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Jonah's TCA Cross experience

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Hi all, I decided to start a thread just to basically put down what my experience with CROSS has been as well post updates.

First of all i'm 20 years old. My scarring consists almost completely of icepicks and boxcar scars. I got my scars during my freshman year of college. antibiotics and topicals cured my acne and i have not had any serious acne for about a year.

1st Cross:

I performed my first CROSS over a year ago. I used 50% tca. The results were basically good. I had a black mark on my face that was a scar but it was not indented just a black mark, kind of strange. Anyway i put a little bit of the tca on it and it scabbed up. When the scab fell off the mark was gone and my skin was not indented. So this particular spot was a big success. Most of my other scars responded okay. The fact is I could BARELY detect a little improvement in most of the scars. In one of the scars however, I was left with a larger scar. So my first impression of tca was overall not so good.

2nd Cross:

I performed my 2nd cross about 2 months after my first cross. Again I used 50% tca. This time I saw a little more improvement. I crossed the same scar that was made worse previously and it ended up getting a lot of improvement. It ended up looking about the same as it did before i did the first cross.

Now my assessment 1 or 2 months after this was that cross wasn't doing much. Maybe i had an average of 10% improvement in each scar i crossed, maybe even less! So I was quite discouraged and I hated always looking HORRIBLE due to the way cross made scars seem bigger and redder for so long. So i stopped it for a while.

A couple months later it was summer and when I looked in the mirror i realized something: My scars looked MUCH better than they did originally. Part of this has to be attributed to the fact that scars become less noticeable on their own, but i think part of it was also the tca cross. it had been about 4 months since my 2nd cross and i think i saw improvement from it even in that 4th month.

so anyway i'd say my scars were about 15-20% improved at this point from how they looked before i ever did cross. and i had a pretty good summer, there was even a day or 2 in which i didn't think about my scars...i think.

Anyway new semester and I'm still feeling good, thinking maybe i can be content and what do i get? a nice big brand new scar! yay! thanks god! I don't even know how this one happend. I'm not even sure it was acne. it's like tissue between 2 scarred pores deteriorated or something and anyway i'm left with a long thin and very deep scar that runs vertical and opens up a little when i smile.. ouch. I got very depressed and any thought of being content is irradicated. So I whip out the 100% tca (which i had never used before) and I did almost every scar I have.

3rd Cross:

Took place in late September I think. 100% tca on every scar. One month later I saw little a LITTLE bit of improvement. maybe 5%. This bothered me. I knew that only 1 month had passed, but according to the korean article 1 month is sufficient and I decided to do it again right away and MORE aggressively..

4th Cross:

One month after my 3rd cross and again I used 100% tca on every scar. This time I was a lot more aggressive. I pressed hard into each scar, pressing twice in some scars. Being aggressive is difficult because the more aggressive you are, the more likely you will damage healthy skin. I was pretty steady and ended up doing a good job.

I do NOT recommend being very aggressive especially with 100% TCA. It is VERY dangerous stuff and you could leave a big hole in your face if you are not careful. Start out slow if you actually decide to use this stuff, then first get experience and a knowledge of what your skin can handle. work your way up and BE CAREFUL!

Anyway this cross kinda went bad because I got lucky only a few nights after I did it. My scabs kind of covered my scars at that point which might have worked to my advantage. Weird huh? Anyway I point this out because hooking up could potentially cause scabs to come off prematurely.. lol.gif

You want to leave the scabs on for as long as possible following cross to promote healing. I wanted to do this especially because i had done it so aggressively this time. However, it was a halloween party and I was drunk and she's very cute and I thought oh what the hell, it'll be fine. I had a great time with her but the next morning I go into her bathroom and ALL MY SCABS GOT RUBBED OFF! eusa_wall.gif and i looked awful HAHAhaha. This is actually a pretty funny story!

So anyway I was like darn. I said goodbye quite awkwardly, hoping she wouldn't notice what a mess my face was. I was concerned that having the scabs come off earlier than they would have on their own would cause them not to heal as well. (they came off after 2-3 days, and they usually stay on for at least a week). However, this ended up being my most successful cross ever!! When I came back from thanksgiving break exactly one month later I looked at my scars and wow. Some scars had reduced in size by maybe 20%!! So if a scab comes off prematurely, don't panic. Put some neosporin on it for a while and it should be fine.

5th Cross:

I started my 5th cross right before thanksgiving, but this time (and from now on) I only did 2-3 scars at a time. I have about 12 bad scars on each cheek that bother me. I do this cause having all of my scars all red and worse looking at the same time makes me look too messed up. Anyway those 2 scars are looking improved today, even though it's only like 2 weeks since I did it. A week ago I did 3 scars whose scabs came off today. And today I did 2 more scars.

I plan to continue this weekly process till i have done my whole face again. At that point I will take a little break and update on my overall results. The Christmas Holiday's should give my skin a few weeks to rest and hopefully more improvement will take place during that time.

My overall impression of Cross is that, at least for icepick scarring, it can be very effective. My average amount of improvement of my scarring since I performed my first cross (about a year ago) would be about 30% I think. I used 50% tca on my first 2 crosses and 100% on my last 2 and the one i am doing now. I think 100% does provide better results, at least for deep icepicks. I plan to continue doing cross for as long as I see improvement of any significance. Again, I will update again after the holiday season on overall results.

Hopefully some people will find this thread useful, take care.

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I think that you aren't waiting long enough for new collagen to form between crosses, and you are wanting collagen to form too quickly. It really does take about 3 months before an assessment can be made as to whether or not the cross has made an improvement or not, imho. I've done 4 btw.......all with 50% tca. I would say that on many scars, I've had at least 50% success. I plan to do another one the first week of January....my last one was done in September.

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Jonah, thanks a lot for the info, please keep us informed about your progress.

Denise, TCA Cross builds up the indented dermis layer by layer, by partially damaging it and forcing a wound response, (to rebuild itself) and every time we do it the epidermis is virtually destroyed and reepithelized anyway. I think that after the final cross is the time to really let the collagen do its thing. It's still a lot of guesswork though, unfortunately.

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i kinda agree with oldguy, at least that is my experience. For example, I have done THREE crosses in the past NINE weeks. I am noticing that my scars are improving much more and much faster from my most recent cross than they did at this same time after the 1st of these crosses. In other words, I think that even though i am only allowing the minimum amount of time in between crosses (1 month as stated in the korean article), i think that healing from the previous crosses is carrying over into the recent one.

On the other hand, if i gave it more time in between, my results could be even better. So you maybe right, i'm not sure. Nevertheless, I have noticed what I stated above and will therefore be continuing this basic routine.

However, with the holiday season coming up, it will be at least 6 weeks between this cross and the time i do my next one. again before i do it, i will post my results at the 6 weeks mark. peace.

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Guest ObiWontonKenoli

OG what do you mean by final cross? Is there a number to this? 4th? 5th?

Also, if say I do the 50% every three weeks intead of monthly, wouldn't I damage the newly formed skin? Is my logic wrong?

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Jonah and FastGuy: The studies done on cross say that there should be 6-8 weeks in between crosses.

Obi: IMHO your logic isn't wrong.

I mean....to me, there isn't any sense in rushing it, plus, the stuides specifically say to wait 6-8 weeks. I believe that the doctors doing it wait 8 weeks at least.

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What studies say to wait 6-8 weeks?

The only studies I ever read are:

Focal Treatment of Acne Scars With Trichloroacetic Acid Chemical Reconstruction of Skin Scars Method

Focal Trichloroacetic Acid Peel Method for Benign Pigmented Lesions in Dark-Skinned Patients

Pertinent snippets from the first study:

Application of TCA to the skin causes precipitation of

proteins and coagulative necrosis of cells in the epidermis

and necrosis of collagen in the papillary to upper

reticular dermis.


Over several days the necrotic layers

slough and the skin reepithelializes from the adnexal

structures that were spared from chemical damage.


Dermal collagen remodeling after chemical peel may

continue for several months.


Many investigators have

observed that the clinical effects of TCA were due to

both a reorganization in dermal structural elements and

an increase in dermal volume as a result of an increase

in collagen content, glycosaminoglycan, and elastin.

CROSS was repeatedly

performed every 1–3 months to allow dermal thickening

and collagen production.

Actually, I suggest people study the entire… study.

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OldGuy....the doctors that actually PERFORM the tca cross here in the States only do it every 6-8 weeks at the earliest. Mostly every 8. That's what I have read. What depends on how often the cross is performed? What's the difference between 4 weeks and 12? Perhaps the difference is how well the scar has healed. If that is the case, then maybe it's not wise to do cross every four weeks unless you are interested in looking red and scabby for months and months on end. That's my point, ya know......

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That's a good point. I think tomorrow will be exactly one month since my last cross, and 2 of them are still red. Of course that's fine, since I guess I expected it. I was just throwing some more facts onto the mostly barren table that is TCA Cross science. smile.gif

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Well first of all let me say that I waited only 1 month in between my 3rd and 4th cross. My scars were still a little red too when i did my 4th. And about a month after my 4th cross, my scars had improved a lot. but, once again, who knows maybe i woulda had more improvement waiting longer in between. I will wait at least 6 weeks for the next one since i can't do anything till after the holiday's anyway. so hopefully ill see if it's better.

for me i mean, i'm not one to say, "okay i'm gonna take a little break before i do it again cause i wanna look better for a while."

i just wanna get this whole thing over with as soon as possible. Wanting a break just so i can look better for a while doesn't really influence when i do my crosses.

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