What is a TCA Peel?

Plastic Surgeons Serving San Jose, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Santa Clara & Nearby South Bay, California

Posted: March 14, 2019

TCA (trichloracetic acid) is an analog of acetic acid (like vinegar) and is an active ingredient in many popular chemical peels. When applied to the skin, TCA peels exfoliate the top layer of skin over the course of several days, exposing a smoother and more attractive new layer of skin underneath.

There are several strengths of TCA peels, allowing various formulations to work at different depths in the skin. The TCA formulation that will work best for your needs will depend on factors such as what you are seeking treatment for and the extent of imperfections in the treatment area.

Depending on your needs, we may recommend a light or medium TCA peel. Light peels may take two or three treatments for optimal effects, but medium peels are typically quite effective following one application. During your private and confidential consultation at our Los Altos plastic surgery practice, we can discuss what will be best for your specific needs.

Infographic: What is a TCA Peel? Altos Oaks Plastic Surgery, Los ALtos, California

What Does a TCA Peel Treat?

TCA peels are most common on the face and neck, but can also be applied to the chest, back, arms, and legs. Depending on the strength of the chemical peel, those containing TCA may treat:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Sun damage and spots
  • Irregular skin texture
  • Brown spots and melasma
  • Certain types of acne

Light TCA peels do not require much if any downtime. Medium chemical peels may necessitate a short recovery period. Following both types of peel, however, it is important to take proper care of your skin to help prevent new problems from occurring. This includes keeping skin moisturized and protected from UV rays.

We will be happy to provide suggestions and guidance in choosing the right skin care products to help ensure you are selecting the best and most effective options for your body.

Are TCA Peels Permanent?

Results from a chemical peel will be obvious as soon as the peeling itself has subsided – typically around one week for a medium peel. If you take proper care of your skin, these results may even continue to improve over the next few months. Taking care of your skin will also help extend the results of your chemical peel. Sun damage, in particular, will quickly undo whatever you have accomplished with a TCA peel.

No cosmetic treatments offer permanent results. Environmental factors, lifestyle and dietary habits, stress, and the inevitable march of time will, eventually, take their toll on your skin. We can space your treatments out to help ensure optimal consistency or provide additional treatments for extended and enhanced results.

TCA peels offer ideal results for some patients, but may not be right for all. If you are considering a nonsurgical skin care treatment, call Altos Oaks Plastic Surgery at 650-934-7020 to schedule a consultation and learn which service will best meet your needs.

Located in Los Altos, California, Altos Oaks Plastic Surgery welcomes patients from all surrounding communities including Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Mountain View.