skin. For example, try using emu oil or Bacitracin to help heal your skin following a TCA peel. You should re-apply this solution a few times a day for at least 48 hours following the peel.
Recovering from a TCA Peel
Use SPF 30 sunscreen to protect your skin. Your skin will likely peel for approximately five to seven days following the procedure and during this time you should avoid exposing your skin to the sun. Make sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher during this time.
Avoid picking at your skin. If you used a stronger TCA solution, you skin will likely peel for a few days following the treatment. Do not pick at your skin. Instead, let it peel on its own. Picking the skin can lead to skin damage.
Wait 10-14 days for the final results to appear. Do not apply another peel during this time. Although your skin may stop peeling prior to 14 days, the solution is still working on your face and the results will not fully appear for 10-14 days. Once the results are visible, you can determine if another treatment is necessary. TCA peels are quite strong, so if you notice positive results after the first peel, you likely do not need to perform another peel.