Instructions for Tattoo Removal Using TCA Acid

Updated February 21, 2017

Tattoo removal using TCA acid is one of the most common methods for people to remove tattoos at home without laser surgery. A primary skin peeling agent, TCA is relatively simple to apply, and after a few months, the skin over the tattooed area may begin to show lightening, with the tattoo vanishing entirely. Sometimes the treatments are used in combination with surgery to speed up the removal process.

Cleanse the Skin

Wash the tattooed area of skin. Use a non-abrasive washcloth to cleanse the tattooed area with a hypoallergenic soap and warm water. Wash the area with clean warm water, then dry the skin with a dry cloth.

Apply TCA Acid to Skin

Brush TCA acid onto the tattooed area using a small painter's brush. Cover the entire area with a thin coating and allow the solution to "set in." Do not remove the solution from the skin as this may interrupt the skin peeling process. Some skin irritation may occur when the acid is settling into the skin, though the application process will be relatively painless. Pre-existing sores or abrasions can increase the level of pain associated with applying TCA acid to the skin.

Repeat Applications

Re-apply TCA to the tattooed skin every four to six weeks. The acid is a skin peeling agent, so the process takes a bit of time to encourage cell turnover. Make sure to wait until the skin has begun peeling and is removed before applying subsequent doses. Excessive dosing can lead to severe skin irritation and scarring. Visible change in the tattooed area will take place at two to three treatments, with marked lightening of the area occurring at three to six treatments.

Be aware that TCA may only lighten the tattooed skin, surgery may still be required to remove the deepest deposits of ink. In addition, TCA and other chemical appeals may have a lightening effect on skin with darker pigments so those with darker skin should weigh the pros and cons of TCA acid treatment before proceeding.

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About the Author

Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.