What is the Best Type of TCA Peel for an African American Male w/ Acne Scarring?

I am a African America male, And I have acne scarring all over my face, with the worst being on both sides of my chin. Also, what would be the best way to prepare for a peel? I plan on getting the procedure done within the next 6 weeks.

Doctor Answers 4

TCA peels do well for discolorations in blacks but not great for true scarring.

First you have to know if you have true scarring or just discoloration.  True scarring is a texture change in the skin ( bumpy or indented skin).  Discoloration is not scarring.  TCA peels works good for discolorations and are usually done with 10-20%TCA every 2-3 weeks for 3-6 sessions for about $250-500 a session.

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

TCA-CROSS or DermaRoller may be better options for you than a TCA peel

In general in African American skin, a TCA peel is not safe.  The change of a permanent pigmentary change is signifiant if TCA is used as a peel on your whole face.  In order for the TCA to go deep enough to help acne scarring, you would get a pigmentary change.

For African American or Asian skin, you may be better off treating the individual scars monthly using TCA-CROSS and DermaRoller for several treatments.  CROSS is a technique using TCA for the chemical resonstruction of skin scarring, much different that using TCA for an all over peel.

TCA could be used safely in localized areas, if you have icepick scars, using a technique called TCA CROSS, in which the TCA is just placed at the deepest part of the scar with a very small applicator.

Longer scars could be treated with the DermaRoller or DermaStamp, using Collagen Induction Therapy to stimulate new collagen to grow and fill in the scar. 

You have to be very cautious and do test areas before treating your whole face.  Then if successful, monthly treatments for 4-6 treatments will yield the best results with minimal risk or downtime.

Anne Marie McNeill, MD, PhD
Newport Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

TCA peels for african--american skin

I would not recommend a TCA for you.  In general, TCA peels are riskier for darker skin tones - with either a loss of pigment, or darker - than -desired pigmentation occurring.
There are other peels, that are less risky, that you should consider.  See your local plastic surgeon or dermatologist for a consultation in this regard.
Alternatively, non-ablative laser technology is another possible option for you.
Best wishes,

Thomas Fiala, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

I would NOT suggest a PCA peel for African American Skin- consider Laser

The treatment of acne scarring and discoloration in African American skin requires a procedure that will not compromise your natural pigment. Although a TCA peel may improve the texture and tone of your skin overall if done in at a low percentage, it will not prove to be an effective treatment for your acne scarring.

A  laser scar removal may be a good alternative for you.

A newer device on the market by Palomar- called the Artisan- offers a noninvasive solution that uses fractional laser technology to deliver rapid, reliable scar removal with less risk, less pain and minimal downtime.

IN ADDITION, Laser scar removal with Palomar's Artisan is appropriate for use on all skin types, making it my preferred method of scar removal for excellent clinical outcomes

The Artisan's fractional laser technology is used for acne and surgical scar removal procedure. It uses pulses of laser light to coagulate scar tissue and trigger healthy new tissue to form in patients' skin. Healing time is minimal, infection risk is eliminated and little to no pain is felt.

This is how it works:

•Laser scar removal uses fractional laser light to create micro-columns of coagulated tissue that extend deep into the dermis without ablating the epidermis.
•This triggers a wound-healing process that replaces the disorganized, compacted scar tissue with healthy new tissue, greatly diminishing the appearance of the scar tissue. Advanced Contact Cooling protects the epidermis, promoting safer, more comfortable treatments.

I would certainly have you consider laser scar removal/revision before making your final decision.

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 116 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.