How to Recover From a TCA Chemical Peel

A chemical peel involves the application of chemicals as a means to encourage skin exfoliation. A trichloracetic acid (TCA) peel is a medium-depth peel that penetrates the skin to exfoliate several layers of skin. A TCA peel can be applied to treat surface wrinkling, blemishes and skin discolorations, such as age or spots, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 4. Because the healing time associated with the chemical peel may be up to two weeks, knowing how to properly care for the skin as it peels allows you to ensure best results.

Take a prescription or over-the-counter pain reliever to relieve pain and swelling that can occur after undergoing a TCA peel, advises Doc Shop. If the pain becomes so severe that it cannot be controlled with pain medications, notify your physician immediately.

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Remove any tape used to cover your face at your doctor's advisement. This typically occurs one to two days post-surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 4.

Wash the face twice daily with a gentle soap or cleanser. This will help to reduce oils, bacteria and dead skin cells that can build on the skin throughout the course of your day.

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Apply an antibacterial ointment to your skin twice daily in order to prevent infection. Apply very gently as your skin may be tender and delicate. Antibacterial ointment helps to kill any bacteria that can appear following surgery.

Put on a hat and sunscreen before going outdoors. You should avoid sun exposure as much as possible, particularly during the week after the TCA peel is applied, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 4. Because the TCA peel application exposes new skin, your skin will be significantly more sensitive to the sun. In addition to sunscreen, a hat will help to further shield your face from the sun.


Expect your skin to appear crusted, darkened and stiff following a TCA peel application. These symptoms typically last seven to 10 days, reports You may wish to plan for being out of the public eye for at least a week.