Chemical peels remove the damaged layers of skin to make skin smoother, reduce scarring and remove blemishes. Each year thousands of these treatments are performed in the United States. A chemical peel is applied to the skin to remove dead skin cells while stimulating the production of new skin cells. These peels tighten the skin, reduce wrinkling, and restore a more youthful appearance.
Ranging from mild to strong, there are three types of chemical peels: alphahydroxy acid (AHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and phenol peels. The strength of each peel is tailored to the patient. Peels can be combined with other procedures, such as a Face-Lift, for additional improvement to skin.
In most cases, Dr. Long recommends the TCA peel (trichloroacetic acid) for his cosmetic patients due to its versatility, efficacy and safety. The procedure is usually performed in the office or in a hospital or outpatient surgical center when combined with other surgical procedures. Anesthesia for a straight TCA peel is not required because the solution has inherent anesthetic properties.
TCA chemical Peel FAQ:
How do TCA chemical peels work and what are the different peel depths?
All peels, including the TCA chemical peel work by removing a layer of sun damaged skin. Superficial or “light” peels remove only the top layer of skin called the stratum corneum. Progressing from medium to deep peels, the layer of skin removed is thicker with each increase in strength of the TCA solution.
TCA chemical peels can be done at different depths from shallow to deep.
Lighter TCA chemical peels (low strength) are usually done in a series of 3 to 6 sessions to achieve the final result. Medium depth TCA chemical peels are usually done once a year and do require some downtime (usually about a week) while peeling is apparent. Strong TCA chemical peels are usually reserved for certain skin conditions like acne scarring improvement and/ or tightening the lower lid skin.
What areas can be treated with TCA chemical peel?
The face, neck, chest, back, arms, and legs can be treated with a TCA chemical peel. When compared with other skin resurfacing options, TCA chemical peels can be very cost effective since larger areas can be treated with less cost than the laser.
When considering peels in areas other than the face, it’s important to know that these areas do not heal as well as the face, and the desired results are not as predictable.
What are the pros and cons of a TCA chemical peel vs. laser treatments?
TCA chemical peels, when performed under the guidance of Dr. Long who is trained and experienced in this procedure can achieve excellent results and may cost less than an equivalent skin tightening procedure with a laser.
When will I see results from my TCA chemical peel ?
As soon as you finish peeling you will see results (for medium depth peels, the times is about 7 days). Your skin should continue to improve for 30-60 days as long as you are protected from the sun.
What does a TCA peel feel like? Is it painful?
Sensation during application depends on the strength of the TCA used and the depth of the peel. Light or superficial TCA chemical peels are associated with some tickling of the areas treated and it is usually minimal. Moderate and deep TCA chemical peels are associated with some mild stinging and warmth sensation that last just a few minutes. Once the frosting is achieved, there is no residual discomfort since the TCA chemical peel has anesthetic properties.
What to expect during TCA chemical peel
After you arrive , you will be placed comfortably in the aesthetician’s chair. Your skin will be cleansed several times with alcohol swabs. The face is cleansed with alcohol to remove all the oil from the skin so the peel solution will penetrate evenly. The TCA chemical peel solution is applied over several passes. Initially, there is some stinging and a sensation of heat while the peel solution is active. A small handheld fan is used for cooling in this stage. Once the depth of peel is achieved (frosting), antibiotic ointment is applied to speed healing.
What will I look like after treatment with a TCA chemical peel?, What is the healing time?
Immediately after the TCA chemical peel is applied, your treated area will become white (“geisha-like white face ”). Then the treated area will become dark like if you have been tanning extensively in the sun. Then 2 to 3 days after you will start the peeling process (the darkened skin will spontaneously peel) for a period of 4 to 5 days. . During that time your face may become red or intensely pink. This pink color will fade progressively until the 7th day after the procedure. After one week you will be able to see your youthful, tightened, rejuvenated skin.
What are the possible side effects and complications of a TCA chemical peel?
Prior the TCA chemical peel, you will be given specific written instructions on pre-treatment and post-treatment care and expectations. The following are some possible side effects or issues:
Wound Healing Problems
Pigment Changes. The treated area may heal with increased or decreased pigmentation. This occurs most often in darker pigmented skin. These areas usually fade in 3 – 6 months, but changes can be permanent.
Cold Sores – If you are prone to herpes (cold sores, fever blisters), you will be given a prescription for acyclovir or prior to having a Medium Depth Peel.
How should I care for my skin after a TCA chemical peel ?
Dr. Long will give you specific written instructions about how to take care of your skin after a TCA chemical peel.
Why choose Dr. Long for a TCA chemical peel?
Dr. Long is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in cosmetic plastic surgery of the face, neck, breast and body as well as cosmetic injections. His residency, fellowship training and teaching at prestigious institutions have given him a unique set of skills to perform cosmetic surgery. Dr. Long helps his patients look their best working hard to achieve their personal, social, and professional goals by providing natural results.
Why go to a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for a TCA Chemical Peel?
Practitioners who are not residency trained and Board Certified to perform TCA Chemical Peels have been found to suffer a higher rate of complications. One of the most common complaints is minimal improvement, asymmetries, etc. As a patient, you should always seek out a professional with the experience and skill to achieve your personal goals. Always look for a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for your procedure. Always look for the ASPS logo, The Symbol of Excellence.