A blue Peel is a chemical peel used to treat acne scars and fine wrinkles on the face. A blue peel uses a trichloroacetic acid (TCA) as a peeling agent. Because the peeling agent has the possibility of causing permanent damage to the skin and underlying structures, a blue dye is added to the formula. This blue dye allows the physician to monitor the dept of correction and appropriate level of treatment.
The Blue Peel is done as an outpatient in the physician's office. There are numerous concentrations of TCA available and the physician will determine what is the best concentration for your skin condition.
When the TCA is applied to the skin, it peels of the most superficial layers of the skin and replaces them with fresh new skin which is smooth, fresh and provides a softer texture.
Blue peel is effective in the treatment of:
- large pores
- skin discolorations
- sun damaged skin
The blue peel can be used on
- the face
- chest & back
- Hands, arms and legs.
Almost 10-20% of individuals who use TCA develop some type of adverse effect. These include:
- Severe discoloration of the surrounding skin.
TCA works best in fair skinned Caucasians. Individuals with a darker skin color, like Asians, Hispanics, and blacks generally do not have the same results with TCA. In dark skinned individuals TCA use has unpredictable results and has been know to cause extreme hypopigmentation of the skin. In addition, TCA treatments in these ethnic groups require more treatments for prolonged times. Overall, TCA is not recommended in such groups.
TCA should not be used as a peeling agent around the
The Blue peel procedure is generally done by a physician and takes anywhere from 20-60 minutes. TCA for skin peeling does sting initially but the pain does subside with time. TCA when applied to broken or ulcerated skin can cause intense pain. The pain rapidly subsides and all individuals develop a bluish hue on the skin which disappears in about 24 hours.
Most individuals require a few days to a week to recover after a Blue Peel.
TCA should only be applied once every 4-6 months. Since it acts as a peeling agent, frequent usage can lead to severe skin peeling. After the initial application of TCA, the skin starts to peel in 2-3 weeks. One has to wait until all the dead skin has peeled off which usually takes another 2-3 weeks.
Blue peels do not produce a permanent result and one must repeat the treatment every 6 months to maintain the cosmetic effect.
The effects of TCA are usually visible after the first treatment and the fresh new skin is seen around 2-4 weeks.
The cost of a Blue Peel treatment by a physician may vary in price according to the area being treated but is typically in the range of $ 400 and above. Lighter strength TCA is also available at various pharmacies and also on the Internet for home use.
One ounce of TCA costs about 40-60$. The TCA needs to be diluted with water before use.
When applying a blue peel, a few days of recovery are needed. The face does stain blue for a few days. Following this the skin will start to peel and fall over the next 7-10 days. One must take a few weeks off to ensure full recovery
Blue Peels are much cheaper than other wrinkle treatments. The major disadvantage is that the procedure is prolonged and one has to take time off to recover. But the results are pleasing