Trichloroacetic acid has been making headlines as the latest power peel ingredient.

For many of us, the phrase “chemical peel” can be a bit unnerving, the harbinger of a quest for better-looking skin gone a step too far. We’ve all seen (and maybe even experienced firsthand) instances where a well-meaning attempt to address dark spots and hyperpigmentation turned into a scorched-earth experience complete with painful peeling, irritation, redness, and a compromised skin barrier.


So what happened to our pre-peel ambitions of glowing, even-toned, better-than-ever skin? Are we really asking for too much here? If you can get past the unflattering reputation that’s been unfairly bestowed upon chemical peels, you’ll see that not all of them are created equal and that, even better, dark spots and hyperpigmentation don’t have to be your forever friends. What makes us so certain? Two words: trichloroacetic acid.


What is trichloroacetic acid?

There are many different types of chemical peels out there, but when it comes to tackling dark spots and hyperpigmentation, there’s one type that reigns supreme: trichloroacetic acid, AKA TCA. Aside from the fact that it’s easy to misspell, trichloroacetic acid has a lot going for it. Known as the workhorse of the peel world, it can be used in different concentrations depending on your desired results, but it’s especially gifted at buffing away dark spots and hyperpigmentation.


How does it work?

Trichloroacetic acid works by breaking down keratin, a protein that binds together the outermost layer of your skin. By seriously exfoliating this top layer of skin, trichloroacetic acid lifts stubborn dark spots and hyperpigmentation without disturbing or harming the deeper layers of the dermis. This makes it an ideal option for those seeking an answer for pigmentation issues—from sun damage to dark spots— sans the less-than-ideal side effects of deeper peels.


What are the benefits?

As we mentioned earlier, trichloroacetic acid is kind of the jack-of-all-trades of chemical peels. It can be used at different levels, usually ranging from 10% to 50%, to satisfy a range of skincare woes from surface-level issues like dark spots and hyperpigmentation to deeper concerns like scarring, lines, and wrinkles.


For the purposes of removing dark spots and hyperpigmentation, a concentration of 10-15% trichloroacetic acid is ideal. The Ourself Dark Spot Peel was geniusly formulated in the golden zone at 13.6% TCA, which is typically a clinical-level concentration that now can be done at home, allowing it to show pigmentation issues to the door while minimizing the known downsides of chemical peels such as peeling, irritation, and downtime.


Another bonus of trichloroacetic acid? It can be used as a targeted treatment, allowing you to confront dark spots and hyperpigmentation with precision accuracy—no guesswork or wasted product involved.


Is it safe?

When utilized with proper care, trichloroacetic acid is safe for at-home treatment of dark spots and hyperpigmentation in concentrations up to 15%. Additionally, Ourself Dark Spot Peel has been clinically-tested on humans (never animals!) of all different skin tones. Go forth and peel!