TCA Peel to Treat Herpes Fever blister: Before and After

I’ve read that a TCA Peel (Trichloroacetic Acid) can cause a fever blister or herpes for those who are prone to them (which I am), so I was a bit surprised at the SECOND email I’ve gotten in as many years stating that TCA Peel helps dry up fever blisters. I've gotten my share of fever blisters, usually after getting sunburned (when I was younger) or when I'm sick/feverish. 

Of course, I'm the biggest DIYer ever, so I tried using a 12.5% TCA peel solution on a recent fever blister (herpes)...results after I explain what I found out according to the medical community.

I’ve done some research, and I couldn’t find any studies that show a benefit with this type of treatment; in fact, most literature warns that those who are prone to herpes should use an antiviral before any chemical peel treatments (um, I've never used an antiviral before a chemical peel, but I know I'm supposed to).  However, I did see several pages that support the use of Trichloroacetic Acid for genital warts. Both herpes and genital warts are viruses, but they present in different forms on the skin.

In theory, it makes some sense: within hours after TCA peel application, the skin starts to dry out and die. I have had fever blisters before, but I’ve never dreamed of putting a TCA peel on them, and to be honest, I never would have had the courage without someone else trying it first. I would have been too afraid it would be even more noticeable!

The first email I received from a reader was almost a year ago. She said that she used a low-dose TCA peel and dabbed it on any area when she felt a fever blister coming on. I will admit that I thought it was crazy then and there, and I didn’t give it much thought after that...until a few months after that, when I received an email from a different reader. He said that he’s been using TCA peels as a treatment for his herpes for several years! I have to say that this is a use for TCA that I never would have thought of...and I've put some serious time into what I can use TCA for (including cleaning mineral build-up from my bathroom).

I’ve corresponded now with both of these readers to get more information on how they use the TCA peel on herpes (fever blisters). One used a 10% TCA peel solution, and the other uses a 25% TCA peel solution; and both more or less apply it with a cotton swab. One of the readers gets the sores just below or around her nostrils, and the other gets them on his lips (where I've gotten mine). It seems to work just as well in either of these areas. Remember, these are recounts of personal experiences. Never replace the advice of your medical professional with someone else's personal experience!

So, I started to get a fever blister a couple of days ago (to my great chagrin), and I decided to try this "treatment." Here are the before and after pictures:

I decided to mix a light batch, so I made at 12.5% TCA solution (because this is an easy 4:1).  Here's a picture of the fever blister (I caught it early, so it's small.)

Herpes Feverblister before TCA Peel
I dabbed a cotton swab in the solution and lightly touched it to the spot. Yes, it burned! I applied it only once, and I put nothing else on it. After about 4 hours, I could barely see the fever blister. Here's the after picture!
Herpes Fever blister after TCA Peel
The solution did seem to dry up the fever blister almost immediately. I had some minor flaking the next day, but it was not even noticeable after I applied a little lip balm. The herpes feverblister did not reappear. I'm sold on this use for TCA!


  1. Gabi, love your blog. It so informative. To think that you can get rid of a fever blister in hours is miraculous. I also follow your posts on MakeMeHeal. I love to read what you and AnnieBeanSprout are up to. I'm prepping for a TCA peel in February with 50% glycolic acid. Keep 'em coming!

  2. Thanks Mary! I have to admit, that I was really scared to do this because fever blisters are so embarrassing, so the idea of possibly making it worse gave me second thoughts. I don't know if this would work for everyone; I imagine if there are a lot of autoimmune issues, it probably could make it worse.

    OMG, how are you doing with the 50% glycolic acid? I can barely tolerate 35%! What strength TCA are you going with? Doing it yourself?

  3. I have 25% but I might dilute that to 20%...I did try to remove a skin tag with the 25% TCA yesterday but the tag is tough. It's growing in my arm pit and I don't think it even flinched!

    I do a lot of speed walking while waiting for the gly to do it's job.

    Have you used TCA on your neck? If so, what strength?


  4. Mary, Yes, I've removed many skin tags with TCA, but it takes a higher strength. I've done my armpits and my neck. Here's a link to the most recent post on my neck skin tags:

    The ones on my back and armpits took several high-strength applications (50%), and it takes weeks for part of them to fall off; then I had to reapply.

    My first facial TCA peel was 12.5 or 15%; I'm just not able to start at 25% because my skin is very sensitive. Is yours? I usually make it to 25% by the 3rd peel of the season (which was my most recent); then I stay at that strength. Too chicken to go higher, except on things like moles, age spots, etc.

  5. Thank you so much! Not fearful anymore.

  6. Hey! I'm at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and
    look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!

    Check out my homepage; Natural Remedy Herpes

  7. Where do you buy tca?