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Prescription Meds Before TCA Peel?

Do I need to take prescription meds before an 8% percent TCA peel?

Doctor Answers (3)

Medications before TCA peel


 For light peels such as an 8% TCA, the only medication that is really prescribed on a regular bases is antiviral in cases in which the patient has a history of cold sores. Otherwise, Retin-A and hydroquinone are prescribed by some physicians as a pre-treatment in patients with darker skin types.  

San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Prescription meds for TCA peels


For a light TCA peel such as your 8% TCA, you probably don't need much in the way of meds other than a good sunscreen and cortisone lotion. If you have a history of frequent cold sores or fever blisters, then an antiviral such as Valtrex, Acyclovir or Famvir orally is prescribed and can be started 1-2 days ahead of time but can also be started the day you do your peel and continued for 5 days if no breakouts or 10 days if you get a breatout. Retin A or another Retinol cream is helpful if used for a few days prior to the peels but can be started up 5 days after the peel and used nightly or every other night sparingly for a month or 2.

A cortisone lotion such as Desowen lotion can be used 2 times a day for 2 weeks starting the day of the peel to decrease redness and itching and prevent scarring or discolorations. A bleaching cream such as hydroquinone can be started 5 days after the peel and used nightly for 2 weeks to prevent discolorations and may be used longer to remove any discolorations if they should occur. Don't worry, discoloration are not permanent and are fixable.

I also like to prescribe Prednisone 20mg daily for 5 days to decrease inflamation and swelling from the 20% and on up TCA peels. Splashing your face with water or using an aloe vera spray or lotion also helps alot.

Web reference:

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

The use of pre-meds for TCA peel


This is a relatively low strength peel. However, depending on the physician's preference some pretreat with various medications including the use of Retin-A. In some patients prone to herpetic infections (cold sores) the use of antiviral medications are recommended on a prophylactic basis. Other physicians pretreat with anti-inflammatory meds. There are a variety of other pre treatment regimens.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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