Is TCA Cross, Not TCA Peel, Truly an Effective Method for Treating Ice Pick Scars?

I've seen numerous pictures posted by users/patients (not doctors) on sites, like, who have had amazing success with TCA Cross on ice pick scars. Many of them have tried Fraxel Re-Pair, Fraxel Re:store, and various other laser/peel treatments in the past with disappointing results. Some have had multiple laser treatments. If TCA Cross is a method that actually produces satisfactory results, why can't I find a doctor who offers the service?

Doctor Answers 7

TCA Cross is effective for ice pick scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I have performed many TCA CROSS treatments for ice pick scars.  I find it to be an effective and non-invasive treatment option for ice pick scars.  I use 100% TCA placed deep into ice pick scars in a precise, pinpoint fashion.  Multiple treatment sessions are necessary for best results.  Healing is quick with little downtime and most patients are satisfied with the improvement.  It is important to not apply too much TCA to the skin as this could itself cause a larger area of injury and result in a scar.

Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

By far one of the best for the correct scar type.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Yes, TCA Cross is one of the BEST treatments for acne scars that are either ice pick or box cars. The great thing about TCA CROSS is that we can vary the concentration, from 50-100% and provide a custom treatment based upon your scar type and skin type. 

One treatment generally improves the scar by 30-40%. The other method of treating ice pick scar is to use a 2 mm punch excision. In most cases we follow up this procedure with light laser resurfacing, thus removing nearly all traces of even the deepest acne scars.

Dr Davin S. Lim 
Consultant Cosmetic Dermatologist

Can Be Effective

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

TCA Cross is not some sort of evangelical twist on a facial peel. TCA cross stands for  Trichloracetic acid Chemical Reconstruction by skin scarring. How this is done is that 100% TCA is placed deeply into the ice pick scars, including the tissue around them. The chemical cauterization of this procedure sometimes causes the ice pick  scar to close.  This  method does seem to work on occasion. It is not nearly as successfully employed  as in treating sebaceous gland hyperplasia, however. It is far less expensive than Fraxel and probably, for ice pick scars, equally effective.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Ice pick scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for your question and for sharing your concerns with us. Your approach is very reasonable. I would recommend that consider a direct excision of an icepick scar. It will certainly help create a flatter scar. Afterwards, you can consider lasers to help blend it in to the background. The right laser for you would depend on your skin type.

TCA Cross for Ice Pick Acne Scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

TCA CROSS is a nice technique whereby high concentration trichloroacetic acid is placed inside a deep hole/ice pick scar resulting in reduction in the size of the ice pick scar. This is different from TCA peel which is a much lower concentration of the same acid placed on the entire face. Talk to your dermatologist about the best acne scar treatment option for you.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

TCA Cross is not a new treatment. It has been practiced for over 30 years, but not with this name.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I have used this treatment on a lot of patients and I do not think my results with TCA Cross are as good as my results with eMatrix treatments.  Fractional ablative lasers do not work well in oily skin because the oil fills the ablated holes and prevents them from healing well.  eMatrix uses a different technology that give better results in my hands than TCA Cross.

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

TCA CROSS method is effective but the recovery can be long

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

TCA CROSS method can work. Really it is just using deep chemical peels to scar up your depressed scars to the level of surrounding normal less scarred skin. The recovery can be long though as you can see.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.