TCA Peel Strength for Acne Scars?

I am considering a TCA Peel for my acne scars. I want to know what TCA Peel strength is ideal for the removal or reduction of acne scars, and over all improvement of skin texture? 12.5%, 20%, or 50%? Would two 25% TCA peels have the same effect as one 50% TCA Peel with half the chance of complications? As bear it in mind, I do understand that the complication factor is dependent on the pre/post preparation of the skin, and the experience of the surgeon performing the peel. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 2

Acne scarring and TCA peels - Not effective

A TCA peel in and of itself will have little impact on dermal acne scarring.  TCA is effective as a pre-treatment for ice pick acne scarring.  I usually treat these deep scars first using a toothpick and 90% TCA.  This is then followed a few weeks later with resurfacing with SmartXide with a tight dot spacing and stacking to get deeper penetration.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

TCA 35% + Jessner chemical peel good option for rejuvenation but may not be enough for acne scar

I would recommend Jessner's peel prior to TCA 35% chemical peel to be done by a board-certified dermatologist. This may be adequate for rejuvenation and significant reversal of prior sun damage. However, for acne scarring, you will definitely benefit from repeat treatment 3-6 months later. There may be slightly greater risk of complication with TCA 50% chemical peel. A better option for acne scarring would be fractional CO2 laser resurfacing in the hands of an experienced board-certified dermatologist. If you prefer scar revisional procedure without downtime and can accept incremental improvement each session, you may want to consider Spectra laser by Lutronics.

William Ting, MD
Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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