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TCA Chemical Peel Questions

What is the TCA Chemical Peel and how does it compare to laser resurfacing?


ZO Controlled Depth Peel (20 – 30 %TCA) is a strong peel treatment that will effectively reduce brown pigmentation, improve the texture of the skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and tightens skin laxity. This is the strongest of all our peels and it is performed by Dr. Dean Kane. A person undergoing this treatment will need prior preparation with Tretinoin and ZO Blending Cream and Pigment Control.  A 7-day recovery period is to be expected. It is a highly effective treatment that will tighten and brighten and equal to the effects of a CO2 laser resurfacing procedure, but with much less discomfort than laser treatment. In the videos below Dr. Kane is performing the ZO Controlled Depth Peel. The results of the TCA Peel will last a year if you continue to use the medical grade ZO Skin Products to continuously stimulate cellular turnover and control your pigmentation. Lauri’s favorite Peel. (Incorporate my before and afters into this paragraph and video .

How do you prepare for the TCA Chemical Peel?

The TCA Peel requires a preparation with medical grade ZO Skin Products using Tretinoin at least 3-4 days a week for a min of 6 weeks.

The reason for this preparation is that the ZO medical skin products suppress and reduces your skin cells that produce brown pigmentation. When the TCA peel injures the skin, this preparation will help prevent you from getting a rebound of brown pigmentation during the healing phase. The Tretinoin is taking away the old dead layers of skin so that when the TCA is applied to the face, it will penetrate the skin better. You will also have a much more even and consistent penetration resulting in a much better peel result. The 6 weeks you are using Tretinoin and adjusting to it also gets the skin ready to be able to handle the powerful strength of this level of chemical peel without traumatizing the skin.

What is the recovery of the TCA peel?

The TCA Peel is a 7 day recovery. While it is not a painful recovery you will experience tightness of the skin. Throughout the entire process you will be using cold wet compresses and the combination of ZO Hydrating Cream and Aquaphor to keep the skin moist. As you will see in the photos, in the first 2 days, the peel is just beginning to deaden the outer layers of skin and forms a tight layer. As you get into days 3-4 the unwanted pigmentation is coming to the surface and the skin will become darker,  more alligator like. Your face will feel much more tight to the point you won’t be able to open your mouth widely. Days 5 to7 the skin peels off in sheets. You are not allowed to pull off any skin. It can only come off when you are soaking with cold water compresses or applying the Aquaphor ointment. Day 7 to 8 the peel is usually finished and you are left with brand new skin.

What lower level peels do we offer?: VI Peel, ZO 3 Step, PCA peel

If you desire to start with peels that take less time to recover (3 to 4 days) than the best peels would be the VI Peel, 3 Step ZO TCA Peel and the PCA Peel. The VI Peel is excellent for to reduce unwanted brown pigmentation. It is an easy peel to tolerate, and the peel process is only 3 days. You may need more than one VI peel depending on your level of hyperpigmentation. The 3 Step ZO Peel is a step below the more powerful peel as it is a combination of acids and 15% TCA. It is more milder, but has similar effects to the 20-30% TCA with a lot less down time, only 3-4 days.  The 3 Step will help with unwanted hyperpigmentation, crepey skin and fine lines. The PCA peel is an excellent exfoliating peel that causes mild flaking and mild pinkness. The recovery is 1-2 days. These are wonderful peels to start with and to build to the stronger 20 to 30% TCA if you have more stubborn pigmentation areas or if you are looking for skin tightening. All three peels will leave your face with a beautiful healthy glow.