TCA Peel Vs Levulan or IPL

Which of these treatments go deeper into the skin? Which one is better for dermal remodeling (collagen building)?

Doctor Answers 2

While each do different things, the TCA would go deeper into the skin and induce a deeper peel.

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

Thanks for your question.

The TCA peel, either in 25%, 35%, is by itself, a superficial peel that may lessen the appearance of course texture, but it really better for sundamage correction (lentigos) and skin refreshing. In a combination with Jessner's or Glycolic Acid, the TCA would be be considered part of a medium depth peel and lead to some dermal remodeling that would correct the appearance of superficial wrinkles and may lead to some significant collagen remodeling.

In regards to the Levulan and IPL, these are used together to provide a very superficial treatment of lentigos, sun damage, and textural changes. It does not provide any significant dermal remodeling, in my honest opinion.

If you are trying to get the best results and be cost conscious, I would go with a superficial TCA peel at 25 or 35% first. Then, if you like the results, you can repeat it, or, you can add in the glycolic 20% peel first to get a light medium depth peel. Both will result in dramatic flaking of the skin, but most patients are extremely happy with their results.

Hope that helps!

Beverly Hills Dermatologist

Dermal remodeling

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

If you are interested in significant improvement in fine lines and wrinkles, a TCA peel 20% or greater would be a good way to go.

Levulan and IPL will both address superficial sun-damaged skin, but you would not notice any appreciable difference in wrinkles.

I suggest you visit a board certified aesthetic physician such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to discuss your options. Many offer free cosmetic consultations.

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist

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.