7 Feb 2009

Tattoo Removal With TCA [Chemical Peel]

If you don't know, now you know. BEFORE the laser doctors recommended tattoo removal to be done using TCA [TriChloroacetic Acid]. I'm blogging about this because there may be others who

(1) Have a darker skin tone and cannot find a suitable laser option to cater towards having their tattoo removed.

(2) I have seen not one Black picture testimonial for tattoo removal. I'm being the guinea pig.

(3) Laser treatment maybe too costly (in the thousands) for some and want a cheaper option. This kit cost me (including shipping from the USA) roughly £40. There is enough to last me the full course of tattoo removal. Plus from reading on forums/other websites where people had tried laser treatments they didn't always work, but the TCA did.

And please none of this be careful LondonDiva etc etc etc. I'm grown, sensible and of course I'll be careful! You can do it yourself [which is what I'm doing and many others have done] or you can pay hundreds for a cosmetologist to do it for you. You do it at your own risk the same way you entrust a cosmetologist to do it at your own risk. A certificate doesn't equate to them doing a good/great job. It's risky period! The same way I relax my hair 3 times a year using a chemical without a cosmetology licence. I trust myself implicitly and if I felt I couldn't follow instructions I would pay the hundreds to have somebody else do it for me. Plus I hate people telling me to be careful, all concern aside I'm not a bloody idiot!

I DID MY RESEARCH!! Yes I did. Laser for black skins and tattoo removal, couldn't find any sources and the cost was sky high! This TCA kit I bought from a seller on Ebay or you can buy directly from their site Yavonae. The Ebay seller ID is exactly the same, they sell from the US and ship globally. There is a US ebay store and one for the UK buyers too. I asked the most important question about it being safe for black skins. It is safe for all skin colours as it doesn't penetrate deep into the melanin layers. It sheds a few layers at a time which means you may have to do about 6 treatments every 6-8 weeks or so, so your tattoo removal may take up to a year.

Some light reading on TCA
Ink Busters
Tattoo Health

Some heavy AND REAL reading when it goes wrong.
Tinaister's Blog read from the bottom up and go to previous page for the next page.
My REAL opinion on her TCA removal process

I personally would not have put 7-8 coats of TCA on any tattoo. I did 3 coats (with a Q-Tip) on 2 tattoos and 2 coats on 1 tattoo (as recommended in the instructions from Yavonae). The woman basically burnt herself hence all that blistering with all those layers. Neither did I do it so the whole tattoo frosted before I was done., one frosted completely but my aim was just to get 2-3 layers on and leave it at that. Frosting or not as soon as the TCA hits your skin, it's going to react weeks down the line and peel off. So it makes sense hers blistered and weeped as badly as it did. she applied it thick, your skin will react and peel very quickly and thickly hence blistering like that.

I understand the frustration an unwanted tattoo can bring, but folks be sensible ...7-8 coats!!. HELL TO THE NAW!! Plus I would only use 100% TCA (to be diluted down) and steer away from these fancy named products. Aside from TCA what the hell was in Nuviderm. **shudders** You can use TCA for a host of things. Tattoo removal the maximum strength you are advised to use is 50% TCA 50% Purified Water. (I used mineral water). Never do a face peel with 50%. I wouldn't do a face peel anyway unless I could guarantee being in the house for 2 weeks solid. If you buy a kit from Yavonae EVERYTHING you need will be in the kit from vial, creams, anti-bacterial lotion, instructions, alcohol swabs, dropper, even a fan to cool down that bitch ass stinging. I advise to get the kit and NOT just the TCA chemical. Remember I told you.

A LOT of people say in their blogs/testimonials etc that after the first peel the tattoo looks brighter than it did pre-treatment. Even on the instructions that come from Yavonae it says that this is to be expected. The skin has shed exposing a new layer of skin hence the new 'brightness' and appearance of the tattoo.

What they (some people from what I've read) then go ahead and do is up the strength of the TCA on the next peel. WOAH!! Don't do that. Stick with 50% or lower it [for tattoos only] don't go above that at all.

Tattoo Location: 2 inner right wrist (1997-1999). 1 left bicep (1997)
Green ink used.
Age: Tattoos are roughly 10-12 years old.
Skin type: Black. [see picture below for my skin tone]. I have been advised that TCA is safe to use on black skins as it doesn’t penetrate deep into the melanin layers.

I Mixed 50% TCA with 50% water into a sterile glass vial using a plastic dropper. This is the maximum strength advised for tattoo removal.

I wiped the tattooed area with an alcoholic swab.

With a Q-Tip I applied the TCA only to the tattoo, carefully covering the tattooed area lightly.

I let it sit for about a minute and applied another layer. I repeated this until I did 2-3 layers. By this time the solution was burning [normal reaction] and itching. This is temporary and subsides. I braved it but the kit comes with a fan to cool the area. Don't touch it!

When the skin goes frosty it means it is working and the skin is reacting with the chemical. Even if it doesn't frost it's working.

Leave on for about 3-4 minutes, and gently rinse off with cool water. I applied wet cotton wool pads to the area as a compress afterwards. The area will still feel sore and maybe slightly swollen even for a few days later. This is normal.

Day 1: 6th February 2009
2 tattoos located on my inner right wrist. I applied 3 layers of 50% TCA. Slight frosting occurred. Area coated with anti-bacterial ointment post washing off with cold water.

1 tattoo on left bicep. 2 layers of TCA. The whole area frosted.

Area coated with anti-bacterial ointment post washing off with cold water.

After about 15 minutes the frosting disappeared.

Day 2: 7th February 2009

Still swollen and a tad sore. The use of the anti-bacterial ointment is advised throughout the peeling process. The skin will start to look a little rough. These are the layers that over the next two week that will shed and lighten the tattoo. This process will need to be done over a period of time to remove the tattoo completely. Notice how it looks a little rough, this is normal and a sign you have covered the area with TCA whether it frosted or not. That area WILL peel in the next few weeks.

The next day the swelling has gone down to the point where there is none. Area is flattened out, the skin looks and feels good. I'm more concerned about the peel in this area than the wrists if it goes wrong. It won't because I'm THAT POSTIVE **smile** It favours a mild skin burn.

Day 6: 11th February

I'm still using the anti-bacterial ointment and will continue twice a day after showering for the next 2 days. The tattoos are pretty dry now and the best way to describe it, feels like tissue paper. I can feel the healing going on as it's itching [Good sign]. I must now order some Emu Oil to aid in the healing, which will speed it up. I have Emu Oil capsules which I will burst and use whilst waiting on my order. The slight pain and swelling is gone totally.

I'll be interested to see how those brown edges heal up. It said on the instructions that darker skins will go brown/black, so I'm not worried...for now. Fingers crossed. I cannot wait for this area to peel as it's itching a little bit.

Day 7: 12th February

The peeling now begins.

I was so worried the whole area would be pink! I kept on with the emu oil and kept it covered. It looks painful, but it wasn't, flaked off painlessly. At this stage I also washed the area in the bath/shower with my fingertips and patted dry. You may think drying it out is best but keep it moisturised with emu oil or Vitamin E Oil. It will peel regardless.

1st March
The healing went better than I expected. NO SCARRING! And it healed up pretty quickly. There is no evidence I used TCA on my skin. It took about a week to peel off. At this stage I didn't expect any colour to come off [it states you may not get any colour removal and that the tattoo may look fresher than it did before], that's because you've removed a layer and the colour appears bright and the tattoo sharper. Where I've circled in red [click on pic to enlarge] is the only area where colour is slightly lighter. At this stage I'm happy. I did it right, I wasn't burnt or scared and know what to expect come the 2nd treatment .

This area circled is the only part that noticeably faded. Upon peeling some areas went a little white like too much skin had been peeled off, in a matter of days it turned back to my regular skin colour. That scared me as I thought I may have over did it. Again the tattoo seems darker and sharper. As a layer of skin has been taken off I'm fine with that as that's what's supposed to happen. And look that brown ring around the tattoo in the previous pic...nothing to worry about, no remnants of it postpeeling.

What I'm going to do from now until the peeling begins in about 2 weeks.
  • Wash the area with Johnson's PH 5.5 with my finger tips only.
  • Keep the areas lotion free.
  • Apply only the anti-bacterial ointment to the areas, this protects the old and new skin coming in.
  • Keep the areas covered [with clothing] out of direct sunlight.
  • NOT apply any bandages or gauze's. As much as I'm applying ointment I need the skin to heal and breathe.
  • I am going to purchase some Emu Oil to speed up and aid in the healing. If you don't know about Emu Oil [yes oil from the fat of the Emu Bird] then get ta Googling. I've been using it for years. The facts its GREAT for burns and scarring will be good to use on my skin once the scabbing falls off before the next treatment. Forget about Vitamin E Oil compared to this stuff, and it penetrates deep down to 7 layers of skin.
I will be bumping this blog to the top and add to this one rather than create a new one each and every time, when I have a new update [which will be weekly].

Any questions about how it feels, looks, the application, healing etc then feel free.

I will be praying over this...joking aside. I hope that it works out for me and anybody else that decides to go the same route.

Good Luck whatever your method.

Remember to check for updates or re-read this go to the right hand side of my blog and click on label 'tattoo' that will bring up all blog posts by myself tattoo related. Or you can type in tattoo in the top left hand corner of this page.

7th Feb: The 2 tattoos on the inner wrist seem to be itching slightly. I wasn't expecting the itch so soon.

1st April: I'm going to do my 2nd Application tonight!


  1. Good luck!!!
    I hope it comes out right.

  2. Wow...what made you decide to remove the tattoos?

  3. Got all 4 in my late teens and the older and wiser you get, you realise some decisions were foolish. Your taste and style changes over time and certain clothes do not go great with a tattoo on the bicep. Although the big Butterfly above my right ankle is staying because 12 years on I still love it, it looks great in heels, sneakers and with my ankle bracelet on and I have no problem with that being on show with what I'm wearing. I guess size and placement of this one to me are perfect. I may just get a colour touch up in a few years for that one. The other 3 [ones I'm removing] are tacky in my opinion and have got to go. I don't think tattoos as a whole are tacky just where they are placed on the body especially of a female are. Now tat sleeves on a man I find incredibly sexy.

  4. I find this blog to be very helpful. I have been researching tattoo removal for my legs. Thnx for posting this.

  5. Thanks for posting LondonDiva. I used TCA yesterday and have the same dark brown 'stain' on one part of my arm, so I'm interested to see how yours heals up.

  6. Thanks do much for sharing your experience, its a month in now i noticed, and Im thinking about buying an at home kit as well over a cover up.. do you have any more pictures and thoughts on this?

  7. Any updates to recovery LondonDiva?

  8. I've bee researching tattoo removal for the last two years, and this post was VERY helpful. I actually found a place to receive laser treatments, but if I can do this myself and save $1000, that would be great. Do you have any updates on your progress?

  9. Hey all.

    I do have some more pictures and will be uploading over the next few days.


  10. 7th Feb and 1st march pics added!

  11. wow! they healed quite well after the first treatment. my boyfriend is very against me trying this procedure but I am quite interested in your results. he is worried about the negative effects if any were to occur.
    did you go ahead and put more tca on your skin immediately after it all peeled off or is there a waiting period between treatments??

  12. I have been using Yavonae 50% TCA kit for removing/lightening portions of a dark brown cosmetic brow tattoo, prior to a planned correction. It really is working - I am on my second application, and there is very noticeable fading. Admittedly, I have very fair/Irish skin, and the tattoo is very small i.e. mostly a thin line. However, my input is that if you are patient and follow the instructions exactly, it will eventually work. I have been spacing the treatments at about 4-6 weeks apart (my skin seems to have totally peeled and be fully healed after about 4 weeks). I'm expecting the tattoos to be gone after maybe another 4 treatments, based on what's happened so far. I'm sure this is quite variable depending on an individual's skin type and the size of the tattoo.

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  14. Hey I've been reading your blog and I got TCA 50% from inkbusters.com

    I diluted 1/2 TCA and 1/2 Destiled water (Boiled the water for 5 minutes in the microwave and let it cool off before mixing the two) to make a 25% TCA solution (My skin on my right wrist where my tattoo is located is very light colored).

    I did about 4 applications with this strength and the tattoo finally started to frost a bit. The areas where it frosted I used neutralizer (Baking soda mixed with Water) and continues to treat the rest of the tattoo until I saw frosting occur on the other portion of the tattoo.

    It's been like 6 days and my skin has that brown tissue paper like feel to it, but on one part of the tattoo (I have a koi fish on my right wrist)its still tender and a little red, but I have one concern and thats on the head of the koi fish it is kinda "white-ish" no peeling has occured there yet (or anywhere on the tattoo for that matter) but I was wondering if I used too much TCA to where it discolored it... I used 25% and like 4 coats but the areas that didnt seem to want to frost I added a little bit more.

    I'm thinking its just the wrist part, cause its literally 1 inch from my palm and maybe the skin there reacts a little different compared to other meaty parts of our arm?

    If you need me to post pics online on a link let me know, I can do that :)

  15. Just received my TCA Yavonae 100% from USA
    Applied 50% Strength put on 3/4 layer left for approx 3/4 mins. frosted up, The pain was quite intense put hair drier on it cool shot setting, but had to go outside cool night air for relief.
    rinsed off with cold water & put on supplied antibiotic cream.
    Put on two tattoos one on each upper arm will update tomorrow

  16. I have previously had two lots of laser on part of one of my tattoos hurts like hell, but been told it would not get rid of orange colour also very expensive, so with give the TCA a try

  17. its the morning after using the TCA, No pain just a red / brown colour on skin(white) on and around tattoo, I have also noticed freckles that i was un-aware of they may have always been there but never noticed them before.
    The skin is slightly raised and bumpy on the tattoo where i have previously had laser treatment.

  18. im inspired by your blog post! i have one question though, did you have to prep your skin with an AHA based product like stated on the yavonae website?


  19. Its been about 4 days now, bit sore and just starting to peel, there is still a lot of red on and around the tattoo its like severe sun burn.

    I would advise using a weaker mix than th 50% stated, the first time you apply it, as it is very powerful stuff and could cause severe burning, and don't leave on longer than stated, you have been warned.

    also if you order from where i did get some extra cream, not sure if you can get in the UK.

  20. I'm going to do my 2nd application tonight folks. This one is gonna be more nerve racking that the last. *fingers crossed*

  21. I have a large tattoo at the bottom of my leg that I am considering removing with TCA. I looked at the Yavonae site and the only offers that they currently have with a kit is the 50% TCA and the %25 TCA. So I am just curious...did you buy some sort of kit that was 100% TCA and then you diluted it?....or did you buy a 50% kit?

  22. Brittany can still purchase the 100% TCA but not in kit form.

    Any up date yet LondonDiva?

  23. It has been about 4 weeks now since my first application some areas not quite healed yet still a bit of light scabbing / slightly raised skin, but i think it is not scar tissue, well I hope.

    The good news is that the areas I treated have faded better than expected I have a Koi carp and I did one of the scales it was orange like the rest but has now turned light pink and the black that was in it has faded by about half of what is was.

    I will probably wait a bit longer before second application, eagerly awaiting update from LondonDiva

  24. Glad to hear buyers are happy with the results using TCA on their tattoos. It is a somewhat slow process, but it works and it is inexpensive. Even wikipedia.com states that TCA is used for tattoo removal.

    We can assemble any kit desired, including the "Special" kit with 100% TCA. Thanks! Yavonae

  25. Thanks for posting this. I'm interested to see how this turns out for you ... and interested om trying this myself.

  26. hi! Im looking forward to seeing your pics from the second round of tca. how is the treatment going?

  27. Thanks londondiva!
    I don't have a tattoo but some acne scars and other scars on my feet because of shoe bites. I got TCA peel few days back but jus doing some research before doing it. Thanks for sharing ur experience!

  28. hi,

    u havent updated ur tattoo removal post? how did urs go!! mines a bit of a mess at the moment, my skin sort of turned white, and im not sure if it will regain its initial colour, so im sort of waiting it out, ive only done 2 peels and im not sure if i see a difference

  29. Not sure why Diva`s not posting hope she is ok seems strange as she was quite passionate about this TCA tattoo removal method

    1. Paul

      Been a long time.....can you post a finished pic for us to see? Please

  30. Hey guys. Quick update. 2nd TCA pics I accidentally deleted off my PC. Going for 3rd shortly but have been exposed to the sun so will wait a little while.

    I'll see what I can do pics wise over the next few days.

    I'm telling you this green/black ink is the hardest and most time consuming to break down it seems.

  31. How's that coming along. I have a tattoo that I'm trying to get rid of, and I want to see the best way to do so. (cheapest and most effective). Just logged on to your Blog, and VERY interested. I have a tan skin tone(a bit lighter than Tiger Woods) Want to see if this would work o my tone. Keep us posted, thanks.

  32. Are you not happy with the tattoo inked on your skin? Laser treatment tattoo removal process is the best idea then. Though costly ($200 to $500 per session) to some extent, laser treatment tattoo removal does not generally harm surrounding skin and completely remove the tattoo.

  33. London diva i was wandering how your tatoo removal is going

  34. I would LOVE to hear an update on this!

  35. Hi all,
    I'm currently on my 6th application of TCA to remove my tattoo and I've started a blog to document the process.
    Whoever is interested please drop a comment and lets discuss your experience as well.


  36. Hey names Ryan out of Ybor fl. I’ve had a tattoo of the coal chamber smiley face on my left index finger since I was 14 I’m now 27 and am sic of people looking at it in restaurants and meetings. My entire back is tattooed but that’s covered by ne t shirt and i can look presentable... back to the subject i found a way to remove tattoos free and safely in your on home but you gotta be tough. two methods depending on the size of your tattoo for small tats take a decent metal butter knife and heat it in the stove burn on med, not high this will scar. As calmly as possible roll it along the tat it should whiten immediately stop, allow two to three weeks to heal. repeat. and repeat. Couple of sessions and bam. Keep sterile and dry while healing, do not cover the point is to allow the external skin to flake of in layers. Now for those big tats with lots of line work like black and white hollow tats(dragons skulls etc.) you best be strong like bull. a soldering iron trace the tat just like your tatting it on healing time between sessions depends on the body take multi vitamins and or vitamin e while doing this to promote healing. Be safe, strong, and centered as the way of the samurai. if you’re wondering how mines going I’ve got about two sessions left and my finger has yet to obtain ne scar tissue just be patient take it one layer at a time and allow for proper healing. but if you ask me we the dumb dumbs went out and got these tats so now our penitents as a society is to take them off.

  37. I am using the same stuff here are my results http://emilyguts.blogspot.com/

  38. I just started a tca peel on my tattoos and it seems i went a little crazy with the solution and ended up burning a huge area of skin around my tattoo. the stuff is clear so i guess it was dripping everywhere. anyone have any suggestions on how to easily keep it just on the tattoo?? i guess im really eager to get rid of this stupid thing!!

  39. did it remove the tattoo i didn't find any more post abt ur journey


  41. wish I had read this before I did my TCA!!! I did the 50% and didnt see any reaction so did the 100% and now my skin looks burnt!


  42. I really want to try this product but it has been taken down on ebay and amazon.com. Does anyone know where else I can get the yavonae kit?

  43. Any new udpates. I did my first treatment 2 weeks ago and am in the peeling process. So far it looks great, anxiously waiting to do my next treatment.

  44. Great blog! This is part of the inspiration to start my own blog about TCA tattoo removal.

    I'd love for you to take a look, I'm over at http://tcatattoosbegone.blogspot.com/

    Do you have any updates from your tattoo removal? I'd be nice to see, if you have them. :) A bit of inspiration, since I'm starting soon.

  45. Did it work for anyone??
    I have a big one on my back that I want removed and was thinking of using TCA

    1. yes, it works, as someone mentioned above: we need patience and I would add saying TCA won't work for tattoo removal if apply less than 50%, I would probably say that 50% is not enough and would take years possibly to remove a tattoo but good thing about TCA is that you can do a patch test, see how it works for you, do it a home at your own risk and see the results.
      I started a blog a few years ago when I started applying TCA after doing laser (successfully on the black part of my tattoo), after a few applications it was almost gone...


  46. Tattoo removal with chemical peel technique is painful and may result in leaving a scar on the skin. laser tattoo removal equipment is the best known tattoo removal machine.

  47. I am on my 2nd treatment with this TCA and it seems to be working well...the first time i applied 3 layers and then washed it off...but the 2nd time I followed the directions and applied a layer..let it sit a minute and did that 3 times and then left the last one on for 4 minutes...and I did this on sunday May 27th and today is 5 days later and it is starting to peel...my question is when the skin is lifted and starting to peel can I peel it off or let it do it itself?

  48. I'm also on my 3rd peel and it seems like it is starting to patch a little bit more. On my first peel, I was able to put 3 or 4 coats and leave for 3 minutes, but now that I'm on my 3rd I couldn't even leave it on there 2 minutes. I'd say it frosted enough. After, I just sat in the tub running cold water to relieve the excruciating pain. Hopefully it lightens up after some time. This tattoo is also on my right rib cage so it is VERY sensitive!

  49. There are a lot of reasons for possibly wanting tattoo removal is that you are no longer burdened There are a lot of reasons for possibly wanting a tattoo removed

  50. The skin serves as a useful tattoo removal cream on which to portray statements of individuality, sexuality, boelonging, machismo, frustration, boredom, and anger. However, the quest for identity by teenagers often becomes irrelevant or embarrassing by age 40 years, and 50% or more of individuals later regret their tattoos.

  51. I just got done doing the TCA 50% chemical peel and I'm freaking out!. Yes, it did hurt but now I'm scared that the brown/pinkish around the tattoo will be there forever and when does it start peeling? I would rather stay with the tattoo then the discoloration :( I guess I just have to wait and see

  52. Unfortunately, chemical peels do not effectively remove or fade tattoos. These processes are guaranteed to create a scar. If you want a tattoo removal the only technique that will work is laser.

  53. I loved the way of removal. But I think laser removal is better.

  54. Hi, I just did the first round of TCA on my tattoo today. Here's my blog on it if you're interested.

  55. Awesome! Thank you for sharing your tattoo removal experience with us! Good luck.
    Anthony@ Chicago Laser Tattoo Removal