Say Goodbye to Acne Scars with TCA CROSS

Have you heard about TCA CROSS?

TCA means trichloroacetic acid; it’s an acid popular for its use as a chemical facial peel. It has been used to reduce skin pigmentation but is now also used in the dermatologist’s office to treat scars. The procedure is called ‘chemical reconstruction of skin scars’ or CROSS, hence the name TCA CROSS.

TCA bottle

What is it for and how is it done?

This is typically done for post-acne scars, some of which appear like box cars or ice picks.


The typical appearance of a boxcar scar.

The procedure involves application of high concentrations of TCA focally on the atrophic acne scars. The higher the concentration of TCA, the deeper it reaches beneath the scar. Your skin will then develop some discoloration and heal in a few days to weeks. Repeat application may be done as deemed necessary by your dermatologist.

TCA application

TCA being applied to individual scars.

How does it work? TCA induces inflammation followed by collagenisation, leading to a reduction in the appearance of scars and cosmetic improvement. Inflammation is often misunderstood as harmful; but it is actually how our body gets on the road to recovery. In this case, the skin is stimulated to undergo a healing process so that it can ‘bounce’ back.


The results? Well, these are what I found from some published studies online: there was a decrease in the depths of acne scars and increase in collagen fibers histologically. The dermal volume is increased and elastin fragmentation and reorganization was also seen. This means that the fibers making up our supportive connective tissues are multiplying or getting thicker, bringing back our skin’s previous appearance. There are tons of online images of before and after TCA application. Here’s one of them and it’s pretty amazing:




Drawbacks, you ask? Perhaps, it’s the downtime of waiting for healing to happen as well as the initial discoloration. Compared to other methods, the healing from TCA CROSS is rapid and associated with fewer complications since the chemical is applied specifically to the scars, sparing normal tissue around it. Despite the high concentrations, it is still safe to use because of its self-neutralizing property (it doesn’t get absorbed into the circulation).


So for people contemplating on whether to use it or not, the best advice I can give is to do your research first. It is also best if you consult a dermatologist since he/she can gauge the severity of your scars. Good luck and hope to hear from someone with a success story!




Bhardwaj, D. and Khunger, N. (2010). An Assessment of the Efficacy and Safety of CROSS Technique with 100% TCA in the Management of Ice Pick Acne Scars. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2010 May-Aug; 3(2): 93–96.

Why Use Dead Sea Salt?

The Dead Sea has a high concentration of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and chloride. Its salinity is several times higher than the regular sea salt hence its therapeutic use since the earlier centuries.dead sea


The medical benefits of the Dead Sea minerals have been existent for a long time now but it was only in recent decades that these benefits spread to many different continents through the import of halotherapy or salt rooms and skin care products.

Salt rooms claim to be good for respiratory and skin conditions. So, being familiar with the use of plain saline solutions in hospitals but not with salt rooms, I had to do a little research on it.  And my search results turned out pretty well.

Let’s start off with the respiratory treatments. I found this study in which patients with asthma stayed for 4 weeks at the Dead Sea. The results were improved lung function, reduced number and severity of attacks, and improved efficacy of β2-agonist treatments. The researchers who did the study attributed this improvement to the presence of magnesium in the Dead Sea salt; the absorption of the element through the skin and lungs provided anti-inflammatory and vasodilatatory properties to the organs. With this, I’m thinking that salt rooms could be used for cystic fibrosis patients since they are sterile and may help clear out some of the thick mucus in the lungs.


Now, let’s talk about the skin benefits. What I’ve found were studies involving Dead Sea salt solution soaks. This time, patients had atopic skin and their forearms were submerged in the solution for 15 min; the control used was tap water. The study then measured different parameters up to the 6th week such as transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin hydration, skin roughness, and skin redness. Now, I’m not a fan of research studies where subjects are asked to rate improvement themselves or basically if human judgment was used to measure anything. So I’m really glad that this study was objective in measuring these parameters. They used Tewameter TM 210 for TEWL, Corneometer CM 825 PC for stratum corneum hydration, PRIMOS optical 3D in vivo skin measurement device for skin roughness, and finally Chromameter CR 300 for skin redness. Now that’s a mouthful! The results showed that the Dead Sea solution significantly improved skin barrier function, enhanced stratum corneum hydration, and reduced skin roughness and inflammation. The authors also attributed this improvement to the magnesium salts because they are said to bind water and enhance skin repair.

There are a lot of other studies that further support the use of Dead Sea salt in medicine. And I am happy that this will serve as an additional treatment option for patients who have already exhausted different remedies for their asthma, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, or even erythroderma.

I am even happier that now, there’s no need to travel to expensive salt rooms in Europe because we have salt rooms in the Philippines! I just found this out recently when I attended an event by Aqua Mineral Ph. These are located in Robinson’s Malate, Gateway Mall and Century City Mall.

They also have several skin care products with the Dead Sea salt mineral as main ingredient. Reviews to follow! 🙂

aqua mineral products

You may reach Aqua Mineral at and or follow them at Instagram @aquamineralph and Twitter @aquamineral_ph.



Harari M., Barzillai R. and Shani J. (1998) Magnesium in the Management of Asthma: Critical Review of Acute and Chronic Treatments, and Deutsches Medizinisches Zentrum’s (DMZ’s) Clinical Experience at the Dead Sea. Journal of Asthma Volume 35, Issue 7, 1998.

Proksch E., Nissen H.P., Bremgartner M., and Urquhart C. (2005) Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. International Journal of Dermatology Volume 44, Issue 2, pages 151–157, February 2005.

Body Balm for Spring

For readers in the western part of the world, spring has come! And nothing reminds you more of spring than pastel colors—which is what attracted me first when I saw the H2O+ Agave Mist Moisturizing Body Balm. Its pastel green color made me want to try it out and the fresh scent made me buy it. It just smells so fresh and dewy—like a rainforest—that I had to get it!

agave big

This body balm contains a lot of wonderful ingredients like rice oil, Iceland moss, watercress, cucumber, and blue agave. It also has allantoin which is a skin protectant plus other moisturizing agents like shea butter, aloe vera, and vitamin E.


This product would be ideal for cold dry weathers and it gets absorbed really fast, leaving that relaxing scent on your skin. It also works well in tropical climates, despite the humidity. Just apply it after shower, wait to dry, and let this soothing body balm lift your spirits every morning and night!


Older posts «