Combination Jessner's solution and trichloroacetic acid chemical peel: technique and outcomes

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2009 Sep;124(3):955-964. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181addcf5.


Background: Trichloroacetic acid is a commonly utilized agent for chemical resurfacing of the face. Jessner's solution in combination with trichloroacetic acid has been previously described for the treatment of facial rhytids in the dermatology literature. The purpose of this study was to describe the application technique and examine the clinical results of Jessner's solution in combination with trichloroacetic acid in a diverse plastic surgery patient population.

Method: A retrospective chart evaluation of 105 patients undergoing combination Jessner's and 35% trichloroacetic acid facial peel procedures by the senior author was performed. Patient demographics, anatomic location of peel, concomitant surgical procedures, and postoperative complications were noted. Technique and endpoints are described.

Results: Between January of 2000 and April of 2007, 115 chemical peels were performed by the senior author. All patients were female, ranging in age from 32 to 83 years (mean, 54 years). Of the 115 chemical peels performed, 104 were done with concomitant procedures. Eleven peels were performed alone. The most significant complications related to the combination peel were fungal infections (7.8 percent overall rate). In addition, the senior author performed 27 face/neck lifts with superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS)-ectomy or SMAS plication along with full face combination peel, with minimal postoperative complications and no evidence of hypertrophic scarring.

Conclusions: The combination of Jessner's solution and 35% trichloroacetic acid is an effective, safe resurfacing tool that can treat superficial to moderate rhytids. Despite the apparent simplicity of the procedure, there is a significant learning curve to understand the intricacies of chemical penetration in the skin. Consistency in results is achieved with experience and proper preoperative patient evaluation and selection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chemexfoliation / adverse effects
  • Chemexfoliation / methods*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage*
  • Ethanol / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Lactic Acid / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Rejuvenation*
  • Resorcinols / administration & dosage*
  • Resorcinols / adverse effects
  • Salicylates / administration & dosage*
  • Salicylates / adverse effects
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Trichloroacetic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Trichloroacetic Acid / adverse effects


  • Drug Combinations
  • Jessner's solution
  • Resorcinols
  • Salicylates
  • Lactic Acid
  • Ethanol
  • Trichloroacetic Acid