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TCA Peels


What are TCA Peels?


TCA Peels are a dermatological procedure to address the signs of sun damage including pigmentation, fine lines, enlarged pores, uneven skin tones, acne and scarring.  The procedure involves applying a chemical solution to the skin to remove its upper layers.  The aim is to resurface the skin and target dysfunctional cells, resulting in a softer, smoother, more youthful look.  TCA Peels may be performed in conjunction with other cosmetic treatments or as a stand-alone procedure.


What level are TCA Peels?


Medium-depth peels such as TCA peels (derived from Trichloroacetic Acid), penetrate deep into the skin and can be used to treat sun-damage, pigmentation and fine lines.  The downside of medium peels is that you will have a longer recovery time of about 3-5 days of physical skin peeling.  Deep peels are the strongest type of chemical peel available and can achieve amazing results for sun-damage, scarring and deep lines and wrinkles.  They use high strength TCA to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin and have a longer downtime recovery period.  


What is Trichloroacetic acid?


Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is a strong acid.  It penetrates deeper into the skin and is usually used for medium-depth or deep peels although it can be used at a lower concentration in combination with other acids for a milder peel.  It can be used to treat loose skin, fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, large pores and hyperpigmentation.


Am I a candidate for TCA peels?


Almost everyone can benefit from a chemical peel. Peels can improve the look of your skin dramatically and can leave you looking younger and healthier.  If you have any of the following concerns you could be a candidate for a peel:


  • Dry skin

  • Oily skin

  • Acne

  • Acne scarring

  • Lines and wrinkles

  • Pigmentation

  • Sun-damage

  • Dull or lifeless skin

Who is not suitable for TCA Peels? 


  • If you have a history of poor skin healing and keloid scarring you may not be suitable for a peel, especially a stronger, deeper peel where scarring is a risk.  

  • If you have any type of infection on your face you may be best advised to wait until it clears up before having a peel.  

  • People with acne who have been using isotretinoin (Roaccutane) within the last 12 months are not suitable.  

  • People with dark skin types such as Asian or Afro-Caribbean skin are more at risk from hypopigmentation (loss of pigmentation in the skin) following a peel and may not be suitable for medium or deep peels. 


The best way to discover if a peel is right for you is to have a consultation with an aesthetic practitioner who can assess your skin and talk to you about your concerns before advising what type of peel may best suit your needs.


What do I have to do before a TCA peel?


Before you have a chemical peel you will need to have a consultation with one of our Doctors or Dermal Therapists.  This will be your opportunity to discuss your skin concerns so we can decide what type and depth of peel will be best suited to you.  A medical history will usually be taken to make sure there are no reasons you should not be having the treatment. You will then be asked to sign a consent form.


We recommend that you should avoid exfoliating your face, sun exposure or the use of tanning beds prior to a TCA peel.  It is important to remember that with all types of peel you will have to prepare your skin beforehand.  This will involve using homecare products for a minimum of 2 weeks prior including a pigment inhibitor (to avoid hyperpigmentation) as well as avoiding sun exposure.  Please make sure you stick to the routine given to you by our practitioners as this will enhance your results and significantly reduce downtime.


How is the procedure performed?


With medium-depth peels the skin is thoroughly cleansed before the peeling solution is applied.  We apply numbing cream beforehand and a fan is used to cool the face during the procedure.  The peel will then be neutralised and removed.  As this is a medium-depth peel expect the treatment to uncomfortable.  You may feel some temporary stinging, burning and irritation during the procedure.


What do I need to do after treatment?


As is the case with all skin resurfacing procedures, it is critical to stay out of direct sun light and keep the treated area well moisturised using Medibalm for 1-2 days.  No exfoliation or skin products such as Aspect's Exfol L, Pigment Punch or Retinol Brulee should be used until the skin is fully healed. On day 2-3 begin the Apect Post Care Kit until the skin feels ready to return to your normal routine.  This can take up to 8 days.  For most medium-depth peels, the treated area will appear slightly red and have a slight sunburn sensation, possibly accompanied by some swelling. This usually lasts 2–24 hours and can be soothed with cold gels, ice packs and Medibalm.  Keep skin clean and use sunblock with a minimum of SPF 30+ and mineral makeup.  You may notice peeling a few days after your peel.


What should I expect after a TCA peel?


With medium-depth peels there is a longer recovery period, usually 3–8 days, although very rarely your skin can stay pink for a few months.  You will also experience visual peeling.  Your face might be sore and swollen and feel tight after treatment.  You can take painkillers to control this and use an antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection.  You must avoid scratching or picking off any peeling skin as you may cause your skin to bleed and be left with scars.  With all chemical peels you should avoid sunbathing afterwards and make sure you wear a sunscreen when you go out, even if it is not sunny, as you may develop brown marks on your skin known as hyperpigmentation.  We also recommend mineral makeup to all our clients to cover the redness and facilitate healing.


What are the possible side effects?


There are some risks associated with medium-depth peels.  You can get patches of brown and white skin on your face after treatment but this should only be temporary.  You are at risk of developing hyperpigmentation after having a medium-depth peel, especially if you do not wear a sunscreen every time you go outside.  You can also get a red appearance to your skin, which can lasts for several months in rare cases.  This should not be a permanent side effect.  There is also a small chance of scarring after a medium-depth peel, so make sure you avoid picking or scratching.


There are a number of risks associated with deep peels, the most common of which is hypopigmentation (loss of pigment in the skin). This can be permanent and is particularly bad if you have a darker skin type, as it will be very noticeable.  As with all peels you are also at risk of hyperpigmentation so make sure you religiously apply sunscreen with a high SPF and use Aspect's Pigment Punch to inhibit unwanted pigment.  Scarring is another risk.  Deep peels can be very traumatic to the skin so it is vital you go to a highly experienced surgeon or doctor to have your treatment.


How much does it cost?


Each patient is an individual and requires an individual combination of chemical peels. This is assessed during your consultation with the treating doctor. A treatment plan is mapped out for each patient and the cost can be assessed at this time.

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