TCA Peels & Acne
Acne is a common condition that involves the clogging of pores with dead skin cells, oil and bacteria. When these substances mix together, they cause irritation and an acne blemish. While over-the-counter and even prescription treatments can help treat your acne, a chemical peel made from trichloroacetic acid, or TCA, can work faster in unclogging your pores and preventing dead skin cells from accumulating.
Trichloroacetic acid is a chemical that acts as the basis for many chemical peels. It's considered to be a medium penetrating peel, which means it's too strong to be performed at home, but it's not as strong as the deepest peel made from phenol. TCA peels allow dead skin cells to slough of at a faster rate, which means your pores won't clog and new blemishes won't form.
Once you decide you'd like to undergo a TCA peel, your dermatologist will likely prescribe a cream or cleanser that contains retinol to encourage the top layer of skin to peel off. This is a non-invasive peel and is used only to prepare the skin for the TCA. Essentially, it makes it so the TCA peel can penetrate deeper into the skin, yielding greater results.
The process of having a TCA peel performed is simple. You'll first go to your appointment, then your skin where the acne is will be thoroughly cleansed. Next, the TCA peel will be applied to your skin using a cotton ball. This peel will sit on your skin for several minutes--longer for a deeper peel--then removed using a neutralizing substance. A neutralizer simply restores the natural pH to your skin.
TCA peels can be effective in treating acne, but generally only on those cases where the acne isn't inflamed. Blackheads and whiteheads consist of just material clogging a pore, which makes it so the peel can penetrate, unclog the pore and prevent a new blemish from forming. If inflammation or infection is present, the peel could damage the skin or make your blemishes take longer to heal.
A TCA peel for your acne is not without its side effects. It's common for your skin to be red, irritated and peel for several days following your treatment. In some cases, swelling and blisters may appear. For a medium peel like this one, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends allowing two weeks to make a full recovery.
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