Correcting Scars from a TCA Peel

I feel so stupid I peeled my skin way before I should have. I had a 50% tca peel, and I peeled my skin not thinking because it came up so easily. I have round, raised skin, and I have a few scar marks; it is extremely noticable to me but not to others. This did not show until 2 months later. My skin also looks rough. I could cry... I have ruined my skin! I could tell the tca would have worked if I had not touched it. If I get another tca peel and not touch my face and let it peel naturally would that correct it?

Doctor Answers 6

Time will fix many of these problems....

I certainly agree with Dr. Shelton but would just add that TIME fixes many of these problems. If you are early after your peel you may very well do best by just waiting and giving your skin a good year to heal and recover before doing ANY other treatments. Be sure that you are on a supervised skin care program including quality moisturizing as well as daily sunscreen protection during this process. Good luck!

Cherry Hill Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Don't repeat the same mistake

From what I have read, I cannot give you credible advice specifically.

What I can tell you is that time is the critical factor here. How long ago was the peel? Typically these red areas fade over time, and you should be careful to be patient.

You shoud also work with you doctor to minimize the need for further corrective treatments. Some of the things that can help include skin bleachers, steroids, scar fade creams like Mederma or Post Balm, and even some other modalities like microdermabrasion and possibly lasers/IPL.

Again, it takes a lot of time for the skin to heal, and the process is dynamic so expect to change treatments over time. Since you want to avoid scars and the need for additional treatments, be open and honest with your doctor, and follow instructions exactly.

While you heal, you can use concealing makeup to give you confidence in public.

Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

It is important to see a specialist other wise you can use over the counter products for now.

TCA is a very good tool for facial tightening. However, the medical concentrations (15-35%or more) need be done with physician supervision (it could depends on your state rules). I would recommend that you have a consult with a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist that can tell you if you are a good candidate for this procedure.

Side effect could include hyper or hypo pigmentation as well as scarring. My advice would be to use an over the counter skin product with lesser concentration until you can see a specialist.

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Time and possibly additional treatments

Greetings Angela,

I would certainly echo the sentiments of Drs. Shelton and Sorokin. Right now, time is your best friend. As Dr. Shelton pointed out if your problems are caused by pigment irregularities, which do occur after chemical peels, they may be treated with topical medications or other lasers. I would highly suggest visiting a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or facial plastic surgeon who performs TCA peels to determine if some additional treatment is necessary. Often these rather easy treatments will fix the problem. Time is another good healer. With time, redness after the peel and some skin irregularities will fade.

Hope this helps.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Scars after a chemical peel

Usually scars are related to color or shape.

Color may be treated by lasers and special dressings, and creams. Shape may be treated by other resurfacing techniques, but if a complication occurred after a chemical peel, then complications may occur after any other treatment and this must be considered prior to trying a new treatment.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Improving scarring after a TCA peel

TCA peeling offers amazing results, but should be performed by an experienced physician to limit adverse effects such as scarring and dyspigmentation.  I have had good luck using the fractionated CO2 laser on the face and neck for the scarring and dyspigmentation associated with TCA peeling.  I like the SmartXide DOT laser, but have had good luck with the Active FX and Candela Quadralase laser as well.  A dermatologist with training in laser or cosmetic procedures would be a good ally. 

Michael H. Swann, MD
Springfield Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 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.