TCA 50% to remove moles

Today I tackled a skin issue that’s been plaguing me for several years: I have a small mole on my nose, and while it’s light in pigment, it still bothers me.  My dermatologist used a laser once, and it scabbed and fell off, but it came back within about two years.  Unfortunately, the before picture was too blurry, but I found this one that I'd taken awhile back for retin-a, so disregard the peeling:

Recently I read an article on a dermatologist's website about using TCA to remove moles and warts, so I mixed a batch of 50% TCA and used a very small plastic tool and applied a single drop to the mole.  The after picture shows the frosting, and oddly enough, it immediately seemed smaller than before:

Before I applied the 50% solution to the mole on my nose, I applied it to a mole on my arm—just to gage my skin’s reaction.  It frosted within a minute, and interestingly, it didn’t hurt at all.  When I applied it to the mole on my nose, that didn’t hurt either.  I thought that perhaps the strength was so high that my body produced endorphins quickly enough to block the pain.  I was wrong!

I decided to use the remaining 50% TCA solution on my arms.  I had toyed with the idea of diluting it to 25% but decided against it since my moles reacted so well…bad decision.  This is buffered TCA, so 50% isn’t as strong as a non- buffered 50% (but still very strong); nonetheless, my arms felt like they were on fire.  No endorphins here.  I concluded that the moles must lack some nerve endings or nociceptors (pain receptors).

Here’s a picture of my left arm before applying the solution.

Within about 1 minute, my arms started to frost and sting like crazy, so I neutralized and ran cold water on them for a few minutes.  They are still tender, but I should get a good peel, and it’s not like I have to worry about anyone seeing them—since we’re in the dead of winter.  Here's the arm after (ouch):

I wouldn’t suggest using 50% TCA on any part of the body unless you are working with a license professional or are fully aware of how your body reacts to TCA at high strengths--and different parts of your body will react differently, as I already knew, but had a painful reminder of today. I probably shouldn't have used it on my arms, but I did, and I'll let you know how the process turns out...


  1. What was the outcome? How do your arms look after they healed? Did the 50% do anything for your mole?

  2. See my post on day three, but the short story is that the mole peeled, but it didn't come off completely. Reapplied and waiting. Arms still haven't peeled, but you can see progressive pix on the newer post.

  3. where do you get your 50% tca peel?

    1. I have it posted just to the right. If you have pictures blocked, here's the link: