Which One is Safe Fraxel Laser or TCA Peel? Do Either of Them Have Side Effects?

Doctor Answers 3

Fraxel and TCA peels both accomplish removing sun damaged skin

Fraxel laser can be done for many indications and like all procedures you need to have someone experienced perform them.  Chemical peels come in different strengths and different acids may be used.  The higher the strength generally the more careful one has to be.  Again, like all procedures there are side effects that are expected from the procedures like redness and peeling.  Special care with both procedures to avoid the sun is essential.  

New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Chemical peel, tca, vs. fraxel laser

The categories you mention have different levels of treatment and need to be compared keeping this in mind. A trichloroacetic (TCA) acid peel may be done as a superficial peel using 25 or 30%, or less strong, or a medium depth peel using 50%. Usually when a TCA peel is done as a medium peel, it is not done at a 50% strength as it may cause scarring, but rather, it is used in combination with a superficial peel, such as Jessner's or a glycoloic acid peel and the TCA can be 30%. Peels can improve coloration irregularities and make the skin smoother, but unless it is a deep chemical peel, which is rarely done these days (and had used phenol) the skin rarely tightens and lines don't get eliminated.  Fraxel can be delivered by the Fraxel Restore improves the coloration of the skin but minimal peeling occurs vs. the Fraxel Repair which helps tighten and improve lines in addition to evening out the sundamage discoloration, but the latter has a risk of scarring and other sideeffects that are rare or unheard of with Fraxel Restore. One needs to be prepared to be at home taking care of the skin for a week and a half, or even more, with the Fraxel Repair. A medium depth chemical peel will heel usually in seven days. Both treatments leave skin more sensitive initially and sunscreen should be used for at least a year, daily, after the procedures.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Fraxel and TCA Peels are both safe, but both have potential side effects

When used correctly, both the Fraxel laser and TCA chemical peels are safe and effective.  Both have potential side effects, but most side effects are temporary, such as peeling, redness, etc.  Almost any cosmetic or medical procedure has the potential for serious, permanent side effects (scarring, skin color changes, etc.), and you should discuss these fully with the treating provider.  Also, make sure and ask who will actually be performing the procedure, and how they would treat any potential side effects.  

Timothy G. Rodgers, MD, FAAD
Frisco Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 4 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.