What is TCA cross?
TCA stands for trichloroacetic acid. It comes in percentages ranging from 70-100% with higher concentrations being used for deep ice pick acne scars.
TCA is only applied to the scar, not the surrounding skin. Once applied, the TCA breaks down acne scar tissue, causing new collagen to fill the scar. This collagen takes 3-4 weeks to form and shows final results in 3-4 months.
What types of acne scarring can be treated by TCA cross?
TCA cross is best suited to deep ice pick or boxcar scars. The deeper the scar, the better TCA cross works. Other treatment modalities are often used in combination on the same day for best results.
TCA is also excellent for treating enlarged pores.
What is the recovery time for TCA cross?
You can expect redness to persist for 3-5 days post TCA cross.
Is TCA cross painful?
No. This treatment is very well tolerated, usually with no need for anaesthetic numbing cream.
How is TCA cross performed?
TCA cross is performed by placing a tiny drop of TCA into the depths of an acne scar. This can be done either with syringe or tooth pick dipped in TCA.
Your procedure starts with a thorough marking out of your acne scars followed by a cleanse of the skin. TCA is delivered to each individual scar causing a mild stinging that is experienced for a minute or two. The skin then turns red and stays this way for 2-3 days. Post procedure we apply an antiseptic soothing gel to prevent infection and speed healing.
How long does TCA cross take to perform?
TCA cross takes 5-10 minutes depending on the degree of acne scarring.
How many TCA cross sessions will I need?
Most patients require 2-3 sessions in total 8 weeks apart. We suggest more sessions in those with darker skin types secondary to a weaker strength to reduce the risk of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation in this group.
What degree of improvement can I expect from my TCA cross treatment?
Usually, we expect a 20-30% improvement with each session. Most patients with severe icepick scars can expect 60-70% improvement after a full treatment course is completed.
Can TCA cross be used on asian and dark skin types?
Yes. TCA cross is suitable for all skin types. You will however experience pigmentation in the treatment area. This is expected, will fade in 2-3 months and can be reduced by a protocol of sunscreen, sun avoidance, skin lightening creams and pigment inhibitors that will be prescribed by a Contour cosmetic professional at the time of your consultation.
You may choose to speed the resolution of pigmentation changes by undergoing our Q-switch Revlite laser, which can smooth any residual pigmentation.
Those with ligher skin types rarely experience pigmentation post TCA cross