TCA Peeling Away Your Sun Damage

TCA Peel Living in beautiful, sunny San Diego, we all have sun damage. Well, maybe not that odd neighbor who you suspect of being a vampire, but the rest of us for sure! Dr. Kearney uses trichloracetic acid to peel away some this sun damaged skin, along with fine lines and wrinkles, and brown spots. While using acid on your face sounds drastic, it’s not, and the results are very pleasing.

Speeding up exfoliation

Our skin naturally sheds its outer layer on a regular basis. We’re not as dramatic as a snake shedding its entire skin, but the process is ongoing. The problem is, this shedding slows as we age. Chemical peels are an effective way to give the natural processes a little help.

Origins of peeling agents

Most chemical peeling agents have natural origins. The hydroxy acids used in light peels all come from food: tartaric acid from grapes, malic acid from apples, glycolic acid from sugar cane, and lactic acid from sour milk.

Dr. Kearney prefers to use a stronger peeling agent to remove sun damage and lines — trichloracetic acid (TCA). This acid is a modified synthetic chemical that is based in common vinegar and acetic acid.

How TCA works

TCA is considered a kerato- coagulant, meaning it coagulates the skin’s proteins together. On the skin, once the keratin proteins are coagulated, this will show as a slight “frosting” on the skin. This frosting is the sign that the TCA has done its job and is no longer active. This is the time to clean off the peeling agent and calm the skin. The goal is to create controlled inflammation, just enough to trigger the skin to shed its surface layer of cells.

At Dr. Kearney’s, our 40% TCA peel is performed in our office, and you return home afterward. You’ll feel a mild burning or tingling sensation as we apply the solution to your skin. We minimize these feelings through the use of a fan. Immediately after your treatment, your skin will appear red, and you may have some mild swelling. You should take it easy for a couple of days

Your sun damage spots will darken and rise to the surface of the skin; then your skin will begin to peel 2-3 days after your session. This peeling is not severe but will last up to eight days. Your skin will be somewhat pinker for the next few weeks, but this can be easily masked with makeup. As your skin calms down, you’ll see a dramatic lessening of the spots and fine wrinkles that have come from your sun exposure.

Interested in getting rid of some of your sun damage and age spots? Call Dr. Kearney at 858-677-9352 and ask about our TCA peels.

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After careful consideration and at the request of our state, and concern for the health and safety of our patients, we are cancelling all non-essential appointments and surgical procedures starting on 3-20-20. Please take note below of the ways that we are available to you over the next couple of weeks:

  • Appointments:Dr. Kearney will still be seeing a small number of post operative appointments over the next couple of weeks as well as any patients that require immediate attention or medical care, by appointment only. We are calling and emailing all patients who currently have appointments scheduled in the next 2 weeks to notify them and reschedule
  • Phone: We will be working remotely and able to answer questions as well as schedule future appointments and surgeries by calling our main number: 858.677.9352. Please note, however, that we will have reduced hours over the next couple of weeks so be sure to call during these times: M-F 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you have an urgent matter outside of these hours and need to speak to Dr. Kearney please call 619-270-4935.
  • Answering machine: Please do NOT leave important messages on the after hours greeting during the next 2 weeks as they may not be checked in a timely manner. Instead, we ask you to call or email during the above hours and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Email: We will have access to email and our patient scheduling system and will be available to check and respond to emails M-F from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you reach us outside of these hours please allow 24-48 hours for a response. You can continue to email the patient coordinator you’ve been in contact with or simply use [email protected]
  • Virtual consultations: Can’t come in for an appointment right now? No problem! Dr. Kearney is able to offer phone consultations during the next couple of weeks. Simply email us at [email protected] or call 858-677-9352 during the above hours and we will let you know the simple steps to take.

We apologize for any inconvenience the above changes may cause and are hoping things return to “normal” as soon as possible. Please stay safe and healthy and let’s all try to remain as positive as possible during this time of uncertainty.

We appreciate all of you and look forward to seeing you again very soon!


Dr. Kearney and staff