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TCA Peel Questions

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Have a few questions regarding TCA peels (dermatologist is recommending 35% peel) for mostly rolling/some boxcar acne scar treatment:

  Is any improvement from the procedure permanent, or will the improvement decrease with time?
  Will the procedure permanently change skin tone (lighter/darker) - will the treated area 'stand-out' from the non-treated area (after the healing process is complete.
  What is the expected healing stages/timeframe?
  Is there any change to pore size?
  How long after the treatment is it safe to be exposed to direct sunlight (using over the counter sunscreen?

Thanks in advance,

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Your dermatologist can answer all these questions because-
1. Is this done with Jessners or pure TCA
2. Will he or she do an acetone scrub
3. How many coats proposed
4. Does he or she buffer the edges
5. Is your skin ethnic or caucasian, and has it been prepped.

All doctors should have a duty of care to inform you of all the questions you have asked, all valid questions that can only be answered by the person performing the peel- your dermo. 

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Hi Alan, 

Hopefully I can help answer a few questions for you although chemical peels and their results differ from person to person. 

(1) The improvement you get from the peel should be permanent. I urge you not to assess your improvements right after the skin peels as any improvement you see during that time is due to swelling.  Full improvements can be evaluated at the 3 month mark.  Depending on your scarring, you may need more than one. 

(2) At this peel depth, you should not hypopigment.  Noticeable skin lightening is really only seen with phenol peels. Hyperpigmentation is possible depending on your skin type but usually subsides.  Peels have actually helped substantially with my hyperpigmentation and tone.  

(3) With a 35% peel, you are looking at about a week of downtime. The skin will form a crust on day 2 or 3 and should begin to separate around days 4 and 5 and be completely done peeled by day 7.  Keep the skin moist as this will quicken your peeling time and also help to decrease your redness post peel. 

(4) Pore size really does not see much improvement from peels.  Dilated pores can be treated with TCA cross. 

(5) You should try to avoid direct sunlight for a few months after the peel.  

Hope this helps! 


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There are varying strengths of TCA peels and varying types of acne scars. Without knowing what strength you are talking about, or the depth and type of your scarring, suffice it to say that a deeper TCA peel will help to some degree for scalloped type scarring but not for the ice-pick or box=car type.

A deep TCA peel may be able to resurface the treated skin enough to eliminate the appearance of acne scars. With the TCA acne chemical peels, more than one treatment may be necessary.

The long-term results of TCA acne chemical peel treatment include smoother skin with a reduction or elimination of acne scars and blemishes. However, as with AHA peels, more than one TCA peel may be required to achieve the desired effect. The redness produced by the stronger TCA chemical peel sometimes lasts up to three months. The newly formed layers of skin must be protected with plenty of high-SPF (sun protection factor) sunscreen, to prevent blotchiness and hyperpigmentation. Although TCA is not as strong a chemical peel as phenol, TCA peels can produce unintended skin color changes.
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5 hours ago, keving100 said:
@Obi wan

What do you mean when you say buffer the edges?
Does layering Jessner before TCA helps in any way? 

Layering Jessners before tca drives the tca deeper into the dermis. It acts as an epidermal absorbing agent before TCA application.  You're going to peel into the reticular dermis as opposed to the papillary dermis when you do a layering peel. 
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