Discover the best TCA peels to transform your skin, why I recommend them, and skincare treatments for acne scars, wrinkles & fine lines, puffy eyes, and smile lines.
Overall, my top recommendation is Platinum Skin Care TCA Peel 7-13-20-30.
Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is one of the strongest at-home chemical peels, best known for its ability to penetrate deeper than superficial peels like glycolic acid.
In fact, TCA peels are often called medium-depth peels as they provide a uniform and consistent penetration into the dermis (the layer of skin below the epidermis).
So what does this mean for you?
Well, for one thing - it means TCA can address deeper skin problems like acne scars, wrinkles and fine lines, and skin discoloration.
For another - by removing damaged skin and dead skin cells, TCA then helps you produce more collagen and healthy skin cells, for a smoother, firmer, and brighter complexion.
In other words, a TCA chemical peel is an excellent option if your main skin concerns are anti-aging, scarring, and dark spots - or you simply want healthy and glowing skin. 👏
Let’s help you find the right TCA peel for your skin concern and budget!
In This Article
Here are my top picks for the best TCA peel:
Platinum Skin Care is my #1 pick for an effective and affordable at-home TCA peel. With over 1,200+ reviews, this bestselling face peel is available in 4 concentrations:
• 7% TCA: Best for Sensitive Skin and Eye Peels
• 13% TCA: Best for Darker Skin Types and Beginners
• 20% TCA: Best for Advanced and Lip Peels
• 30% TCA: Best for TCA CROSS and Body Peels
These are certified chemical peels often used by professionals like dermatologists and aestheticians so you’re getting the same quality for a fraction of the price.
In addition, unique Cool-Action (Menthol) additives help produce a more comfortable peel experience by reducing burning, stinging, and irritation. 🤗
For beginners to chemical peels, I recommend starting with the 13% TCA peel (single layer) which is considered a superficial peel similar to a 30-50% glycolic acid peel.
Once you’re able to apply 4-5 layers of it consistently, it’s time to move up to 20% TCA.
For eye peels (to treat eye bags, eye hoods, dark circles, crow’s feet), only use 7% TCA as the skin around your eyes is extremely thin and therefore very sensitive.
For TCA CROSS (to treat atrophic acne scars, especially ice pick scars) and body peels, you’ll need 30% TCA to remove damaged scar tissue and promote skin regeneration.
⚠️ Now, let’s talk about TCA safety for a minute. Here’s a great video by Platinum Skin Care:
Unlike alpha hydroxy acids, the depth of a TCA peel is determined by the concentration and the number of layers (more layers = deeper peel) so proper peel technique is critical.
In fact, research shows that multiple layers of a lower concentration peel can produce the same results as a higher concentration peel but with fewer side effects (Soleymani, 2018).
Following the peel, you should expect to see flaking and mild redness for a few days with an average recovery time of about 10-14 days (more for higher concentrations).
In dark skin, however, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a common concern that can be prevented by preparing the skin with a melanin inhibitor (such as Meladerm), applying adequate sunscreen pre- and post-peel, and using a lower concentration.
For at-home TCA peel instructions, here’s a helpful tutorial by dermatologist Dr. Davin Lim:
My Verdict: TCA is an excellent, but often misunderstood, chemical peel for promoting healthy, smooth, and glowing skin. I recommend Platinum Skin Care for their high quality and wide selection of TCA peels with unique Cool-Action (Menthol) technology.Shop Now
Perfect Image is a great choice for beginners with a super affordable 15% TCA peel for under $30 a bottle.
(P.S. Perfect Image was kind enough to give my readers an exclusive 20% off with promo code DERM20 🙌)
As we discussed previously, beginners should start with a low TCA concentration (10-15%) in monolayer at first and slowly work up to multiple layers (stop at 4-5).
Remember, more layers = a deeper peel.
Not only is it affordable, but this chemical peel is packed with boosters like salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) to open clogged pores while a blend of botanical extracts (cucumber, green tea, chamomile, comfrey) soothes irritation, stinging, and redness during this face peel.
With regular use, this chemical peel will help brighten your dark spots, reduce melasma, stamp out superficial blemishes, and smooth out rough skin texture.
While you’re on Perfect Image’s website, I highly recommend picking up a pack of their Premium Peel Application Pads (made from high-quality rayon) to help apply the peel. But if you prefer fan brushes, they’ve got you covered too with their 8-inch Peel Brush.
My Verdict: Perfect Image makes a great beginner peel that’s super affordable at $29.95 and includes additional ingredients like salicylic acid and botanical extracts. You can get 20% off with promo code DERM20 and shipping is always free on orders over $20. 🙌Shop Now
This chemical peel features 15% TCA and 3% glycolic acid to target visible signs of aging and uneven skin tone.
According to SkinCeuticals and its independent partners, patients who had 3 treatments after 12 weeks saw:
• 37% reduction in smile lines and lip wrinkles
• 19% improvement in hyperpigmentation
• 31% improvement in fine lines
• 28% improvement in smoothness
• 21% reduction in pore sizes
The treatment includes a post-peel restorative masque (essentially an anti-inflammatory cream) that soothes and reduces skin temperature for greater comfort.
My Verdict: If you’re looking for a professional chemical peel with excellent clinical results, ask your nearest authorized SkinCeuticals provider about their new Smart TCA Peel.Shop Now
If you’re looking for an effective treatment for acne scars that won’t break the bank (like $1,000+ laser therapy 🤔), TCA CROSS is a great option, especially for ice pick scars.
Invented by South Korean doctors in 2002, the CROSS (Chemical Reconstruction of Skin Scars) technique involves applying high concentration TCA to the base of your ice pick scars using a wooden toothpick (Lee, 2002).
The TCA breaks down scar tissue and damaged skin to promote wound healing and cell regeneration, including new collagen and elastin fibers to fill in scar cavities.
This is particularly effective for ice pick scars where the main problem is a loss of collagen and skin tissue.
You can get a TCA CROSS treatment at your dermatologist’s office, where they’ll likely use a TCA concentration of 50-100% (the original inventors used both 65% and 100%).
However, you can also perform TCA CROSS at home using a lower concentration of 20-30% (to ensure safety). Here’s an excellent demonstration by Platinum Skin Care:
For comparison, here’s a professional CROSS treatment by dermatologist Dr. Davin Lim:
My Verdict: TCA CROSS is a clinically proven technique for improving atrophic acne scars, especially ice pick scars. Do one yourself at home with Platinum Skin Care’s TCA Peel 30 or ask your local dermatologist about this effective yet inexpensive procedure.Shop Now
For a convenient and effective anti-aging chemical peel, Perfect Image’s Revitaboost Peel Pads are easy to use and come in 30 pre-soaked cotton towelettes.
(btw, that works out to $1 per peel! 😍 Plus, Perfect Image is giving my readers a 20% discount with code DERM20)
The Revitaboost Peel Pads target common signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, dullness, and uneven skin tone.
The key ingredients include a 35% AHA blend of TCA, glycolic, mandelic, malic, and citric acids to remove problematic skin and restore elasticity & suppleness.
Meanwhile, willow bark extract (natural salicylic acid) fights acne and opens pores (perfect for oily skin type).
In addition, botanical extracts help reduce skin irritation while providing antioxidant and brightening benefits.
My Verdict: For a convenient and effective anti-aging booster, the Revitaboost Peel Pads by Perfect Image are a “perfect” option with 35% AHAs and botanical extracts. My readers can save 15% with promo code DERM20 and shipping is always free on orders over $20.Shop Now
This Set Contains:
Your eyes are one of the first things that people notice so it’s important to keep them healthy with plenty of sleep (they don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing!) and water, two key factors in treating puffy eyes and dark circles.
If your eyes are already showing visible signs of aging, such as eye bags, crow’s feet, and sagging eyelids, consider using Platinum Skin Care’s TCA Eye Peel Kit to smooth eye wrinkles & lines and stimulate collagen.
This 5-piece kit was put together with your eyes in mind and is suitable for the sensitive skin around them.
7% TCA gently exfoliates and promotes wound healing while 35% Matrixyl® Synthe’6® (a patented peptide) enhances collagen and hyaluronic acid formation.
Last but not least, Luminosity Serum (0.5% Retinol) drives further skin peeling and intense collagen regeneration.
Here's a demonstration video on how to use the TCA Eye Peel Kit:
My Verdict: For puffy eyes, crow’s feet, and more, Platinum Skin Care’s TCA Eye Peel Kit can help correct visible signs of aging for a younger-looking first impression.Shop Now
If you’re looking for a solution to lip wrinkles, a.k.a. lip lines, lipstick lines, and smoker’s lines, consider a TCA lip peel to smooth them and stimulate collagen.
According to Healthline, getting rid of lip wrinkles can “easily take 10 years off your face”! 🤗
That’s because your lips get drier and thinner over time as your body produces less collagen. Other major factors include chronic dryness, sun damage, and smoking.
Platinum Skin Care has prepared a TCA Lip Peel Kit with:
• 20% TCA: for spot treatment of the upper and lower lip and marionette lines (between your mouth and chin)
• 75% Syn-Tc Complex: a patented peptide that increases collagen growth for plumper lips
• 0.5% Luminosity Serum: a retinol peel enhancer that drives further peeling and collagen production
Here's a demonstration video on how to use the TCA Lip Peel Kit:
My Verdict: For lip wrinkles and smile lines, use Platinum Skin Care's TCA Lip Peel Kit to take "years off your face" and restore plumper lips and smoother skin when you smile.Shop Now