TCA CROSS Method for Acne Scars, at Home

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*Treatment results may vary

I am writing to review the TCA CROSS method for...

I am writing to review the TCA CROSS method for acne scars, which I performed on myself at home using 50% TCA initially then switching to 80% TCA that I purchased online. I should note that at this point my scars are very minor having previously had laser and also dermarolling at home but they did not start out small. It's only been through hard work and determination that they have become much smaller than they were. I became interested in TCA cross after reading some studies. The science is there behind these studies so I felt confident going in. I also watched some videos of dermatologists and plastic surgeons performing the cross method as well as scouring forums about TCA cross for people's opinions and experiences. I started out by using TCA 50% just to test my skin's reaction to it and make sure there were no adverse reactions. I used a toothpick dipped carefully in the TCA solution. Initially it stung a little but this was very minor pain. I was careful to stay within the center of each scar and not go outside of the edges. I had three small scars that were very close in proximity to each other, and I had read through some other user's experience that there was concern about scars bridging and become one bigger scar instead of 2 or 3 smaller scars. To avoid this, I crossed the middle scar only and left the other two alone. I then came back about three weeks later and crossed the other 2 scars only leaving the rest of my face alone. By doing this I was also able to note progress, comparing the depth of the scars that I had not crossed which was deeper than the other scar, which had filled in about 40 percent. Originally they were about the same depth as each other. I had 2 types of scars on my face- icepick scars, I only had these on my nose and one scar only on one cheek, and boxcar scars(small saucer like scars), which were the majority of my remaining scars. These have previously decreased very much in size due to laser and dermarolling. After applying the TCA my skin frosted just in the small area I had crossed. It didn't turn red or look irritated after the frosting subsided. Different skin types react differently though and if you intend to try this method I really advise doing a test area. I was concerned that my skin wasn't forming scabs, but about 4 days later I had tiny scabs throughout my face. (I only did one side of my face to see how it would react at this point.) Again the time frame will vary from person to person. After about 5 days or so my scabs had either shrunken or fallen off. I was very careful not to upset the scabs, I wanted them to stay on as long as possible. Whatever you do don't pick the scabs, it will make it much worse. Only one scab fell off prematurely. It did fill in evenly and the same as the others though despite falling off early. I should also note that my scars looked slightly worse when the scabs fell off; this is normal. It's now been 30 days or so since my initial cross, I went ahead and did my whole face using 80% TCA (other than the 2 tiny scars that are near each other, I only did the middle one again.) From the studies I read which I linked above, they did the crosses six times spaced 30 days apart. This was very easy to do, very inexpensive. No one in my area performs TCA cross or I would have considered letting a doctor do it for me, at least the first time. Since the studies reflect such sound results I really wanted to try it for myself. The results I am seeing so far are very good. The boxcar scars are filling in but they will take some time. The small scars that looked like dilated pores are completely gone after a single cross. The icepick scar on my nose is gone (I only did one scar on my nose to test.) I still have more of the same type of scar on my nose, which I crossed for the first time today. I didn't notice much change in the icepick scar on my cheek but its very small to begin with before crossing. I am optimistic about this. I plan to cross six times a month apart unless the scars get worse (which I hope they won't but if they do I will share the results.) I advise everyone who plans to try this to read the studies, watch a few youtube videos on how to perform cross, and do a test scar before doing your whole face.And be very careful handling the TCA, wear gloves. As always it's so important to do your research before doing anything to your face or body. There is no such thing as being too informed. I am offering up my own personal experience in the hopes that it can help others who have similar issues. Best of luck to everyone. :)

Here is what the frosting looks like

Here is what the frosting on my crossed scars look like. Also I forgot to mention that you can neutralize the frosting with a paste made from baking soda and water. It's policy not to link third parties on realself so if you'd like to do your own research you can just type Tca cross study or Tca cross journal into a search engine and the results come up. :)

Here is what the scabbing looks like

Here is a photo of what my scabbing looks like. I kinda feel like a teenager with this on my face. It's not that bad though, it's already starting to go away. I do not cover my scars with makeup because I find that can make my scabs come off prematurely.

Scabs are falling off today

Last night I noticed that some of my scabs were hanging on by a thread. When I woke up this morning the scabs on the left side of my face had almost all fallen off in my sleep. I must have slept hard on that side of my face. Even though it feels a bit early to be losing the scabs already I'm ok with it because it seemed like they were near falling off on their own. The ones on the other side of my face are still intact but not far behind. If you are a picker I would advise to cut your fingernails short of you can. During the healing process it tends to itch a bit and you have to be very careful not to disturb the scabs so you don't make things worse. Another thing: when I initially got the Tca I dropped some onto my finger and it burned a hole in my finger. I was so intent on what I was doing I did not notice it until I was done. Even though my finger grew back it was unsettling. I wasn't sure if I would have a big scar on my finger. Thankfully I don't but this is why I advise to wear a latex glove when handling Tca. Also your fingertips will peel if you don't wear gloves.

A few photos

I wanted to share a few photos. First is a photo of the way my scars originally looked before I started any treatment. The second photo is how my skin looked prior to crossing. The third photo is how my skin looks currently with the scabs fallen off. Please keep in mind that the scars look worse when the scabs first fall off. They will continue to fill in for the remainder of time in between crossing at which time improvement will be noted. I also wanted to share something else . About six months ago I had a punch biopsy done on the side of my nose. I was freaking out because it was close to my wedding and it still wasn't filling in. I started using Retin-A on the area and it quickly filled in. I am keeping that experience in mind as I do my crosses, applying Retin-A daily. If you have issues with hyperpigmentation, I've read that you should also apply hydroquinone cream to the area. I don't have issues with hyper pigmentation so I skip this step.

Looking good! Promising results

Just wanted to pop in and give a quick update. At this point my skin has returned back to its normal state and all the scabs are healed. However the scars are still healing on a micro level so it's best to wait a bit longer to cross at this point. I can definitely see an elevation in my scars- and I can tell a difference between the ones next to each other (the one that had been crossed once and the other one next to it was crossed twice.) My scars are very shallow at this point and the edges have softened. I don't have to use as much primer/makeup to cover my scars as I did previously. I can honestly say that Tca cross has shown me the most improvement on my scars of anything I have done yet. (And in the shortest time frame too!)
A mistake a lot of people make is to rush to cross again without leaving the adequate time in between. I totally get it, you see the results and you are excited to do it again, or you feel a bit anxious/restless like you should be doing something in order to see more results. At this point, please take my advice and give your skin the full amount of healing time. It seems counter productive but by allowing your skin to form new collagen naturally at this point it's the best thing you can do for your skin. If you rush in you will disturb your collagen formation or risk hyperpigmentation. :D

Another round

Sometime in the next few days I am going to do my next cross. I wanted to share something I forgot to mention previously. After I cross for at least a couple weeks, I turn my face away from the shower head while showering. When I am washing my face in the shower I just dip my hands into the stream of water and splash it on my face instead of letting the water run directly onto my face. This is a tip I picked up from my doctor after lasering, he said the water pressure can interrupt the newly forming collagen. some people avoid washing their face altogether but for me if I don't wash my face for a week I'd break out like a teenager. I still wash mine at but only once a day and very carefully as long as the scabs are intact. After the scabs fall off I still keep my face away from water pressure for at least a week or two. :)

Progress pic

I wanted to share a quick progress pic. These results from TCA cross are so good! I will share more pics later. :)

Progress pics!!

I wanted to post a couple progress pics. These are pics of my acne scars before and after side by side. I have scheduled a consultation for excision for the largest of my scars. Mostly I am seing quite positive results I just have a couple that are wider that I think excision might be best for. These results have been very gradual, it's taken me two years to get to this point. I am about halfway through with my TCA now. I have done one side of my face 3 times and the other twice. These after pics were taken only a few days after my scabs fell off, so I should see further improvement closer to January 2nd or so. One side is responding better than the other. I will take whatever improvement I can get though! Lol


My skin looks great compared to what it used to. It's not perfect, I'll never have perfect skin but my acne scars are mostly gone now. I still have a few but most are gone. I have been trying to get rid of acne scars for years now, they are so resilient to treatment. Tca seems to have been what I was looking for.

Excision :/

Well I got 2 little spots excised on the side of my face. One looks better one doesn't. I don't think I will take the chance of excision again. The doctor that did the excision had done it before but I don't think he does it regularly. The one that looks not so great looks a bit less wide but somehow looks deeper. So in a way it's smaller but in another way it's worse. It's still not too bad though. The scars are pretty much gone on one side of my face but still there just a bit on the other side, though the majority are gone from that side as well. I have a little spot on my nose where I spilled a little tca and it isn't healing as fast as I would like but I'm not super concerned about it. Just Sharing that with you guys as a reminder to be very careful when dealing with this stuff as it's very strong. Make sure to tap any excess off before application. Even with this very minor setback my skin still looks so much better than it did even 6 months ago. In other news I will be having laser done again in a couple weeks. My laser doctor is very conservative and careful so I'm not apprehensive at all about it. I've already had him laser previously and I trust him a great deal. When I went to see the excision doctor he kind of threw me off a little, he said why don't I just cover it up with makeup. Would you tell someone with small boobs wanting breast plants to just wear a padded bra? No, of course not. :) I don't blame him for the excision not working out perfectly though because I know that everyone's skin responds differently to different treatments and excision is a 50/50 chance. Im not advising against excision either, if there is a good doctor in your area that is known to have success with it, it might be successful for you. It's a good idea to do a test spot though because I'm really glad I just did 2 spots and not more since it wasn't for me. :)

4/20/16 active fx

I had what will likely be my last laser for quite some time the day before yesterday. My plastic surgeon commended me on how well my skin looks currently. The laser I had done was active fx which is not as strong as deep fx unfortunately. It was only done on my cheeks, but really the middle third of my face excluding my nose, chin and forehead. Right now I look like a chipmunk who has had an unfortunate accident with a meat grinder. I had him go under my left eye which had a few fine lines so my eye is swollen and hurts a little. This is another thing I wanted to mention- for some reason when I first started using retin a I noticed that I was starting to develop fine lines rapidly under my eye. I tested the theory out that retin a was accelerating the lines under my eye by applying it under the left eye only and sure enough- I developed fine lines under my left eye but not my right. So I did a little research and saw that a dermatologist had told someone with a similar concern that it would likely go away with time. Well it's been a couple years now and I can say that it definitely did not reverse or improve. I don't know if this is an issue only for certain skin types but personally I would advise to be careful with retin a use under the eye area. For the rest of the skin it's great. As far as my skin- right now I'm red, puffy and scaly. I wouldn't want to go out in public looking this way for sure. I can't see my scars at all right now but I know from previous experience that once the swelling subsides they will reappear. I don't know how much improvement I will see with this lighter treatment but I'm sure I will benefit somewhat from it. It's crazy to think about how resilient these tiny scars are. I've done everything, laser, derma rolling, tca cross, excision.... I'm very happy with the results I have gotten though. I honestly feel like tca cross has been a huge turning point for me. To anyone reading this who has been struggling with the same issue- keep your head up. It can be done, it just takes patience and a little work :)

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