TCA Peels

Medium chemical peels are highly effective in promoting skin smoothness and vitality. They also improve superficial discoloration and eliminate fine wrinkles. They do nothing for acne scarring or dynamic wrinkles. Medium depth peels can be achieved with a variety of chemicals. Trichloro acetic acid peel, or TCA peel, is the most common. Jessner’s solution, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and other agents are also used.

Advantages

A medium chemical peel will improve color, freshness, texture, skin tone, and fine wrinkles. It will also improve superficial discoloration, such as age spots. It may improve blotches and can sometimes improve dark circles under your eyes. Medium peels may be repeated every three to six months for optimal results. Unlike deep peels, medium peels may be performed safely on people with olive and light brown skin. They may also be used in some people with dark brown skin,
although the risk of discoloration is higher.

Disadvantages

Although fine wrinkles will be improved, medium chemical peels offer no improvement for dynamic wrinkles. To achieve the best results, you should use skin care products before your peel and anticipate that two or more peels may be needed at three-month intervals. The effects of a medium chemical peel may dissipate over six months to a year, but improvement will persist if you adhere to a skin care program with micro peels.

Preparation for Medium Chemical Peel

Preparing your skin prior to a medium depth chemical peel will result in deeper penetration, faster recovery, lower risk of discoloration, and a better result. Skin preparation may be achieved by applying retin-A, glycolic acid, and bleaching agents daily for four to six weeks. Retin-A will help your dead superficial layers of skin shed and will allow chemical peel agent to penetrate more deeply. Retin-A will also stimulate your skin to regenerate and heal more quickly. Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, will enhance the effects of retin-A. Women with dark skin are at increased risk for developing
blotchy skin after a medium chemical peel. Bleaching agents used before and after your peel will minimize this problem. If you are on a skin care program, you may already be prepared for a medium chemical peel. Some physicians may perform medium peels in patients who do not prepare their skin. These patients must understand that the results may not be optimal, recovery may be longer, and risk of discoloration is greater.

The Procedure

Medium peels are performed as office procedures and require 15-60 minutes. Your surgeon may offer you pain pills or sedatives to help you tolerate intense burning during peeling agent application. Your surgeon will apply a chemical solution, usually TCA, to your skin, one area at a time. When the desired depth has been achieved, your physician will neutralize the peel by applying iced saline. After ice is applied, you will have no further discomfort. Burning lasts about two to ten minutes. Once all areas have been neutralized, your skin will return to its normal color in 15 to 45 minutes. Your face will be covered with an oil-based ointment, steroid ointment, or vegetable shortening to keep your skin moist and promote healing. You will then be allowed to go home. Post operative pain medication is not required.

Recovery

There will be no discomfort following the procedure. You will wash your face twice daily with gentle soap and water followed by application of ointment. Your face will initially appear red. Within a few days, your superficial layers of skin will turn dark, become stiff, and resemble leather. They will then crack, flake, and peel. Flaking is usually complete in four to seven days. There will be no open wounds and no scabs. Once your old skin has sloughed, your new skin will be bright and flushed. Once your skin has finished peeling, you may begin wearing makeup. You will physically be able to return to work immediately, but your appearance may preclude this. Most are able to comfortably return to public within seven days. You
should resume skin care within two weeks of your procedure. Your flushed appearance will fade slowly over several weeks.

Cost

Total cost of a full-face medium chemical peel averages $2,000. If you wish to have only a portion of your face peeled, such as the area around your mouth or the area around your eyes, you will pay about $1,200.

Expected Duration of Results

Medium chemical peels will last six months to two years. If you use skin care products regularly after your peel, you will maximize the duration of improvement. Most women who choose medium chemical peels as the mainstay of their facial rejuvenation have a repeat peel every six to twelve months.

Satisfaction

Women who seek dramatically increased skin vitality with a reduction of fine wrinkles, who understand recovery and temporary duration of effect, and who do not expect improvement in dynamic wrinkles are generally satisfied with medium chemical peels.

Concluding Thoughts on Medium Peels

When compared to all simple and serious treatment options, medium chemical peels provide an intermediate level of improvement at an intermediate cost and impose an intermediate period of recovery. They are ideal for the woman who wants more than a superficial peel, but can not afford the expense or recovery time of a deeper treatment.