Chemical Peel

The function of a chemical peel (aka TCA peel) is to create an even, controlled shedding of several layers of damaged cells. This exposes a new fresh layer of skin with a more even color and a smoother texture. In addition, the peel stimulates new cells to grow, thereby tightening the skin, which decreases wrinkling.


Jennifer J. Janiga, MD, FAAD -- Chemical Peel

Chemical Peel – Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)


Why should I consider a chemical peel procedure? (TCA Peel)

Your skin is a living organ made up of millions of cells. Everyday thousands of cells die, fall off and are replaced by new cells from below. Unfortunately, as we age, this becomes a slower and more haphazard process, making your skin unable to shed dark blotches, sun damage, or a dull, lifeless complexion.

The function of a chemical peel is to create an even controlled shedding of several layers of damaged skin cells. This exposes a new, fresh layer of skin with a more even color and a smoother texture. In addition, the peel stimulates new cells to grow, thereby tightening the skin, which decreases wrinkling.

There are several types of peels, each using a different chemical to create this peeling effect. Light and medium depth peels use the chemical TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid) to create their peel.

What types of conditions will TCA peels improve?

Conditions that benefit from a TCA chemical peel include dull, weathered skin, freckling, blotchy pigmentation, sun damage, fine wrinkles, and shallow acne scars.

TCA is a non-toxic chemical which has been used to perform skin peels for over 30 years. Unlike some other types of peels, a TCA chemical peel has the additional advantage of creating a fresh natural appearing complexion, while preserving the normal skin color. For this reason, they are often referred to as “freshening peels”.

Although one chemical peel can significantly improve the appearance of the skin, some skin problems are deeper than others. It is possible that you may require more than one peel to achieve your best results.

If you decide that you are interested in a TCA chemical peel, you will need to have a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Janiga, who will examine your skin and discuss the potential benefits and risks of a TCA peel for your particular skin type and condition. If it is determined that you are a good candidate for this peel, some topical medications will be prescribed for you to prepare your skin for peeling.

How are TCA chemical peel treatments performed?

TCA peels are performed as an outpatient procedure in Dr. Janiga’s office. A solution containing TCA is applied to your skin. This is usually associated with 2-3 minutes of a burning and stinging sensation. This burning is so brief that most patients choose not to use any sedation or anesthesia.

What happens to my skin during a TCA peel treatment?

When TCA is applied to the skin, it causes the top layers of cells to dry up and peel off over a period of several days. When the old skin has peeled off, it exposes a new layer of undamaged skin that has a smoother texture and more even color.

How much time will I miss from work?

Most people take 5-7 days to heal from an average TCA peel. During the healing process there is no pain, but the skin looks as if it has a severe sunburn. Most people return to work after having a TCA peel. However, if you are self conscious about your appearance you may want to stay home until you’ve finished healing.

How soon can I resume my normal outdoor activities?

Anyone who has had a TCA peel is more sensitive to light for at least 6-8 weeks after their peel. During this time it is very important to protect the new skin with sunscreen, hats and the avoidance of strong sunlight. However, most people are anxious to protect their new improved skin from the damage of sun exposure and they continue to wear sun screen daily, even after they have healed completely.

Are there restrictions on who can have a chemical peel?

As with any procedure, not everyone is a candidate for the TCA peel. Please discuss your type of skin with Dr. Janiga and she will help you decide if the TCA peel is right for your skin.

Can TCA peels be done on other areas of the body besides the face?

Most people have similar aging and sun damage changes on the neck, chest and hands as those present on the face. Fortunately, TCA peels can be performed successfully on these other non-facial areas as well.

Will my insurance cover TCA peel therapy?

Insurance companies usually consider acid peels to be a cosmetic procedure, which is not a covered benefit.

What are some of the precautions?

If any of the following are true for you, you need to let Dr. Janiga know so precautions can be taken: facial warts, prior bad reactions to a peel or dermabrasion, past herpes simplex incidents (cold sores), a history of sun allergies, recent radiation treatment for cancer, a history of forming keloid scars or hypertrophic (thick) scars, currently pregnant or breast feeding, Accutane use within the past six months, sunburn or significant sun exposure in the last two days, Surgery or Cryo-surgery within the last six weeks to the area that you plan to have treated.

Are TCA Peel treatments available at your Reno office location?

Yes. Procedure duration varies depending on the number of treated areas, but is usually not more than 15-30 minutes.

For more information or to set up a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Janiga, for a TCA Peel procedure in our Reno dermatology office, please send us an email or call 775-398-4600.


Jennifer J. Janiga, MD, FAAD

Dr. Janiga enjoys taking care of both adults and children. Her extensive training and years of experience in medical dermatology, lasers, and cosmetic procedures allows her to treat her patients with the comprehensive attention they deserve.

Dr. Janiga listens attentively to what patients have to say, and works with them in planning the right course of action on an individual basis. Honest talk, humility and a fresh perspective paired with years of experience and education all contribute to the effectiveness of her straightforward care.