What is a chemical peel?
Chemical peeling is the process of peeling the skin using a chemical. The chemical peel removes the outer layers of the skin, removes sun and liver spots and rough scaly patches, reduces freckles and irregular pigmentation and thus revealing the underlying layer, which is newer and smoother in texture.
What is TCA?
Tricholoracetic acid (TCA) is a chemical solution. It is a strong acid made by chlorinating acetic acid - and is widely used as a chemical skin peel.
TCA chemical peels are generally referred to as a "medium depth" chemical peel. People that would benefit from a TCA chemical peel treatment are those individuals with fine surface wrinkles, pigment discoloration, (blemishes and blotches), age (liver) spots, superficial acne scarring and dark circles under the eyes.
How does a TCA Chemical Peel work?
Before the chemical is applied, the skin of the face is thoroughly cleaned with an agent to remove excess oils. The eyes and hair are protected from contact with the acid. The medical aesthetician then applies the chemical to the face. TCA peels will cause a slight burning sensation that will last about two to ten minutes. In most cases, an anesthetic is not required because the chemical itself acts as an anesthetic; however, a relaxing sedative may be used. When the desired depth has been achieved, your physician will neutralize the peel by applying iced saline. Once all areas have been neutralized, your skin will return to its normal color in 15 to 45 minutes. Your face will be covered with an oil-based ointment, steroid ointment, or vegetable shortening to keep your skin moist and promote healing.
What are the advantages of a TCA peel?
The advantage of the technique of tricholoracetic (TCA) acid application is that the degree and depth of penetration within the skin can be controlled accurately according to specific requirements. TCA chemical peels provide an intermediate level of improvement at an intermediate cost and recovery period. They are ideal for individuals who want more than a superficial peel, but cannot afford the expense or recovery time of a deeper treatment.
Are there any side effects?
A crust or scab may form on the treated area and there may be significant swelling. The swelling will subside within the first week. After about 10 days, the new skin should be apparent and healing should have progressed enough to allow a return to normal activities. Your flushed appearance will fade slowly over several weeks. Unlike deep peels, medium peels may be performed safely on people with olive and light brown skin. However, people with dark brown skin are at a higher risk of discoloration.
How long will my treatment last?
Medium chemical peels will last six months to two years. If you use skin care products regularly after your peel, you will maximize the duration of improvement. Most women who choose medium chemical peels as the mainstay of their facial rejuvenation have a repeat peel every six to twelve months.