tca tattoo removal

TCA Tattoo Removal – Everything You Need To Know!

Laser surgery is now the most popular when it comes to getting rid of unwanted tattoos. But before laser surgery became fashionable, dermatologists relied on other methods like TCA Tattoo Removal. But that doesn’t mean chemical peels have gone out of fashion.

Frequently Asked Questions About TCA Tattoo Removal

How Do Chemical Peels Work?

Chemical peels make use of chemical agents to resurface the skin. Once these peels are applied, the chemical penetrates through the top layer of the skin to cause controlled injury. Of course, the chemicals can reach deeper, but all of that depends on the strength of the peel. What happens is that this makes the superficial layer of the skin to come off. The body then activates its natural defenses to make new skin cells and leaves behind a much smoother appearance. Two types of chemicals are used for tattoo removal. One of them is TCA or Trichloroacetic acid.

What is Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)?

It is a comparatively mild chemical peel which can fade off or even remove tattoos. But it will take several applications to do so. You can consider about three months or so depending on the size, depth, and color of the tattoo. This is because colors like yellow and red are far more difficult to remove than others.

Does It Work On All Types of Colors?

Unlike the laser tattoo removal process, it seems to work well for most all types of colors. So whether it is green or blue or something else, you don’t have to worry about it. Although colors like yellow and red can take some more time to come off. It is also said that it works better than lasers when it comes to removing ankle tattoos.

How does it work?

This acid works by removing the top layers of your skin. It will reach into the deep layers of the skin where the ink lurks. Once the avid makes contact with the skin, it will promote skin cell turnover. It will inevitably cause the skin to peel. Due to this, new skin will form and the tattoo gets covered gradually with that. So over time, it will be lightened and maybe also removed.

How fast does this work?

The effects of TCA are visible after 2-3 treatments itself. This lightening and fading effect is the most obvious with the brightly colored tattoos. The borders of the tattoo usually begin to fade right during the initial treatment stages. The number of treatments needed can vary, but 3 to 6 treatments may be all that is needed to get the fading of that tattoo.

Is it harder to get rid of older tattoos?

Generally, newer ones will come off easier than older ones. But there are some inks which are very resistant to any attempts at removal. On the other hand, older tattoo inks do sometimes come off easily and sometimes not. It all matters on the type of ink used.

Is this treatment too painful?

Applying Trichloroacetic Acid is not a painful process usually, but you must be prepared for minor skin irritation. If you apply it on broken skin or inflamed skin, then the irritation or pain can worsen a lot. Some even may have to take pain medication before each application. As such, it’s better to be on the safe side and consult a dermatologist regarding your skin sensitivity and other issues. This way, you will know if you need to take some precautions or not.

Are there risks of using it?

A small percentage of individuals who have used it for tattoo removal did report back that they found adverse skin reactions. Included amongst these side effects are a pain, blistering, scarring, severe discoloration of surrounding skin, and more. You have to keep in mind that every skin type is different. As such, you should test a little skin area by applying the peel before you move on the treatment fully. This will help you determine if you have any skin allergies or any adverse reactions to the chemicals in the peel. The bottom line is that it may not work out for everyone.

Where can it be used on the body?

TCA is an acid which peels off the skin. So it is advisable to not use it for removal of tattoos which are around the ears, nose, eyes, and lips. This is because when you use it around these areas, then it can lead to toxicity. Along with this, you can find results in such areas to be unpredictable. As such, it’s better not to take risks and avoid it altogether.

Who cannot use it?

It does work generally well for fair skinned Caucasians. But people who tend to tan or those with darker skin colors like African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics as such don’t get the same results with the acid. It should be noted that it produces unpredictable results and has been known to cause hypo-pigmentation of the skin. Along with this, various types of ethnic groups may require a different number of TCA treatments to fade or remove the tattoo.

How often should one use TCA?

It should be applied once just every 4 to 6 weeks. Remember that it is a peeling product, and as such, frequent use can cause severe scarring, irritation, and skin peeling. After you use TCA for the first time, you will be able to find results in a couple of weeks. This will be in the form of your skin peeling off. You should wait till all your excess skin has peeled off, which will take another 2-3 weeks.

What are the results of tattoo removal with TCA?

It is quite successful in lightening up the tattoos in a lot of cases. But one should still keep in mind that its ability to remove them fully isn’t fully there.

How to use it?

It is very easily found at various pharmacies and also on the internet. The directions for preparations are given therein, but it does require you to dilute it with water. Generally, one ounce of TCA should ideally be enough to treat a moderately sized tattoo. Other instructions will be given with purchase, and you should read and follow them all. This is because different creams have different chemical strength levels, and so instructions must be read carefully before applying.

Can one use this therapy along with laser removal?

If you want to save up on some money, then it can be used at home to fade out the tattoo. After you do a few treatments, then laser removal method can begin. This will ultimately cost less overall as you need fewer treatments. In some cases, TCA may also remove the tattoo fully without the need of any such laser removal. But all this depends on the tattoo as well.

Can you use it during pregnancy or when breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, there aren’t many medical studies which can prove one way or the other. But to be on the safe side, it’s better not to use it during these crucial times. It’s advisable that you wait till you have given birth and completed the breastfeeding stage before using it.

Can you workout or tan while using it?

When using this acid, you should try to keep the treated area fully covered when you head out outdoors. This is because the new skin will be photosensitive and so more exposure to the sun automatically means more damage. Use a strong sunblock to protect it and put on appropriate clothing when heading out. As for working out, that’s not a problem as long as the treated area isn’t affected or rubbed on by the worn clothing, pulled by a particular movement or exercise equipment.

How much time will it take to remove the tattoo with TCA?

It’s not possible to know how long will it take till two or three treatments are over. As said before, it does depend on the type of ink used, the depth the ink was applied for and the age of the tattoo too. Our bodies will also get a say in how long it will take. So it can be answered with much precision.

Can you use it before getting a cover-up?

Many customers have used it to fade out their previous tattoo before getting a cover-up tattoo, and it works. It is mainly used to fade out black tribal tattoos to a lighter gray which gives a much wider color palette to choose from.

TCA is a self-applied product, and so it is easy to misuse it. If you use too much of the product or too little of it, or if you wait too long between applications, all of it can be disastrous. This is because then you will most probably have to come to terms with allergic reactions, skin discolorations, and even scarring. It is severely advisable that you seek professional advice from a tattoo removal specialist. Ask them for the best treatment options which can work for your removal.