If AHA peels and phenol peels are at opposite ends of the chemical peel spectrum, then trichloroacetic acid peels fall right in the middle. Aside from being used in chemical peels, trichloroacetic acid is also commonly used to kill some types of warts [source: Mayo Clinic]. Since chemical peels remove layers of skin, using the same chemicals to remove warts makes sense.
Trichloroacetic acid peels are great for evening out skin tone and getting rid of imperfections, and, unlike AHA peels, they can even get rid of finer wrinkles. The results tend to be more noticeable than those of AHA peels, but less drastic than those achieved with phenol peels. Recovery time follows the same pattern. It takes longer to recover from a trichloroacetic acid peel than an AHA peel, but much less time than a phenol peel.
Unlike phenol peels, trichloroacetic acid peels can be effective for people with darker skin. They are less likely to leave your skin looking permanently bleached, but that doesn't mean there isn't any chance of discoloration. As far as popularity goes, trichloroacetic acid peels are right up there with AHA peels. This is largely because the concentration of trichloroacetic acid can be altered to produce results similar to those of both AHA peels and phenol peels [source: AAD]. Even better, the whole procedure takes less time than watching a sitcom.
Due to the nature of the treatment, patients are generally advised to wear sunscreen consistently after a trichloroacetic acid peel. As with any peel, the skin will be left red and exposed during the recovery period, but it doesn't take long for new healthier skin to surface.
Now that we've discussed the many different types of chemical peels available, it's time to get our hands dirty. Read on to find out about the possible side effects associated with chemical peels.