There are three differences between a tattoo removal cream and TCA Removal.
2. The risk of side effects and complications
3. How they work
1. Pain A tattoo removal cream does not cause pain, because the ingredients do not damage or break the skin. TCA (Trichloracetic Acid) is an acid skin peeler designed to be used on wrinkles and acne scars. Obviously, peeling layers of skin hurt. It is so painful that dermatologists use pain medication during TCA skin peels for acne or wrinkles.
2. Risk of Side Effects and Complications A temporary, minor complication from using a tattoo removal cream is that at first, the tattoo appears brighter. This doesn’t last long. It shows the cream is working. It is working in tandem with light exfoliation to bring ink to the surface, where it can be naturally shed. An effective tattoo removal cream uses ingredients proven safe and effective in other skin lightening treatments for moles, freckles and skin discoloration.
One side effect of TCA removal is scarring. The peeling away of layers of skin with this acid damages the fragile epidermis. As the skin heals, it will always scar.
Another complication occurs when using TCA around the eyes, mouth, or lips. Even the websites selling TCA removal products clearly warn not to use them near facial openings.
What medical experts say about TCA “Trichloroacetic acid may cause severe burns and is highly irritating to the eyes and skin. It is a corrosive irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Trichloroacetic acid is classified as a poison by subcutaneous (under the skin) route.” Source: Duke Medical School
3. How they work A tattoo removal cream brings to the surface unwanted ink, allowing the body to shed the colored cells. Often a little light rubbing with a special sponge encourages new skin cell growth. Over time the inked layers of skin get closer to the skin’s surface and eventually appear faded or erased depending on the depth of the colors and the size of the tattoo.
TCA Removal works by burning off top layers of a tattoo. Dermatologists avoid TCA for tattoo removal because patients are not satisfied with the results. Tattoo artists shoot ink deep into layers of the skin. Chemically peeling the top layers might lightly fade a tattoo, but it can’t get at the deep ink pigment of a tattoo. And remember, TCA can be poisonous if introduced under the skin.
The Warning About TCA Removal and People of Color This warning is absolute. The marketers of TCA tattoo removal products clearly state they can be used ONLY on Caucasian skin. They will cause negative results on black, brown and Asian skin tones.
Other Considerations If the tattoo is on a sensitive or private area, peeling and pain from TCA removal would not be advised. Tattoo removal cream requires using a lot of the product over a significant period of time. It brings about a slow, steady fading of ink without pain and you will use a lot of it. In summary, the primary differences between tattoo removal cream and TCA removal are safety and effectiveness.