We are one month into the new year, yet it feels to me like we are only just starting winter. Wintertime in dermatology is a good season for routine skin maintenance. First and foremost, it is the perfect time to schedule your annual body checks. But winter is also the perfect time to schedule procedures that require minimizing sun exposure as part of the recovery process, such as lasers, sclerotherapy, and even some peels. And speaking of peels, I am sure that many of both mine and Dr. Hamilton’s patients have received the dreaded TCA peel for their actinic keratoses and sun damage. However, TCA peels have more indications than just for those pesky precancers.
Trichloroacetic acid, more commonly known as TCA, is often referred to as the “big guns” in the chemical peel world. For those who don’t know, chemical peels help to exfoliate and resurface the skin, allowing for the removal of dead cells while also stimulating new skin cell growth. Different acids at various strengths can be used to penetrate the many levels of the skin, resulting in controlled, uniform damage. TCA peels can be used cosmetically on all areas of the body for the treatment of increased pore size, discoloration, wrinkles, freckles, sun spots, and acne. It helps to even out skin tone and texture.
During the procedure, a burning and stinging feeling is often noted. Afterwards, redness at the area and then peeling will happen for about a week, leaving your skin soft and new! Good candidates for TCA peels are patients without eczema or other inflammatory conditions, such as rosacea, as well as no history of poor wound healing. As always, get counsel from a provider whether or not you should receive this treatment.
And most importantly, wear your sunscreen!