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TCA Peel Treatment: Is It Worth the Hype & Is It Safe for Your Skin?

By Colleen Lynch

TCA peel

Article At A Glance

  • TCA chemical peels stimulate collagen production, improving skin tone, texture, and firmness, resulting in a youthful appearance.
  • These are safe and customizable in strength and application, effectively addressing diverse skin concerns and catering to different skin types and conditions.

Why do people do chemical peels? If your skin looks and feels dull and dry, a chemical peel may help rejuvenate its appearance. Typically, this treatment helps to reduce the appearance of the following:

  • Acne
  • Sun damage
  • Scarring
  • Wrinkles
  • Other dermatological issues

These peels cover various options, each working differently based on how deeply you want the peel to exfoliate your skin. This post primarily discusses TCA peel treatments, typically favored as a medium-depth option, not quite as deep as Phenol peels.

What Is a Chemical Peel?

How do chemical peels work? Are they worth the hype? You can think of a chemical peel as a skin-resurfacing procedure that relies on a chemical solution to remove damaged skin layers safely.

Typically, your chosen chemical solution causes a controlled superficial wound or injury to the upper layer of the skin. This action triggers your body to shed or peel off the dead, dry, or dull skin. Then, the body works to heal, stimulating new skin cell growth for a fresh-looking, flawless face.

Trichloroacetic Acid Peel Therapy   

Depending on your intended results and level of damage, your dermatologist or skincare expert will suggest a light, medium, or deep chemical peel. TCA peels use trichloroacetic acid to improve the skin’s appearance and come in the following concentrations:   

  • Superficial peel: 10% to 30% TCA   
  • Medium-depth peel: 30% to 40% TCA   
  • Deep chemical peel: 50% or above TCA

Benefits of Chemical Skin Resurfacing with TCA   

The advantages you get from your TCA peel treatment will depend on the concentration. 

A superficial TCA chemical peel can improve your skin texture, give you a more even skin tone, and reduce the number of blackheads and whiteheads on your skin.

Medium-depth TCA chemical peels improve fine lines and wrinkles. While deeper skin exfoliation with TCA peel may also help with skin tightening, 

TCA isn’t the best agent for intense chemical peels; the results are unpredictable.   

How To Prepare for Your Dermatological TCA Treatment?  

The success of your TCA chemical peel depends primarily on how well your skincare provider follows specific directions. Medium-depth chemical peels performed anywhere other than a specialist’s office are bad. Additionally, you should only let a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon perform deep chemical peels on your skin.

Your skin will typically peel for four to ten days after the procedure, so remember to review your calendar beforehand to ensure you don’t have any events coming up. You will also need to strictly avoid any sun exposure and makeup for a couple of days following your treatment. While it may help to prime your skin with retinol or a retinoid before a superficial peel, a physician or aesthetician may advise you to hold off about a week before your medium-depth chemical peel.   

Avoid shaving or waxing a few days before the peel to avoid excess irritation. It’s also good to drink enough water to keep your skin hydrated.

Know What To Expect From Your Professional TCA Peel Procedure

A typical TCA peel treatment procedure shouldn’t last more than a few minutes. Unless you want to remove all your makeup on-site, it’s best to show up to your appointment without makeup.


The professional performing your facial peel will gently degrease your face with acetone. It feels slightly cold. A cleaner skin allows the peel solution to interface with your skin effectively.


Next, they’ll use a cotton tip applicator or gauze pad to apply the peel to your face. You may feel some warmth and a tingling sensation.


In the case of a superficial peel, a fan may help to minimize any discomfort. You may prefer an oral or inhaled analgesic for medium-depth chemical peels.


The professional may need to apply several layers to get to your desired depth of the peel. It depends on your skin’s reaction, so they’ll observe until the peel reaches the endpoint.


The peel will reach the endpoint within three to five minutes, and you will cool your skin with cold water. Finally, they’ll apply a thin balm to protect the freshly exposed skin layer.

Additional Read: Disturbed by Chronic Fatigue? Elevate Your Energy Levels with IV Therapy for Fatigue

Aftercare for the Best Results From Your Chemical Peel

Your provider should explain all the aftercare requirements in detail once they complete your procedure. Keep it simple and gentle. 

  • Use a gentle cleanser and a bland moisturizer or ointment.   
  • Ensure diligent sun protection.
  • Don’t try to pick at your skin or speed up the peeling process (you may increase the chances of dark spots, poor healing, and infection). 

Once the skin heals completely from the chemical peel and feels normal, you may resume your regular skincare regimen.

What Makes a TCA Chemical Peel Special?   

TCA chemical peels set themselves apart for their versatility—they come in various concentrations and application techniques that allow you to treat almost any skin condition.

Before choosing a chemical peel, find a skincare expert who intricately understands how to conduct a safe, professional TCA peel treatment. 

Note that darker skin tones require caution. A possible side effect is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, so only see an expert familiar with treating darker skin tones.   

Transform Your Appearance With TCA Peel Treatment   

Could you benefit from a TCA peel for skin renewal? Radiant A MedSpa would love to tell you more about our custom cosmetic procedures to help you look and feel your best.

Start the journey to glowing, radiant skin today—call Radiant A MedSpa at (331) 281-0920 to schedule an appointment in Naperville, Illinois!

About The Author

Colleen Lynch

Colleen Lynch

Colleen brings over a decade of diverse nursing experience to the RADIANT team. Her dream of owning an aesthetic nursing practice became a reality when she partnered with childhood best friend, Stephanie Jacobson to open Downtown Naperville’s premier medical spa in August of 2022.

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