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TCA Peel Strength for Acne Scars?

I am considering a TCA Peel for my acne scars. I want to know what TCA Peel strength is ideal for the removal or reduction of acne scars, and over all improvement of skin texture? 12.5%, 20%, or 50%? Would two 25% TCA peels have the same effect as one 50% TCA Peel with half the chance of complications? As bear it in mind, I do understand that the complication factor is dependent on the pre/post preparation of the skin, and the experience of the surgeon performing the peel. Thank you.

Doctor Answers (2)

Acne scarring and TCA peels - Not effective


A TCA peel in and of itself will have little impact on dermal acne scarring.  TCA is effective as a pre-treatment for ice pick acne scarring.  I usually treat these deep scars first using a toothpick and 90% TCA.  This is then followed a few weeks later with resurfacing with SmartXide with a tight dot spacing and stacking to get deeper penetration.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

TCA 35% + Jessner chemical peel good option for rejuvenation but may not be enough for acne scar


I would recommend Jessner's peel prior to TCA 35% chemical peel to be done by a board-certified dermatologist. This may be adequate for rejuvenation and significant reversal of prior sun damage. However, for acne scarring, you will definitely benefit from repeat treatment 3-6 months later. There may be slightly greater risk of complication with TCA 50% chemical peel. A better option for acne scarring would be fractional CO2 laser resurfacing in the hands of an experienced board-certified dermatologist. If you prefer scar revisional procedure without downtime and can accept incremental improvement each session, you may want to consider Spectra laser by Lutronics.

Web reference:

Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 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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