Today I want to clarify some common questions about tca. TCA stands for trichloro-acetic acid. It’s a stronger acid used to chemically exfoliate the skin from the face or body. Not only does it cause a good amount of visible flaking but it also stimulates collagen, elastin and even glycosaminoglycans in the skin.
It’s truly amazing. And with all things amazing… there are those of you that like to live dangerously –or adventurously --- and I want to go over some tips that will help you to get your best … and most importantly -- SAFEST results.
- A big question that I want to tackle today is How often can I do a TCA peel?
Obviously, this is going to be based on what percentage you are applying, how heavy handed you are with the volume of solution, and how many layers have been applied. All THAT INFO is in your peel manual for easy access.
On AVERAGE – Most people will do one TCA peel per month until their series is complete. I think this is an easy timeline to follow and gives you enough weeks of downtime to help with tissue generation from the acid itself – AND – it gives you a good amount of time to use your daily treatments easily.
Of course, there are always exceptions, and if you are applying a light percentage such as the 7%, or only 1 or 2 light layers of the 13%, … you will be able to apply it again around the 2nd or 3rd week mark if you wish instead.
Always listen to your skin though, and only move forward if everything is feeling perfectly normal and there aren’t any lingering sensitivity or irritations happening.
- Next question. Can I apply a stronger percentage of TCA on my neck and chest?
Problems aren’t just local to our faces…. therefore, you should definitely apply your TCA to the neck and chest as well to get the best results. You don’t have to peel them every time you do your face – but you really should at least 1x every few months.
The tricky part here is the neck and chest area. We are applying acid to it like it’s an extension of our face – but it is going to flake like the body part it is. And the body takes a MUCH longer time to slough than the face does.
We always have those wanting to treat the chest with acids in higher percentages such as 30% like the rest of the body – but we really shouldn’t.
Is the skin thicker than the face? … Yes, but only microscopically… and you will find that it is much more “reactive” than your face can be.
A higher percentage can lead to a stronger response than you are ready for. That can be rashes, extreme erythema, bumps and itching to name a few. So remember it is always best to apply the same percentage as your face. And keep in mind … that because the neck and chest are “technically” body – they do take longer to slough, so never apply a peel more than 1x per month there.
- Next question. Does where I am applying the TCA affect how often I can do a peel?
Yes indeed. The Face turns over very quickly. You have many follicles and the skin generally starts to shed in the first 3-5 days. Then it continues over another 4-6 days and you are all done relatively quickly. Super.
Now… the body really takes a longer time to flake. We recommend applying TCA to the body no more than 1x per month. … why?
Because the body can take upwards of 10 days to 2 weeks before it even STARTS to show any dryness or flaking. Then… it is going to take another couple of weeks to finish. Now we are looking at 4 weeks. Maybe 5.
So, whenever you are treating the body – it’s a slower process. Be patient.
- This all leads me to my next and final question. Many of you are asking me… ok, I am doing my TCA peel every … 3-4 weeks. I want to add in ANOTHER “milder” peel in between. When can I do that? ….
LOL… You can’t. It’s not safe. Instead of thinking about SQUEEZING IN a peel while you are in your allotted downtime, let’s turn the tables and talk about rotating peels instead.
Get out of the habit of thinking you can only do your peel on a specific day. Instead do your peel, and wait the allotted time frame that our Manual suggests. At THAT point you can now apply ANY OTHER ACID that you wish.
Let me give you an example.
You applied 3 layers of a TCA 13 and 3 weeks have gone by. You are ready to do another peel.
This time you want to do a Glycolic 50. OK. Go ahead and apply your 50. Now follow your recommendations on waiting. Average wait times are 1-2 weeks.
Once that time passes – you can do whichever acid peel you wish. Whether that is the same one again or the TCA.
Just remember to ALWAYS follow the recommendations of the LAST peel you applied.
No trying to squeeze in peels in between peels. That leads to over exfoliation and irritation. You can’t rush a good thing. Downtime is important and necessary.
You need to allow your skin all the time it needs to regenerate deep in the skin. Patience is key – even with peels.
If you still have more questions – just reach out to us. We are here to help.
Have a great day.