Will a TCA peel help fade my tattoo? (photos)

I just posted a question about layering off my new tattoo... but in addition to that (because I need to wait a few months before I start that process) I'm wondering if doing a mild (8-10%) TCA peel will help to fade the tattoo somewhat before I start lasering?

Doctor Answers 5

TCA peel and tattoo

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The tattoo is too deep to be affected by the peel. I would not do this I've seen some burns of DIY remedies at home.

Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Tattoo Removal

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No! A TCA peel will have no effect on a tattoo. The ink is not on the surface but through all layers of the dermis to possible sub-dermis.

James Shire, MD
Chattanooga Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

TCA peel to fade a tattoo

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Thanks for your question. You have a professionally done tattoo, not an amateur tattoo. TCA solution effect will depend on the concentration. Light concentration TCA (10-20%) peel will do nothing. High concentration TCA will scar your skin, don't even think about it.

There is no good rationale for "waiting" to start the tattoo removal process for "months". Once the skin has completely healed from the tattoo process itself (usually within a week or two) you can begin removal. Laser tattoo removal is the only option that will get you what you need without scaring your skin. Also there is no topical cream available that will make a difference so don't waste your money on "Wrecking balm" or the like. 


Lisa Vuich, MD

TCA Peel to Remove a Tattoo

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No, a TCA peel will not help fade your tattoo. The ink is not on the surface of the skin, it is goes through all the layers of the dermis. The best way to remove a tattoo is with laser tattoo removal. 

Hardik Soni, MD
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Second Thoughts on a Tattoo--Laser Tattoo Removal

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No, I do not recommend doing a peel to try to lighten your tattoo. The best way to have this removed would be laser tattoo removal. I recommend getting a formal evaluation. It will take a series of treatments, but see an expert for best results. Best, Dr. Emer

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 203 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.