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
4.6 out of 5 stars 114 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.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 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.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 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.