Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)

Trichloroacetic acid, TCA (also known as trichloroethanoic acid) is an analogue of acetic acid in which the three hydrogen atoms of the methyl group have all been replaced by chlorine atoms.

TCA has been used in chemical peels for many years. TCA peels are particularly effective on sun damaged skin, with fine lines, areas of pigmentation, melasma, sun freckles and keratoses. It is more usually used in those patients over 45 years of age although can be used in seected younger patients. A course of 3-6 light peels will produce brighter, smoother and more evenly pigmented skin.

The procedure may cause a slight stinging sensation to the skin, and 3 or so days after the peel there may be a very superficial ‘frosting’ of the skin as the dead skin cells fall off. There is minimal down time, and usual activities may be resumed.

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