TCA Peels

Trichloroacetic Acid Peel

If you would like to improve the overall smoothness of your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, a TCA peel may be right for you. TCA stands for trichloroacetic acid and is considered to be what is called a medium chemical peel. Basically, a solution of TCA is applied to your skin where it burns the upper layer of skin to a predetermined depth. After a few days, the burned skin becomes leathery and eventually peels off, revealing healthy, flushed, youthful skin underneath.

Now before the word “burn” scares you off, be assured that the burning won’t cause damage to your skin. In fact, a TCA Peel is a most innovative way to easily and optimally rejuvenate the skin.

Pros of a TCA Peel

A TCA peel can improve the overall color and freshness of your face while evening out your skin tone and texture. It can also help reduce the visibility of age spots and fine wrinkles and improve blotchiness and, in some cases, those dark circles under the eyes.

TCA peels are also safe and can be repeated every three to six months for optimal results. And, since TCA peels are medium peels (as opposed to deep peels), they are safe for people with olive and light brown skin. They have also been successful on darker skin tones, but the risk of discoloration is higher, the darker the skin tone.

TCA peels are an effective treatment for:

  • Dull-looking skin
  • Freckles
  • Uneven pigmentation (including melasma)
  • Sun damage (including premalignant lesions)
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Shallow scars caused by acne

Cons of a TCA Peel

While a TCA peel can improve the appearance of fine lines and shallow wrinkles, it will not improve dynamic wrinkles or deep acne scarring. Also, in order to keep up the improved appearance a TCA peel will give you, you may need to repeat the procedure as often as every three months. With the right skincare regimen, some patients can go as long as a year between peels, but it is much more common to see patients repeat the procedure at least every six months.

How to Prepare for a TCA Peel

If you properly prepare your skin for your TCA peel, your peel will penetrate more deeply, giving you longer-lasting results. Proper preparation can also help speed up your recovery time and lower your risk of discoloration. Start six weeks to a month out, by applying a product containing tretinoin daily. The tretinoin is a derivative of vitamin A and will help you shed your outermost layers of skin, resulting in deeper penetration of the TCA and will also stimulate your skin to regenerate more rapidly. If your skin tone is darker, a bleaching agent may also help even out the effects of a TCA peel.

What to Expect

A TCA peel can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. The procedure is very simple – the surgeon applies the TCA solution to one area of your skin at a time and allows it to reach the desired depth. Once it has, the surgeon neutralizes the burning process with iced saline and moves on to another area to repeat the process. The burning sensation lasts anywhere from two to ten minutes, but stops after the iced saline is applied.

After the procedure, your face will return to its normal color within an hour and you will be given an ointment to apply. There should be no discomfort after the procedure is over. Over the next week, your outer layers of skin will stiffen, crack, flake and peel. Even though that sounds bad, it is really something like the effects of a sunburn, but without the itching and burning. That said, most patients elect to stay out of the public eye for a week while these superficial layers are shed.


A TCA peel will result in providing your face with a new, fresh layer of skin and pores with a more even color and a smoother texture. In addition, the TCA peel stimulates new cells to grow, thereby tightening the skin and decreasing lines and wrinkles.

If you decide that you are interested in a TCA peel, you will need to have a consultation with our Registered Nurse and Skin Health Specialist to discuss the benefits and risks of a TCA peel for your particular skin type and condition. Let us help you erase lines and wrinkles, and improve the health of your pores and skin. With clients from all over the Tampa Bay area, our TCA and Blue Peel center is conveniently located to serve you better.

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Please contact The Tampa Bay Cosmetic Surgery Center or call (727) 522-3223 for more information and a personal consultation.

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