Chemical peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxyl acids (BHAs) are used for this purpose. The precise formula used may be adjusted to meet each patient’s needs.
Deciding if chemical peel is right for you Chemical peel is most commonly performed for cosmetic reasons — to enhance your appearance and your self confidence. Chemical peel may also remove pre-cancerous skin growths, reduce brown spots caused from sun damage and/or hormone imbalances, soften acne facial scars and even control acne.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can be used in many concentrations, but it is most commonly used for medium-depth peeling. The main purpose of the TCA acid is to stimulate collagen synthesis, which plumps the skin and improves the appearance of fine lines, enlarged pores, uneven texture, and acne scars. The peeling process can also significantly improve hyperpigmentation and surface bumps. The TCA peel is a very effective and universal treatment that promotes a greater well-being of the skin. At the Vitenas Skin Institute, we recommend that microdermabrasion be used directly before the TCA peel, and that patients receive a series of at least five treatments. This can provide quicker, more optimal results. Good candidates for the TCA peel include men and women who are looking to improve the appearance of the skin. This treatment is not appropriate for patients with darker, sunburned, or heavily tanned skin, or those on Accutane or with active cold sores on the face.
The TCA peel is an in-office procedure that takes about fifteen minutes to complete. Anesthesia is not required. The skin will appear normal during the day of treatment and on the day after, allowing patients to immediately return to work and other normal activities. Patients may experience a tight feeling of the skin during this time. About seventy-two hours after treatment, the skin will begin to shed in layers. While the first two days of shedding are the most intense, this may continue for two to three more days.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) & Betahydroxy acids (BHAs), such as glycolic, lactic, salicylic or fruit acids are the mildest of the peel formulas and produce light peels. These types of peels can provide smoother, brighter-looking skin for people who can’t spare the time to recover from a TCA peel. AHA peels may be used to treat fine wrinkling, areas of dryness, uneven pigmentation and acne. Various concentrations of an AHA may be applied weekly (or at longer intervals) and used in combination with Retinoic acid, microdermabrasion & epidermal leveling to obtain the best result.
Peel Formulas at a Glance
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) & Betahydroxy Acids (BHAs)
- Smooths rough, dry skin
- Improves texture of sun-damaged skin
- Aids in control of acne
- Can be mixed with bleaching agent to correct pigment problems
- Assists in collagen synthesis
- Can be used as TCA pre-treatment
- A series of peels may be needed
- As with most peel treatments, sunblock use is recommended
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA)
- Smooths out fine surface wrinkles
- Removes superficial blemishes
- Corrects pigment problems
- Can be used on neck or other body areas
- May require pre-treatment with Retin-A or AHA creams
- Treatment takes only 10-15 minutes
- Preferred for darker-skinned patients
- Peel depth can be adjusted
- Repeat treatment may be needed to maintain results
- Sunblock must be used for several months
Preparing For Your Chemical Peel
Your plastic surgeon will instruct you on how to prepare for your peel treatment.
Sometimes Retin A – a prescription medication derived from Vitamin A – is used to pre-treat the skin. This thins out the skin’s surface layer, allowing the TCA solution to penetrate more deeply and evenly. If your skin won’t tolerate Retin-A pre-treatment, an AHA cream may be used instead. Hydroquinone, a bleaching agent, is sometimes used in conjunction with Retin-A or AHA pre-treatment, especially if you have blotchy skin areas or pigmentation problems. You may have to spend two weeks or up to a month or more in the pre-treatment phase before your actual peel.
Getting Back to Normal
With an AHA peel, the temporary redness, flaking and dryness that you experience will not prevent you from working or engaging in your normal activities. A fresher and improved skin texture will result with continued AHA treatments. Remember, protecting your skin from the sun is also important following these mild acid peels. Ask your doctor to recommend a sunblock with adequate UVA and UVB protection and use it every day.
With a TCA peel, the moderate discomfort and mild swelling you may experience will subside within the first week. In about a week to ten days, your new skin will be apparent and you should be healed sufficiently to return to your normal activities. It is best to avoid sun exposure unless you are adequately protected.
Your New Look
Improvements from AHA peels may be very subtle at first. You may detect a healthier glow to your skin. With continued treatments, you will notice a general improvement in the texture of your skin.
Q – What is a TCA Peel?
The TCA, or trichloroacetic acid peel is a type of chemical peel which stimulates collagen synthesis and promotes a greater well-being of the skin. The procedure plumps the skin and improves the appearance of fine lines, uneven texture, acne scars, enlarged pores, hyperpigmentation, and surface bumps. For quicker, more optimal results, we recommend that the TCA Peel follow microdermabrasion and that there be a series of at least five treatments.
Q – Who is a candidate for a TCA Peel?
Men and women who are looking to improve the appearance of the skin may be good candidates for a TCA Peel. Patients with darker, sunburned or heavily tanned skin should not undergo a TCA Peel. The procedure is also not appropriate for those with active cold sores on the face or people taking Accutane.
Q – Who is a candidate for an AHA and/or BHA Peel?
Men and women who are looking to improve the appearance of the skin may be good candidates for any of these peels. Patients sunburned or heavily tanned skin should not undergo a peel, as it can risk damaging the skin. The procedure is also not appropriate for those with active cold sores on the face or people taking Accutane.
Q – Where are chemical peel procedures performed?
The Chemical peel is performed in Dr. Vitenas’ office, unless it is combined with a surgical procedure, and then it would be performed at the hospital, while under anesthesia. Let’s face it – the sun in the Houston, Friendswood, Clearlake, and Pearland areas is intense due to the close proximity to the equator, and chemical peels can reverse the look of sun-damaged skin.
Q – What is the price of a Chemical Peel?
The cost of a Chemical Peel can range from $100 – $500.00 depending on the strength of the peel. Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery offers a variety of Chemical Peels that can be tailored to suit the specific needs of your skin. Chemical Peels can be purchased in a package to provide a discount for routine skin fitness.
Q – What is the price of TCA Chemical Peel?
This question gets asked a lot, but it can have a variety of answers. First of all there is no “one-size-fits-all TCA peel. Depending on the percentage of the TCA and also how many layers are done can make a big difference in your results and the price. Percentages can range from 2%-50% depending on what you are looking for and what type of place you are going to go to get one (salon vs. plastic surgeons office).
Light salon TCA peels that typically are not able to use higher concentrations therefore prices can range $90-$150 per treatment. This also means that the peel is lighter, doesn’t have as much down time thus resulting in minimal results.
In-office TCA peels range from $150-$450 per treatment. These peels typically include TCA 15-50% and your skin can take up to a week or so to peel. These are actually getting down deeper, giving the benefit to smoother, brighter, tighter skin – reducing lines and pigmentation.
For TCA peels that are in higher strengths and/or more layers applied, these are done under anesthesia to keep the patients’ comfort in mind. These types of peels are phenomenal for patients with deep acne scarring, deep lines, and/or sun damage. The costs for these types of peels start around $1500.
Q – How much does a Chemical Peel cost?
There are many peels on the market today to meet the needs of most all skin types, tones, and conditions that can be done in a salon/spa, medical office or hospital setting. Depending on what your skin condition is, how much “social downtime” you are able to have, how quickly you want your results and what budget you have will depend on which peel is best for you. Also keep in mind, a series of peels may be needed to help with your specific skin concern.
Light salon/spa peels are not able to us as high concentrations as in a medical setting which means that the peel is lighter and will have little or no social downtime, resulting in minimal results. These types of treatments can range from $50-$100 and are nice to just re-texturize and brighten the skin.
Medical In-office peels will be able to treat a wide variety or skin concerns like sun damage, brown spots, uneven texture and tone, fine lines and wrinkles, scarring and acne. These types of peels are able to improve the skins function in the deeper layers of the skin offering more visible results with a few days of sloughing off of skin (usually 2-5 days). These types of peels start at around $150-$500 per treatment.
For patients with deep acne scarring, deep lines, and/or sun damage, deeper peels that are in higher strengths and/or more layers may be needed to truly change the skins’ condition. Typically these types of peel are applied by a physician while the patient is under anesthesia to keep the patient comfortable. The costs for these types of peels start around $150.