I Recently Used a 50% Tca Peel to Remove a Tattoo Its Been 5days and the Tca Still Hasnt Peeled, Why?

im getting worried because the actual area where i applied the tca now looks like a big burnt scar, there has been no peeling whatsoever yet and its day 5! will the tca peel anytime soon or have i just burnt myself? The recommended tca percentage to remove a tattoo is 50% diluted. i think i may have not diluted the 50% correctly im also aware that it takes up to 8 peels inorder for the tattoo to fade or removed. HELP!

Doctor Answers 4

Disaster in the Making - "I Recently Used a 50% Tca Peel to Remove a Tattoo Its Been 5days and the Tca Still Hasnt Peeled, Why?"

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Tattoos are created by depositing permanent pigments in the deepest layer of the skin and underneath it. To physically reach such depth with ACID means that all the skin above it will be destroyed. If it heals it will heal with a permanent scar or may require reconstructive burn surgery in which the acid burn scar and remaining tattoo is removed and either a skin graft or an adjacent tissue flap created by balloon ex panders or moved over by microsurgical technique is used to cover the hole.

I have no idea who told you 50% Trichloroacetic Acid can be used safely to remove tattoos and who sold it to you but they were probably breaking the law. Do it Yourself high power acid peels is not a good idea.

I suggest you be seen in a good local ER and referred to a local Burn or Plastic surgeon to manage the situation.

Good Luck.

Peter A Aldea, MD

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Home Tattoo Removal with Acid

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There is no way to tell you why it hasn't peeled. Of more importance is the very real possibility of scarring. TCA 50% should be used only by a physician experienced in its use and the possible complications that go along with it. Tattoos are permanent because the ink is placed deep in the dermis. This depth is only accessible with minimal risk by a laser or a scalpel. Anything else will be guaranteed to scar you, which would make leaving the tattoo alone a very attractive option.

Barry Resnik, MD
Miami Dermatologist


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Doing it your self is not smart

Now you have a bigger problem. see a board certified plastic surgeon, may be he/she can salvage your prblem

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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TCA peels are not for tattoo removal

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TCA peels do not remove tattoos. The only thing that you are going to do with a TCA peel is get permanent scarring and skin color changes as a result of a chemical burn.  TCA peels above a concentration of 25% are dangerous to use below the neck and should be administered by a physician.

Find a doctor who has an Nd:YAG laser, preferable a ConBio laser, for tattoo removal. The home remedies do not work and can only scar you for life.

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 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.