TCA Chemical Peel Safe for Under Eye Use?

I would like to do something to get rid of fine lines under my eyes. I have done an at-home 20% TCA peel on my entire face before, but I avoided the eye area. I also use Retin-A micro 0.1% gel, and I tried using this on my under eyes but it seemed to make the wrinkles 100 times worse. It also seems to have made my under eye skin thinner and take on a hollow appearance. I was thinking about doing an 8% TCA peel on my under eyes, or possibly my whole face so that it looks even. My concern is that the peel will thin the skin even more and they will look more hollow. Is it safe to use TCA Peel on this area?

Doctor Answers 11

Low concentration TCA peel

The skin of the upper and lower lid is much thinner than the rest of the face. If a TCA is to be used, a low concentration must be used and very few times only.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Yes, but only under expert / medical supervision

TCA can be an excellent treatment for acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and skin laxity- especially under the eyes, HOWEVER one has to be super careful. I use a cotton tip, and approach the lid margin with 30% TCA done in an operating theatre, with nurses to help me. Single coat, no dripping, even application. 

Done safely, results can be excellent.

Dr Davin Lim
Cosmetic and Laser Dermatologist, 
BRISBANE, Australia

Davin Lim, MBBS, FACD
Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

TCA Chemical Peel for Eyelid Skin


I would recommend that you consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon before attempting a 8% TCA peel on your under eyelid skin. This skin is much thinner than in the face and cheek and care must be taken to avoid going too deep or accidentally getting the TCA in your eyes. I also recommend pre-treating patients for 2 to 6 weeks with the Obagi system, sunscreen and Retin-A before a chemical peel depending on their skin type. Tanning and Retin-A should be stopped 2 weeks before and Accutane stopped 1 year before a chemical peel.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

TCA for lower eyelids

I have used TCA for the lower eyelids with excellent results but it sounds as if this may be too aggressive for you given the thin skin you describe.

Retin-A may actually thicken the skin. I think your problem is twofold.

Gel is absorbed but it is incredibly drying. You may want to consider a cream preparation.

Retin-A can create the sensation of dry flaky skin.

To this end, I would recommend liberal use of moisturzing agents and slow but increasingly progressive applications of the Retin-A.

I hope this helps.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

TCA Peel for lower lids possible

TCA chemical peels can be used to treat the eye area, however it is very important to choose an appropriate strength and to have a board certified plastic surgeon or licensed esthetician perform the treatment. Skin surrounding the eyes is significantly thinner than the rest of the face, so special care is necessary to avoid complications. Recommendations for chemical peel strengths vary based on skin type, so it is imperative to schedule an in-person consultation to determine which treatment will provide the best results for you.

Fernando D. Burstein, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

TCA For Lower Eyelids

I do TCA peels of varying strengths frequently on the lower eyelids and it is very safe and effective.  The more aggressive the peel, the more downtime, but the greater the result.  However, not everyone is a good candidate for a TCA peel on the lower eyelids.  From what you have described, it sounds like you are using products incorrectly and that you are very sensitive to certain products. I recommend you consult with a board-certified dermatologist for evaluation of your lower eyelids fine lines. 

Channing R. Barnett, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Chemical Peels by a physician are effective below the eyes

The lower eyelid skin can be effectively treated with chemical peels.  In my office, we often use TCA 30-35% with Jessner's to give an even coating and consistent results.  Chemical peels can encourage new collagen formation, so overtime your skin will thicken-- not thin.  

I would caution you against doing this at home.  TCA is NOT something you want to get in your eyes.  Higher percentage TCA peels can cause scarring, dark pigmentation, and even blisters.  

I would recommend you see a Board Certified Dermatologist who has experienced with chemical peels to get the best results.

Best of luck!

-Dr. Mann

Margaret Mann, MD
Cleveland Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

TCA for lower lids is effective, but have your doctor do it

Loooreee, TCA peels are very effective for the lower lids. However, if you are considering anything more than the concentrations that you have already tried at home, then you should have your doctor do it. We commonly do 25% and 35% lower lid TCA peels in the office and have great results. It takes about a week for the skin to heal.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

TCA peel not a do-it-yourself procedure but safe under eyes if done by a professional

I am really surprised to hear that you were able to obtain a 20% TCA solution and told to use it yourself. There is a risk of scarring and other problems if it is not done right, and if you get too close to the eyes and get some in it could cause serious vision problems friom burning the cornea. This is something that should be done by a medical professional and it is a safe procedure under those circumstances.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Don't do TCA Chemical peel yourself; very dangerous

The lower eyelid is a very weak structure. Too much chemical peel and your eyelid will droop (very difficult to correct). Too little and nothing happens. This is something for a professional, not a home remedy. There are certain chemical peels or laser treatments that can help this problem. The best treatment is going to be a lower lid blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) by a well trained plastic surgeon.

E. Anthony Musarra II, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.2 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.