Does a 12% TCA Peel Need to Frost in Order to Work?

I bought a tca peel on line and did a patch test on my leg. It did not frost after a couple of coats. I washed it off and nothing happened to my skin. I want to try it on my face but I'm wondering if 12% tca peels frost on your face? How do you know when you have applied enough solution?

Doctor Answers 2

TCA peel needs higher concentration to work

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A 12% TCA peel does very little that is beneficial to the surface of the skin. A frost
will occur with a much stronger concentration, usually at least 35%. Furthermore,
I am not a fan of TCA peels.

If one desires an aggressive approach for significant actinic damage to the skin or wrinkles, I recommend either a phenol type peel or laser resurfacing. In my opinion, the best superficial skin resurfacing is with the use of unbuffered low pH glycolic acid. We perform glycolic peels with 50% unesterified glycolic acid and we recommend home maintenance with the application of an appropriate 10% glycolic acid preparation.

DIY facial peels with TCA are risky!

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TCA, or trichloroacetic acid, is a chemical commonly used by medical professionals for facial rejuvenation. Essentially, it is a caustic acid that burns off the superficial layer of the skin, so there are definite risks involved. The results depend both upon application technique and the concentration of the acid in the solution. Although 12% is on the low side, I really don't see this as a do-it-yourself procedure.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 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.