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Phenol is the gold standard for chemical matricectomy in ingrowing toenail. Recently, trichloroacetic acid (TCA) was used as cauterant. Both agents have high success rates but a postoperative healing time claimed to be faster for TCA rather than phenol.Comparing the efficacy, the postoperative oozing time, the inflammatory reaction, and the postoperative pain.Comparative, prospective, randomized, double-blind study. Eighty-four patients with 96 ingrowing toenails were randomized in 2 groups. Forty-six ingrowing toenails were treated with phenol 88% and 50 with TCA 100% within a 4-month period. Patients were observed 4 times for the presence of oozing and for the degree of inflammation. Patients assessed also oozing and pain on a scale basis during 34 days.Oozing was observed to be less with phenol treatment, as from the second week. Inflammation was also significantly inferior in the phenol group at Week 4. Patients evaluated the incidence of pain below 2/10 for both cauterants, while oozing was higher with TCA during 34 days. The overall success rates of both groups were similar with 100%.Phenol and TCA are both effective but TCA does not offer any advantage in terms of postoperative morbidity compared with phenol.