How to Tell the Difference Between Glycolic Acid Peels & TCA Peels

Chemical peels are rising in popularity. People are using these methods to manage their skin care problems and maximize their beauty potential. A chemical peel is a procedure used to combat the signs of aging. They are said to give the person a more youthful appearanceĀ  and radiant skin. Chemical peels however, are not all the same. They do vary according to solution and the results they yield. There are yet further differences between a standard Glycolic Acid peel and a TCA peel.

Chemical Solution

  • A TCA peel’s uses TriChloroacetic Acid. This active chemical ingredient is a strong Acetic Acid. Keep in mind that Glycolic Acid is a type of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (and the other a Lactic Acid. Glycolic Acid is found in fruit in nature or it can be synthesized.


  • A Glycolic Acid peel is considered a light chemical peel. Glycolic Acid is safely and used widespread in various over the counter products and skin care systems. A TCA peel is a medium peel. It is deeper than a Glycolic Acid peel. In the range of chemical peels its results are said to be more dramatic than Glycolic Acid peels.


  • A Glycolic Acid peel effects the superficial skin layers. This is the layer of skint hat is visible when you look in the mirror. When you use a Glycolic Acid peel on a regular basis, things like skin discoloration and fine lines tend to be reduced. A TCA peel works deeper than that. It can repair sun burn damaged skin and fine lines and wrinkles.


  • All these peels have the ability to treat mild to moderate level aging skin. It doesn’t matter what they actual skin type is. However, some sources ay darker skinned patients and olive skin toned patients do better with TCA peels.

Side Effects

  • The skin will adjust to the Glycolic Acid with some slight irritation in the start. While the TCA peel has side effects that range from redness, flaking skin and local swelling. Some TCA peels take a process of 2-3 days to complete. During this time restricted activity should be observed following these treatments according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.


  • The use of Sun block is mandatory following any level or type of chemical peel. Especially after a TCA treatment. Be aware that some skin may not color evenly following a chemical peel treatment. Your pores may also appear larger than before the chemical peel was applied.
  • Always take care to not use moisturizers, creams or lotions before the prescribed time following a chemical peel treatment for your safety.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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