Jessner peel vs TCA peel (And When To Use Each)

jessner peel vs tca peel

Jessner peel vs TCA peel: are you wondering which to use on your skin? If so, you are not alone. Many people who want to improve the look of their skin, reduce the signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles or specifically target problems like acne scars consider using a chemical peel to do so. The Jessner peel and TCA peels are two of the most popular treatments available. But how can you know which to use?

Let’s take a closer look at each to help answer that question.

The Jessner Peel

Named for its inventor, Dr. Max Jessner, the Jessner peel uses a patented combination of substances to get the desired skin resurfacing effect. The substances used in a Jessner peel are salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol, each in a specific amount.

Using these three substances together allows for a broader result, since salicylic acid and lactic acid are generally used in lighter peels while resorcinol is similar to the acids used in some deeper peels.

Together, these substances allow for more measured and predictable results and since the strength of each individual ingredient is carefully controlled, there is less likelihood of harsh side effects. This makes the decision of whether to use a Jessner peel or TCA peel much easier for some individuals.

TCA Peels

A TCA peel uses trichloroacetic acid in various concentrations depending on what depth of peel you want. A concentration between 10 and 35 percent is used for a superficial peel; 40-50 percent for a medium peel and anything greater than 50 percent results in a deep peel.

Because the concentration can be changed, this allows doctors to better target specific problems. The deepest TCA peels are generally only used on individuals with lighter skin as that high a concentration can result in hyperpigmentation.

Different Uses for Different Peels

When deciding whether to opt for a Jessner peel or TCA peel, it is important to take into consideration your skin type and the type of problem you are trying to address. As noted above, harsher peels are not recommended for dark skinned individuals, nor are they always appropriate for individuals with sensitive skin, who may not be able to tolerate strong chemical solutions.

Aside from those differences, the type of peel you opt for will depend heavily on what exactly you are trying to treat. Both types can be used to treat the general signs of aging, such as wrinkles, or superficial sun damage.

TCA peels, particularly in stronger concentrations, can also treat actinic keratosis, hyperpigmentation, and melasma. Jessner peels are particularly effective at treating acne scars and blotchiness.

A Final Note

While both types of peel have similar side effects, including a tingling sensation, redness and peeling of the skin, it is important to note when comparing a Jessner peel with a TCA peel that the extra ingredients in a Jessner peel can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Also a Jessner peel should not be used on pregnant women. If you have any question about which type of peel is best for you, be sure to consult your doctor or dermatologist, as they will be able to help you make an informed decision.


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