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The TCA peel is a great non-surgical procedure to improve skin imperfections by peeling away the skin’s damaged outer layers. A TCA peel can resurface skin to reduce wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes and mouth, sun spots, age spots, freckles, blotchy skin, mild scarring, some types of acne, and actinic keratoses or pre-cancerous lesions. A pre-treatment cream is prescribed for use a week or more prior to a peel for optimal results. The pre-treatment cream contains Retin-A and Hydroquinone which thin out the skin’s surface layer and lighten blotchy skin areas, allowing the TCA solution to penetrate more deeply and evenly.
The procedure is done in our office and takes no more than 15 minutes. A chemical solution is applied using a cotton pad to the areas to be treated. The peeling solution is left in place for several minutes and then thoroughly neutralized or removed with water. During the procedure the patient may feel a warm or burning sensation that is followed by some stinging. The deeper a peel penetrates, the more visible results will be achieved, but the recovery period may be longer. Patients are instructed to wear sunblock and limit exposure to the sun to prevent future skin damage. After healing, the skin is lighter in color, tighter, smoother, and younger looking.
Recovery Time for a TCA Peel
Recovery time depends on the depth of the peel performed and the areas treated. Most patients can return to work at one week post peel. If the patient has the ability to work from home, they would not have to miss any work as this procedure is not painful. Most people who work with the public often don’t return to work right away because the face will have noticable redness, possible swelling, and scabbing as skin flakes off and rejuvinates. After a week, your face may still be pink but is easily hidden with mineral makeup. With all peels, it is important to avoid sun exposure for several months to protect the newly formed layers of skin. Continuous daily use of a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection is essential after any peeling procedure.
Possible Risks and Complications
Before you undergo any peel, tell the doctor if you have a history of cold sores, a tendency to scar unusally, a family history of heart problems, or have undergone radiation or numerous x-rays to the face. Darker skin types are at a higher risk for hyperpigmentation and skin discoloration.