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What Is a TCA Chemical Peel?



TCA  stands for trichloroacetic acid and is a medium chemical peel.

More Info: There are three types of chemical peels used to remove layers of skin ranging from superficial to deep. The type of peel that is chosen by the doctor utilizes a combination of acids the strength of which will address the problem.

TCA Chemical Peel Procedure

The medium chemical peel most commonly includes the use of trichloroacetic acid, though other acid combinations may be used to achieve the same results.   The intent of the medium chemical peel is to penetrate through the epidermis to the upper layer of the dermis.

The TCA peel is performed as an outpatient procedure in a doctor’s office.  The doctor may prescribe a sedative prior to the procedure to reduce the pain of the stinging sensation produced by the acid solution.  The doctor will apply the solution to the problem area until the desired result is achieved at which time a cool saline compress is applied to neutralize the acid.

The burning sensation experienced during the few minutes that the solution is applied to the face will subside when the saline compress is applied.  No further discomfort is generally experienced.

Problems the Medium Chemical Peel Address

The TCA chemical peel can address a variety of skin problems including wrinkles, age spots, skin texture and tone, and acne scars.

Healing Time Following TCA Chemical Peel

For a few days following the procedure the skin will peel and crust.  It may take up to a week for this portion of the healing process to complete. Redness and some swelling may remain.  It can take up to six weeks for the skin to look normal again.



[1] “Chemical Peel.” The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

[2] TCA Peels – Medium Chemical Peel.” Comprehensive Information on Plastic Surgery of the Breast, Body, and Face from Cincinnati Plastic Surgeons. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2011. <>.

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