A TCA peel is a non-invasive skin treatment used to treat skin discolorations, scarring, and wrinkles. These peels get their name from trichloroacetic acid (TCA), which is used to clear away dead skin cells to reveal the newer and smoother skin layers below.
TCA peels are part of the group of skin treatments called chemical peels, which are used to exfoliate your skin by using different strengths and combinations of nontoxic acid ingredients.
Chemical peels are a popular, easy way to brighten your complexion and solve common skin problems. But before you go under the peel, it’s important to know the differences between the different types of peels and which one is best for your skin.
Table of Contents
How Chemical Peels Work
Chemical peels dissolve your skin’s topmost layers of dead skin cells.
Here’s how they work: the peel is painted onto the face by a dermatologist or trained cosmetologist. The stronger the formulation and the longer it’s left on, the more powerful the “peel.” The peel is then washed off and you should notice instant results.
There are three basic types of peels, all of which are formulated with acid: Glycolic or salicylic acid (best for oily skin) and trichloroacetic acid (or TCA) which goes super deep.
One thing to note: just because these are called peels doesn’t mean your skin will actually peel. The acids break down the dead skin cells, but the shed skin is so small, you won’t be able to notice. You will know the peel is working when it’s brushed on your skin because it should tingle a little.
- TCA peels are cosmetic treatments that use trichloroacetic acid (TCA) to improve your skin’s appearance.
- The peels come in a variety of strengths or concentrations of acid.
- A TCA peel works by removing dead skin cells and stimulating new skin cell growth.
- People use TCA peels to try to get younger-looking skin and to treat certain skin conditions, like melasma and acne scarring.
- Nearly 130,000 chemical peels were performed by dermatologists in 2018, many using TCA.
- The TCA peel application process sometimes causes temporary side effects such as burning and discomfort.
- After a chemical peel, you may experience redness and skin sensitivity. In rare cases, there is a risk of scarring and infection from a TCA peel.
- Finding a licensed and certified health practitioner to perform the TCA peel will lower your risks of negative side effects.
- The peel itself typically takes about 30 minutes to apply.
- You can resume your regular activities after the peel has been applied, but protecting your skin from the sun is essential as you heal.
- This procedure is available through dermatologists trained in the procedure.
- TCA peels aren’t typically covered by insurance.
- The average cost of a full-face TCA chemical peel is $693. This cost varies according to your region and provider.
- TCA peel results vary according to the results you expect and the reason you’re using the peels.
- Studies show that peels containing TCA have been found to be effective for the treatment of acne and melasma.