TCA Peel Benefits: A Beginner's Guide

tca peel benefits

TCA Peel Benefits: What is it and How Should it Be Used?

Here we'll go over all of the TCA peel benefits you'll need to know, how it works, and how you can use this unique ingredient to improve your skin.

If there’s one unique ingredient that we could recommend to those looking for fresher, clearer, more evenly toned skin, TCA would be one of our first suggestions. It can offer significant change. TCA is short for trichloroacetic acid. It's a bit stronger than glycolic acid and penetrates deeper layers of the skin. Our tips and tricks will make using this ingredient easy and non-intimidating.

A TCA peel can help correct and repair a variety of issues – ranging from acne, acne scarring, dull skin, wrinkled skin, sagging skin, sun spots, discoloration, and large pores. Importantly, it has also been used to treat and remove precancerous growth, which is a great option for you and your medical provider to discuss.

Trichloroacetic acid is easily accessible to everyone now, and quite affordable. Many people do find it intimidating because if the acid is too strong, it can easily burn your skin, and it can take some practice determining the signs of when it should be rinsed off or neutralized.

All around, TCA is a great way to look better and have skin that just feels better – brighter, firmer, and smoother.

tca peel benefits

Our glycolic acid cream includes TCA, lactic, and malic acids - and is the perfect option for you to reveal fresher, younger looking skin.

How Does TCA Work?

When TCA is applied to the skin, to some degree (depending on the strength) there will be a burn that will heal and result in the sloughing off or removal of the outer layers of the skin (epidermis), allowing new skin to grow.

Our products are formulated to offer a fairly mild effect and can be used in “layers” to intensive the effect. Once you achieve the level of burn that you’re hoping for, you can then begin the healing process.

Typically the description of the burn result is much like the way your skin would look or feel if you had a mild sunburn or wind burn to the skin. Not the kind of effect that would require a long “down time” for the healing process.

The healing process would most likely include very gentle cleansers, some very emollient moisturizer, and / or some antibacterial ointment at night to speed the recovery time.

After healing the skin will be tighter, thicker (due to increased collagen production - an added benefit of the stronger peels). Upon healing the skin may appear fuller, smoother with smaller pores and with less wrinkles and fine lines. Basically ones skin will look rejuvenated and more youthful following a chemical peel.

Topical Acids and How They Work

There are many types and varieties of these topical acids. They are usually grouped and defined by their relative strength and depth reached into the skin layers.

Some chemical peels may go deeper into the dermis (next layer of skin). Some of the most common purposes of this process is to remove damaged, blemished, sun-damaged, freckled skin and replace it with younger, healthier skin.

There are basically six kinds of commonly used topical acids for skin: the light acids (AHA), light oil-based acids (BHA), lactic acid, malic acid, medium acids (TCA), and deep acids (Phenol).

AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids): These are the mildest of the topical acids. They are usually sugar derived hence their names, glycolic, malic, lactic and other fruit acids. These peels are usually performed by a dermatologist or esthetician and have minimal healing or downtime. Downtime is referred to as the time when the skin is healing and may be uncomfortable to be viewed in public due to peeling and possibly discolored dead skin that is usually associated with a deeper peel.

Malic Acids:  Typically derived from apples, this acid considered milder than glycolic acid, and if added to a product or a chemical peel, can add a nice multi-level effect to the process. Malic acids contain antioxidants that are great for your skin.

Lactic Acids:  Lactic acid is usually derived from milk. It can do everything glycolic acid does, but just a bit slower because it’s a little bit larger, which slightly reduces its ability to penetrate skin’s outermost layer. Topical lactic acid in concentrations of 2% and up can hydrate skin; when used alone or with other AHAs, it begins working as an exfoliant at a 5% concentration, with amounts between 5% and 10% considered ideal for skincare products meant to exfoliate.


Our glycolic acid cream includes TCA, lactic, and malic acids - and is the perfect option for you to reveal fresher, younger looking skin.

BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acids): The main difference between these acids and alpha hydroxyl acids (AHA) is that BHA's are only oil soluble. There is basically only one BHA, salicylic acid. This unique feature of being oil soluble makes this acid very effective in cleaning and removing bacteria, dead skin cells and sebum oil from deep inside the pores. Because of this solubility difference, salicylic acid is better suited for use on oily, irritated skin with postules, blackheads and whiteheads. It is available in numerous forms, cream, gel, lotions, shampoo and topical solutions. The latter two forms are primarily for treating the scalp as salicylic acid has also been found effective in the treatment of dandruff, psoriasis, and dermatitis of the skin and scalp. Same as with AHA peels, occlusive dressings and/or layering may be used to drive the acid in farther.

TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid):  TCA or trichloroacetic acid is considered a deeper medium depth acid. TCA is a more effective and longer lasting than the sugar and citric acids as it goes deeper into the dermis and can therefore treat more skin ailments, conditions and problems. A TCA peel does not require layering or occlusive dressings (methods used to drive AHA and BHA peels deeper). TCA, being a deeper reaching acid, is effective on more skin conditions and problems. Basically a TCA peel has the benefits of both AHA and BHA peels along with deeper penetration and longer lasting effects. Healing or downtime tends to be longer as much as several weeks or more depending on the depth achieved. Peeling is more severe and the results more dramatic. TCA peels are routinely used by dermatologist and plastic surgeons in office as recommended treatments for all stages of acne including acne vulgaris.

TCA is derived from a modified version of acetic acid, which can be commonly found in vinegar. Its benefits are extensive, which makes it a worthwhile option for even those who prefer all natural or consider themselves to be “crunchy”. Rarely will you find an ingredient that can help so effectively treat the progression of skin cancer, chronic inflammation acne and other skin issues. TCA have been used for years to treat severe actinic damage and prevent the progression of skin cancer.

TCA has also been proven to remove and treat freckles, years of sun damage, bad pigmentation, scars, loose skin and wrinkles and fine lines. TCA has recently even been used by doctors to treat, remove and lighten tattoos.

Phenol Acid:  Phenol peels are the deepest type of chemical peel. It will penetrate the skin deeper than AHA peels or TCA peels to address more serious imperfections such as blotchiness, coarse wrinkles, and acne scars. Compared to light chemical peels and medium chemical peels, deep chemical peels have more dramatic results, and only a single treatment is required. However, deep (phenol) chemical peel recovery is lengthy and considered extremely uncomfortable compared to milder chemical peels. It’s highly unadvisable for anyone to try to attempt a phenol peel at home, so please stick with acid options that are less potent.

TCA is an Excellent Option

Clinical studies published in the Annals of Plastic Surgery and elsewhere show the TCA acid are the most effective for most skin conditions and problems. With all peels, make sure you use the maximum sun protection available to protect the new skin from harmful UV rays that can cause cancer in unprotected skin. A high SPF (sun protection factor) sun block and protective attire (hats) are recommended.

While there was some debate years ago, the most recent studies show that it is very safe and regularly used to help treat Melasma and precancerous skin.

Per the US National Library of Medicine:

Chemical peeling is now an established weapon in the therapeutic armamentarium for melasma. Today a plethora of superficial chemical peeling agents are being used in melasma like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) and Jessner’s peel. TCA is a versatile peeling agent, since the peel depth can be varied according to the concentration of TCA solution used. It is commonly used as a superficial to medium depth peel with advantages of being stable, inexpensive, self-neutralizing and without any systemic toxicity.

TCA Peel Benefits: We've Got a Plan

If you use our products, you can enjoy the benefits at any time, with very little maintenance afterwards, unless you layer the product to the extent that you can visibly see the “burn” effect on the skin – which will simply look slightly red. If that is your plan, follow up by keeping skin hydrated and use some antibacterial ointment at night. Light cosmetics are fine, and mineral cosmetics are even better, as they can help the healing process and offer some sun protection.

We have made it extremely easy, by formulating a couple of products that are easy to handle. They will not spill or splash, since they are in a cream formula, and the strength is suitable for everyone. Once applied to clean dry skin, just wait, and then you can leave on or rinse off. There's no guess work or confusion.

You can apply our cream in the evening and do periodically, based on your own personal skin care goals. If your skin looks like it needs time to heal, give it a couple of days before reapplying. You'll know when your skin needs a short break.

In time, you will see an improvement in sun spots, discoloration, tone and firmness, as well as a reduction in wrinkles. When you look better, you feel better and more confident.

Our glycolic acid cream includes TCA, lactic, and malic acids - and is the perfect option for you to reveal fresher, younger looking skin:


Rest assured, you can safely enjoy the benefits of TCA in the comfort of your own home, affordably when it’s convenient for you. Our tca peel cream that includes glycolic, malic and lactic acid is designed to be user friendly and beat the high cost of a doctor’s office visit or the time consuming inconvenience of a spa or salon.

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Jeanette @

I'm a formulator and skin care expert, wife, parent, and fur baby mom. I specialize in active ingredient research and studies, and share that information with you via our blog and products. Please reach out anytime you have questions!

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