Pigmentation is the skin’s natural defence shield against the potentially carcinogenic effects of UV rays in sunlight. The skin, which is naturally endowed with melanin, produces more of this pigment in response to sunlight. However, there comes a point when it all goes out of control as a result of overexposure or age-related changes in skin – or both factors working in tandem. Hyperpigmentation may also manifest as melasma. Acne can leave behind deeply pigmented spots.
Whatever the origin of hyperpigmentation, there are a slew of techniques and technologies to deal with it. Your dermatologist may often select TCA Peel (trichloracetic acid), a non-toxic peel which is a chemical cousin of vinegar. TCA has been in use for over two decades now and has proved to be an efficacious solution. In certain cases, especially melasma, many lasers are difficult to use but deep-acting TCA has the ability to get right down to the problem.
The primary challenge with hyperpigmentation is that its signposts show up at the epidermis while it resides in the deeper layers of skin. Now all peels work by removing a layer of sun damaged skin. In order to go deeper, they need to be applied in ever greater concentrations which bears the attendant risk of complications such as uneven action and scarring in some instances. That’s why TCA Peels are an excellent choice. They can be made to work at various depths with a more moderate action.
When TCA is applied to the skin, it causes the top layers of cells to dry up and peel off – not instantaneously but over a period of up to a week. Old skin gives way to new. A new layer of undamaged skin emerges, which has a smoother texture and more even tone.
It can be used on various parts of the body – the face, neck, chest, back, arms, and legs. However a lot depends on the expertise of the dermatologist because factors such the response of an individual’s skin to various concentrations can be difficult to predict.
You can expect clearer, smoother, more even-toned skin as the TCA Peel achieves a reduction in brown spots and age spots, and refines the texture of leathery, sun damaged skin.
It is important to remember that the in-clinic session is only the beginning of the peeling process. You will usually peel for about one week with a medium peel. If you are light-skinned, your skin will be a light yellow after the procedure for 1-2 hours. This color will gradually fade. The skin will feel tight and stay slightly redder for 2-3 days after the peel.
- Avoid exfoliating and laser treatments at least one month prior to treatment
- Do not use Accutane (acne medication) for x weeks before the treatment
- Do not apply Retin-A, Tazorac, Renova, or Differin (also acne medication) two weeks before and two weeks after your treatment
- Do not use any waxing or hair removal creams two weeks before treatment
- First of all, remember that the peeling process is meant to continue after you’ve left the clinic. The work has only just begun. Do not get anxious about it. Avoid scrubbing your skin in an effort to speed things up or out of sheer irritation.
- Wait at least 48 hours before resuming the regular use of Retin-A or other vitamin A products
- Avoid waxing facial hair for 72 hours after treatment
- Avoid strenuous exercise until at least the next day or until all the redness has subsided
- Avoid direct sunlight for at least 1 week and use sunblock with SPF50 or greater
- Avoid scrubbing your face. Use a mild facial wash and pat gently dry
- Avoid other facial treatments for at least 1 week after your peel
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