TCA peels, trichloroacetic acid peels, are medium strength chemical peels that rejuvenate and repair your skin. They improve skin discoloration, reduce fine lines, and even out skin texture. They also cause your skin to physically peel, so they will require around a week of downtime. However, the results are usually well worth the wait!
This section explains what happens during the various stages of the TCA peeling process and what you can expect from a TCA peel, whether you get one professionally done or give yourself one at-home.
What do TCA peels do?
TCA peels are medium depth peels, ranging from 8% to 30% strengths. Though their concentrations might not be as high as other chemical peels, TCA peels are considered much deeper peels than lactic acid and glycolic acid peels. For instance, a 75% glycolic acid peel never made me peel, but a 12.5% TCA peel had my skin peeling for days.
TCA peels brighten and even out your skin tone by reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation (dark spots, acne marks, sun spots, freckles) and skin discoloration. They revitalize dull-looking skin, helping skin look soft and smooth. Because of their deep exfoliating effects, TCA peels can clean out congested pores to refine the surface of your skin. Unfortunately, they don’t work as well for acne scars or moles, but they can minimize the appearance of skin tags. TCA peels are also great for erasing fine wrinkles and treating sun damage.
TCA peels can be used on the face, neck, or back of the hands. They can also be used all over the face or just as a spot peel. One TCA peel will give better results than one glycolic acid peel, but more than one TCA peel is still necessary for the best results. Results generally last around 6 months, but they can last even longer when supplemented with glycolic or lactic acid peels every two weeks.
Where do you get TCA peels?
You can get TCA peels of varying percentages from your local dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or aesthetician. They are also available as at-home peels. However, TCA peels are not to be taken lightly! Doing them at home by yourself can be dangerous if you don’t follow the proper instructions.
What to expect from a TCA peel?
TCA peels are serious peels with about 7-10 days worth of downtime. If you are considering getting one done, definitely schedule some time off of work and clear your calendar because you don’t want to get any sun exposure after the peel and you’ll probably look too red and flaky to be presentable.
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