How to Apply a TCA Peel

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA), is applied to skin for chemical peels. During a peel, TCA is applied to your face for 10 to 15 minutes to remove the outer layers of the skin and reveal fresh layers of skin underneath. A TCA peel treats surface wrinkles, skin pigment problems and blemishes. TCA peels with acid concentrations of 30 percent or more are usually applied in a doctor’s office, but you can purchase a TCA peel kit with a lower concentration at cosmetic stores.If you are new to chemical peels, start with an 8 percent concentration of TCA.

Woman getting a facial peel (Image: simazoran/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Test the TCA on a small patch of skin before applying it to your face. Wait 24 hours to see if you tolerate the peel.

Step 2

Wash your face thoroughly with skin cleanser. Pat dry.

Step 3

Put on latex gloves before handling the TCA.

Step 4

Apply a thin layer of TCA to your skin with a facial brush. Avoid the eye and lip areas.

Step 5

Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes and allow the TCA to sit on the skin until the timer rings.

Step 6

Apply a generous amount of post-peel neutralizer to your skin. Cover every area on which you applied TCA to ensure that you neutralize the chemical.

Step 7

Wash your face with cleanser and apply antibiotic ointment to your skin for the first 48 hours after your peel.

Step 8

Protect your skin with a sunblock with SPF 30 or higher for a week after your peel.

Things You'll Need

  • Skin cleanser

  • Latex gloves

  • Facial brush

  • Kitchen timer

  • Post-peel neutralizer

  • Antibiotic ointment

  • SPF 30 sunblock


Do not place the peel too close to the eyes. If the peel gets into the eyes, you could burn your cornea or damage your vision permanently.

Leaving the peel on your skin too long may result in persistent redness and skin damage.

If have an allergic reaction to the peel, such as an intense itching or the development of raised lesions or bumps on your face, see your doctor immediately.

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