While Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) has been widely used for skin peel cosmetic procedure –
the uses of TCA peeling has evolved to become an over the counter solution of various skin conditions, like getting rid of warts, moles, and skin tags.
So does trichloroacetic acid wart removal really work, including genital warts as well?
What Is Trichloroacetic Acid: MSDS, Protein Precipitation..
Trichloroacetic acid is a colorless deliquescent chemical with sharp pungent odor.
TCA has been used by dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons for beauty cosmetic purposes, whereby TCA is most commonly used as skin peeling agent to destroy parts of the skin in a controlled way so that new skin can grow in its place.
As trichloroacetic acid is highly irritant and corrosive to body tissue, TCA solution should only be applied to the skin at a controlled concentration by trained personnel like dermatologists, physicians, and skin care professionals.
Over the years, TCA is made available OTC for treatment of various skin conditions.
So how does TCA trichloroacetic acid work for HPV wart and skin mole removal?
#1 Trichloroacetic Acid Wart Removal: HPV Genital Warts
Here are what the experts say:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that TCA acts as an caustic agent that removes warts by chemical coagulation of proteins.
- According to NHS UK, TCA works by destroying the proteins inside the cells of the wart, and it may be recommended to treat small warts that are very hard.
- American Family Physicians recommends that genital warts treatment with a 60% to 90% trichloroacetic acid solution is most effective when treating few small, moist lesions.
- According to American Academy of Family Physicians and WebMD, TCA is safe to use during pregnancy.
And below are some actual user cases that testify TCA peeling helps to get rid of warts, including genital warts:
Whathappend81 shared the usage of Trichloroacetic acid TCA for genital warts removal in HPV Support forum: ‘I had the TCA a few weeks ago in and around my pubic hair. While they were putting the acid on it stated to burn for 10 to 20 minutes, I just laid there with my legs spread while it dried. The burning was the worst part and it was no like unbearable. I had mild itching while it was healing not bad at all. The healing takes a like a month, cause I sill have some redness and it’s been a month, but it did take the big noticeable warts away. I still have some little ones..’
Xyan Adkisson commented: ‘Applied with clean cuetip. Be careful and apply conservatively. Burns when applying. Turn spots to white. Scabbed. Wart gone in 7-14 days. Length of scabbing duration varies by amount applied.’
#2 TCA Plantar / Common Wart Removal: Medical Study
According to medical research results published by the US National Library of Medicine:
- Clinical study on 62 patients shows that TCA is effective for common warts clearance.
- TCA peel 80% is more effective than TCA 35% in common wart treatment, but this high concentration level of trichloroacetic acid solution must be used only with careful consideration by a doctor or physician.
AT77498 shared TCA plantar warts treatment experience: ‘I used this to remove the wart on the bottom of my kid’s foot. Applied with q-tip twice a week apart and everything is gone.’
William A. Windham of Palm Bay, FL USA feedback: ‘TCA works better than anything I have ever used for removing warts. Freezing and didn’t do anything for the wart that I had on my thumb. I used this a couple of times on that wart and it fell off completely a few days later.’
#3 TCA Mole Removal With Chemical Peel: User Reviews
Lisa H. of Turlock, CA USA shared her trichloroacetic acid mole removal experience: ‘Works perfectly. I used this product in the 80% pure form for a few moles.. I dabbed it on the pencil eraser-sized mole several times with a q-tip like the instructions said.. It began to burn very mildly shortly after and turned bright white.. Then about 12 hours later it started itching very mildly around the area of the mole and the mole was still white.. The next day the mole was black and brown like a scab. It started to lift on the edges. 3 days later it was really starting to peel up on the edges so I pulled one edge gently and the whole burnt mole came off.. 10 days later I have a nearly healed pink spot where the mole was and no sign of any abnormal skin.’
Stephanie Kemp said, ‘I used this on two of my smaller moles by my chest area that were a medium brown color. I bought the neutralizing with it. I used this 4 times on each (once a week) and they are now light pink… It did sting but not as bad as I thought. Very satisfied with the results so far!’
#4 Trichloroacetic Acid Skin Tags Removal: User Reviews
T. Shepp of Florida feedback: ‘This works very well. It does sting when applying (a lot, but doesn’t last long), but it took away some very stubborn skin tags, and a mole. Just take it easy when applying to your skin, a little goes a long way. It might take some time but they will go away.’
Thaddeus S. of Woodstown, NJ United States said ‘Burns for a few minutes when you put it on, but it will remove skin tags. Be careful and apply sparingly with a Q-tip. Reapply once per day trying to keep product off surrounding skin area. Tag will dry up and fall off, and a scab will form that will fall off in a few days. Result is very satisfactory.’
#5 Trichloroacetic Acid for Tattoo Removal: User Reviews
Nicole Gabriel of Indianapolis, Indiana feedback: ‘I used this to remove a tattoo. Please nutralize once it starts to frost. Made that mike to a long time to heal. But if you follow directions it does work.’
Daisy commented: ‘I am using this for tattoo removal and I have to say that it has faded my tattoo a lot. It does burn quite a bit but a baking soda and water paste soothes it and stops the burning immediately!’
Other Trichloroacetic Acid Uses With Success Stories
- Acne removal.
- Dark pigmentation, dark age spots, brown spots.
- Face peeling.
- Freckles removal.
- Milia cysts.
- Raised blackhead.
- Scars reduction.
- Sebhorreic keratosis.
- Skin rejuvination.
- Stretch marks removal.
- Sun spots, sun damaged skin.
- … and much more
For instance, Denim Vixen shares her 20% TCA face peel experience with neutralizer in the video below, alongside the step by step guide on how to apply topical trichloroacetic acid.
Trichloroacetic Acid Side Effects & Warnings You Must Know
Just as the Trichloroacetic acid MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) stated, TCA is highly irritant and corrosive to body tissue, whereby TCA
- is a corrosive irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.
- may cause severe burns and is highly irritating to the eyes and skin.
- may induce side effects like burning, swelling, tenderness.
While medical experts warn that TCA solution should only be applied to the skin at a controlled concentration by trained personnel like dermatologists and physicians –
It is important for users to recognize the risk of self-applying TCA, that the application instructions must be strictly followed. Be careful of not to get any TCA on the surrounding skin.
It is advised to always consult a qualified dermatologist or physician for usage of TCA solution.
The biggest TCA side effect?
TCA burns – as testified by the user feedback below:
* ‘I had warts in my anus… I was treated with an acid solution of 90% TCA and Pedofolin that was applied directly to my warts. The doctor told me it might burn, and it did a little for 20 minutes… The next day it started burning so bad, I thought i was going to pass out. Going to the bathroom was horrible! The pain was so bad. – feedback via HPV FAQ forum.
* ‘It burns like a heater after 16 seconds. I was dancing and fanning to keep it on as long as I could..’ – by Aliyah A. Abdullah of Harleston SC on TCA 30%.
* ‘I have had 3 TCA treatments. Let me just say in all honesty… nothing can prepare you for that kind of pain! It hurts REALLY bad when they first put in on with the cotton swab, like a really intense stinging sensation, makes you clamp really clamp up.’ – by Loveme via HPV Support forum.
* ‘This stuff is strong!! I felt like Satan was breathing down on my face the whole 60 seconds! Yes, I could only tolerate 60 seconds of this stuff!’ – by Alex Reads on TCA 50%.
How To Apply Trichloroacetic Acid For Warts Removal
The California Department of Health Care Services indicate the clinical practice of TCA treatment for genital warts as follows:
- First treat warts in skin regions that are more keratinized, such as the labia majora, since the acid is less likely to cause a painful burning sensation. Paint sensitive skin areas, such as perianal and clitoral lesions, last.
- Carefully apply the TCA solution with a cotton swab by painting each lesion in layers until snow-white.
- If necessary, hasten drying by fanning the treated skin or applying heat from a lamp.
- Once the TCA has dried, neutralize the acid by application of a cold water compress.
- Avoid TCA contact with non-involved skin; if run-off, absorb with tissue or gauze. The use of petrolatum or zinc oxide to protect uninvolved skin is optional.
- Advise the client to use a sitz-bath or cool water compress if there is post-treatment skin irritation.
Choosing TCA Skin Peel Of Various Concentration Strength
With trichloroacetic acid chemical peel of various concentration level available in the market, how to select TCA peel kit for different uses may be challenging.
Basic general guideline as below, while always begin with a lower strength peel:
- TCA 12.5%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 50% for superficial and light peels:
- TCA peel 50%, 80% for medium depth and deep peels:
such as skin peeling, face peeling, tattoo removal, freckles, dark spots, etc.
such as removal of warts, moles, skin tags, acne, etc.
How about TCA 100 peeling solution?
With trichloroacetic acid is highly corrosive, we can see from these customer reviews on TCA 100% concentrated chemical skin peel solution that some users self-diluted the TCA 100 prior usage on their skin.
Where To Buy Trichloroacetic Acid
Various concentrations of TCA are available for sale at Amazon, with the recommended TCA supplier is Erlenmeyer’s Laboratory, LLC.
TCA Warts Removal: Over The Counter Alternatives
If you prefer OTC solution to get rid of warts but have concern on the TCA’s corrosive characteristic and potential side effects like burning –
Here are the useful review guides that can help you to make an educated decision when exploring other OTC wart remedies:
- >> Comprehensive OTC Genital Warts Removal Guide
- >> OTC Warts Removal Guide for Non-Genital Warts (eg. plantar/common warts)
For instance, Nevi-Skin is a topical cream formulated with natural herbal extracts to treat HPV genital warts, plantar warts (verrucas), and common warts. Nevi-Skin cream is also formulated to treat skin moles, skin tags, and syringoma.
Trichloroacetic Acid Wart Removal: The Verdict
The usage of TCA has evolved greatly, including trichloroacetic acid wart removal in which its efficacy has been proven by medical research results and actual user reviews feedback.
Nonetheless, medical experts warn that the highly corrosive TCA solution should only be applied to the skin at a controlled concentration by trained personnel like dermatologists. Thus over the counter TCA user must follow the application instructions strictly to avoid trichloroacetic acid side effects like severe burning.
Various concentrations of TCA are available for sale at Amazon.com, with useful user reviews and feedback for TCA self-treatment reference.