TCA Peels for Home Use?

I read your answer to a question about using TCA Peel at home. I am curious, have you come across any patients who have suffered serious chemical burns from using such a home product? A company out of New Zealand is selling 100% TCA for tattoo removal. Their warning says "If you have sensitive skin," dilute the product to 50%. I know someone who suffered really bad burns to her wrist after using the product and I am curious if you know if this is happening to other people.

Doctor Answers 2

TCA Peels at home

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Eeeek! TCA is an acid. It works by doing a controlled burn to your skin. Acids are confusing- which ones are strong? which ones aren't? It is not like glycolic or fruit acids, which you find in facial products at the grocery strore, which in general are gentle acids which don't penetrate far. TCA is different. Depending on the concentration and number of layers you do of TCA, you could burn through the full thickness of your skin (!!!), cause pigment changes, and scar.

I do a lot of peels, and there is no standard "safe" concentration or number of layers. Every patient is different, and you need a trained professional who has done many peels to know what is safe, particularly in darker skin types.

I am surprised at the TCA for tattoo removal. Tattoo pigment is generally placed deep in the skin- if your peel penetrated deep enough to remove the tattoo, I would expect it would always scar or depigment.

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon

Home base TCA peels

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TCA (Trichloracetic Acid) is a very potent chemical. It has been used by physicians for facial skin rejuvenation for a long time. Over the years the safe levels have been determined to be 50% at the most. I do not use more than 35% in my practice. The risk of change in color (hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation) increases dramatically once you go up to 50%.

In essence you should not use this product on your own. You are better off consulting with a physician who is comfortable using this product.


Tanveer Janjua, MD
Bedminster Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 126 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.