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 This frosting is the sign that the TCA has done its job and is no longer active.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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Our office is now open!

Your health (and ours) is our highest priority so we are making a few changes to our reopening so that you can feel safe and confident coming in to see us. We are of course following all federal and local guidelines such as wearing masks and conducting phone screenings prior to your appointment but we are also implementing the following:

      Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sterilization to not only include exam rooms but also the waiting room, restroom, all doors, counters, etc.

      Offering multiple hand sanitizer locations throughout the office

      Reducing the number of appointments per day as well as our office hours, to limit the number of people in the office, including staff members

      Minimizing patient overlap to allow for proper social distancing

      Testing all surgery patients for COVID-19 at their pre-operative appointments

      Asking patients to leave family members or friends at home, unless they are coming with their primary caregiver. Please leave children at home as well


How can you help?

      Come alone to your appointment, unless you need your primary caregiver with you

      Please wear a mask or face covering to your visit and keep it on unless you are asked by Dr. Kearney or an RN to remove it

      Postpone your visit if you have traveled by air or experienced symptoms in the last 14 days

      Use a pen from the holder marked “clean” and put it in the one marked “used” when you’re done

      Use the hand sanitizers in our office

      In the rare case there is someone at the front desk when you come in please take a seat until we call you and maintain proper distance throughout your visit

      Take advantage of our virtual consultations or follow up appointments if it makes you feel more comfortable

Please bear with us as we work to return to our new “normal” and feel free to call or email with any questions. We look forward to seeing you again soon!


Dr. Kearney and staff