I am going to attempt to give as much knowledge to...

I am going to attempt to give as much knowledge to those considering a croton oil/phenyol peel as possible. Prior to having mine, I researched all types of face enhancement procedures and became well acquainted with every procedure and product that one might choose for face enhancement. I believe knowledge is power and as a consumer, you must give yourself this knowledge before you allow anyone to complete any procedure on your face. After much research, the considerarion of what was financially possible, my age,determining what bothered me most about my face, and a realistic outcome, I chose to have a the deepest level chemical peel performed on my face. Currently,I am on Day 9 of the procedure. I would like to provide details and photos of each day's experience so that anyone choosing this procedure is aware of the realities.

I am going to submit pics of myself prior to the...

I am going to submit pics of myself prior to the peel and each day of the process. These pics are not pretty. The procedure is painful and one looks worse before better! I will include a "decent " pic of myself prior to the peel and the ugly truth of the wrinkles, sun damage, and smoking damage prior to the procedure. It's not easy for a gal to do, but sites like these really helped me prepare!

Day 1---Arrived at Dr. G's office at 7:30. Mostly,...

Day 1---Arrived at Dr. G's office at 7:30. Mostly, I was excited and wanted to get going! The nurses and staff are WONDERFUL!!!! They made me comfortable and confident and continue to do so daily.
Soon, I was fast asleep. When I woke, there was not much pain. I am blind in my right eye, which you may notice in pics. I think the brown spots were worse in that area as that eye was already swollen. I arrived home at 10:00 and had a soda. The pain and swelling didn't begin until about 1:00 and then continued rapidly through the next morning. It was difficult to get comfortable. I was to sleep with my head at a 45* angle. It felt like I was on fire. Vicoden did little to to take the edge off. I was given an ointment which was similar to Aquaphor to which they added lidocaine.....herein referred to as "goop". It was my good friend and it was slathered on frequently for days to come. On day 1 I ate a yogurt, a few saltines, and sipped on Sprite. Dr. G had given me local antesceptic while I was asleep. I believe it was done through injections to my face. It made th top of my head numb. That began to wear off around 5:00 P.M. The pain increased after that time.
Although it was awful, I was prepared. No surprises.

Day 2........Rocky Horror Picture Day! Woke...

Day 2........Rocky Horror Picture Day!

Woke at 4:30 A.M. Went to the bathroom and put more goop on my face. No Vicoden since midnight. Not taking any. Going to try and sleep. Pain is less intense, but the swelling is horrific. 9:30-Pain is still less intense, but the swelling is....WOW. Hurts more now from the tightness of the swelling. Yesterday the swelling was mostly around and under my eyes. Today it is my entire face. My lips are quite swollen. Today it will be harder to eat and drink. I have an appointment with Dr. G at 11:00. I am taking 2 Vicoden before I go. Will have to cover my face with a scarf or towel because it looks so bad. No regrets though.
Went to see Dr. G and Annette. They assured me it looked fine. He prescribed a Prednisone pack to reduce the swelling. He used Q-tips to remove any loose skin that had already peeled. Assured me that all was well and said that today was usually the worst day. Always feels good for him to reassure me things are fine. I am soooooo glad I did my research!!!! Exactly what I expected. Nothing shocking.
Very uncomfortable day. Couldn't rest due to the stimulation of the prednisone. Used lots of goop today!!! Ate yogurt, part of a scone, some mashed sweet potatoes, and an Ensure. I know.....poor diet choices! Drank a lot of Diet Sprite. Goop runs down my face and crusts under my neck. Yucky day.

Reminder.......I did look better at the start!

Reminder.......I did look better at the start!

Day 3-----Woke at 7:00 A.M. Slept pretty well, but...

Day 3-----Woke at 7:00 A.M. Slept pretty well, but the build up of goop is feeling awful! Can't wait for a shower!
Took a shower using a hand held shower head. Allowed water to drip on my face by placing the shower head above my head. (lukewarm water) Actually, it felt good and not too painful. Getting some of that goop off felt great. Patted face dry and left my face dry long enough to comb out my hair. Without the goop, the burning sensation returns. Re-applied goop.
Went to see Dr. G. They unlocked the back door for me!!! I wrapped a scarf around my face.I wouldn't want a prospective patient to see me; I'd scare them to death! Dr. G used Q-tips again to remove any peeled skin that was lying on my face. Today, some areas have peeled, revealing very pink skin. The Prednisone has really helped the swelling. My face is still about twice it's size, but much better than yesterday. I am to continue using the goop over the weekend. I will see Dr. G again Monday A.M. Everyone on the staff is genuinely kind and helpful. I always feel good when I leave. I am so glad I picked Dr. G. I know he is an excellent plastic surgeon.
Today's pain was tolerable. I took Vicoden prior to my shower and appointment, but none the rest of the day. Just a note....due to reasons I won't go into, Vicoden doesn't affect me much more than Ibprophen. Perhaps others would find greater relief from it.
Pain was worse in the evening. It was a throbbing pain.

Day 4-----Sleeping and getting comfortable last...

Day 4-----Sleeping and getting comfortable last night was very difficult. Didn't sleep well. My face seems to be drying out more quickly by early morning. It wakes me and I feel as though my face is crusted. Got in the shower to run water from my head down my face. The build up of goop feels awful. Different areas of my face have more skin peeling than others and are very raw.
Afternoon--My face is burning and throbbing. It hurts more than yesterday, but the swelling is less due to the Prednisone. I can't read or use the computer yet. I couldn't stand to have my glasses on my face and my vision is blurry because a film of goop gets in my eye.
Taking more Vicoden today. Doesn't help. Still eating things like yogurt, Ensure, soup, mashed potatoes, and ice cream. Still taking Valtrex, Keflex, and Vicoden.

Day 5 (Sunday)---Worst day so far, which I didn't...

Day 5 (Sunday)---Worst day so far, which I didn't expect. My face burns and hurts worse than any other day. Feels raw. Taking Vicoden as soon as allowed and it doesn't begin to take the edge off. I am worried that maybe I let too much water run down my face. I can't relax, can't sleep, and can't ease the pain. I am running a fever of 100*.
I try to use Saran wrap, towel, and ice to relieve some of the throbbing. My face is starting to itch as well.
I wish I could sleep this day away!!!!

Day 6---Bad night last night! The burning was so...

Day 6---Bad night last night! The burning was so bad that I only slept about 30 minutes at a time before the pain woke me. Took a quick shower. My face is very raw this morning and burning.
Just saw Dr. G. He said it looked fine. He prescribed Percocet to replace the Vicoden. Only one day left of Prednisone. He said I could add Ibprophen 3 times a day. I was worried as well as in pain. Seeing Dr. G made me feel so much better. As long as everything is good, I can deal with the pain. Once again, Annette and all of the staff make me feel welcome.
Feeling better as the day progresses. The Percocet does take the edge off. All in all, feeling much more comfortable than last night and this morning. Took an evening shower. Water feels good running down my face.

Day 7--- Felt pretty good most of the day. My face...

Day 7--- Felt pretty good most of the day. My face is swollen, but a good bit of the peeling skin is gone. I am even using a small mirror to look at different areas for the improvements!!
By late afternoon, my face is throbbing. I guess I waited too long to take Percocet, but I don't want to take it if I can avoid it. However, it took 2 cycles (doses) from afternoon until late evening to get pain relief. I am surprised I am hurting this much, but nothing else is unexpected.
My research and preparation allows me to stay positive because I knew to expect everything that I am seeing and feeling!!!!!

Day 8----Woke early again because the Aquaphor...

Day 8----Woke early again because the Aquaphor dries out while I'm sleeping and wakes me. (I switched from the mixture with the lidocaine to Aquaphor 2 days ago. No longer needing numbing topical.) I feel pain, crust under my neck, and layers of goop. Yuck!!! I get up and re-goop and try and sleep a little longer.
Took a shower. Still feels better when water runs down my face and cuts threw some of the grease. It should take weeks to get it all out of my hair!
I DROVE myself to see Dr. G today! I tried not to stop where a person in the car beside me could see me. I still took a towel to drape over me and went into the office through the back door! Dr. G said everything was continuing to look good. I will see him again on Friday.
My face is still swollen and bright red. Pretty good day. I talked with friends and even read for awhile. Throbbing worsens as the day progresses and I take a dose of Percocet before going to sleep.

Day 9-----Slept in this morning! Dr. G told me it...

Day 9-----Slept in this morning! Dr. G told me it was ok to lye flat on two pillows, but to expect more swelling. It felt wonderful!!!!
Today was a good day. No pain meds needed or taken. I was up and about in the house all day. I was able to wear my reading glasses and spent the day on the computer starting my review on RealSelf.

A few notes: I will be 52 in a couple of weeks. Life has thrown some great challenges my way the past ten years. Those challenges include great loss and extreme illness with weight loss. The effects of the past ten years were evident on my face. In addition, I was a smoker most of my life and, until about 2 months ago, a sun worshiper. I felt that my face made me look at least 10 years older than I am. My main reason for choosing a chemical peel was to remove the sun and smoke damage and get rid of all of the brown spots. Any reduction in wrinkles will be a plus! I didn't expect Dr. G to transform my face into that of a 30 year-old! I'll settle for looking 52 (or 45!). I am hoping for a refreashed and brighter me! I can see her peeping through already!

Day 10--Slept really late! It is so nice to lie...

Day 10--Slept really late! It is so nice to lie down flat and sleep on my side! I went to see Dr. G. I drove again. I entered through the FRONT DOOR!!! However, no one, but the staff were in the waiting room. We talked and chatted and I felt well. Dr. G said I looked RED!! All is ok. I am to use less Aquaphor over the weekend. He brought in his skin care specialist. She will consult with the chemists and order a lighter serum to use next. I have an an appointment with the skin care specialist next Friday to discuss future skin care and make-up. Dr. G told me that as we begin to use different skincare products, it is important to try them on a small area of the face first. I will see him again on Monday. There were a few guests in the lobby when I exited through the FRONT DOOR! They probably wondered what had happened to the lobster red looking woman!
Today has been a good day. I'm feeling a bit cooped up, but I am too red to consider going out. I am feeling really good and have used no medicines for a couple of days.

Day 11----What a difference a couple of days...

Day 11----What a difference a couple of days makes!!!! I feel pretty much back to normal. My face is still bright red and swollen. I am not sure how much swelling is left. I hope not much. Unfortunately, much of the aging was due to weight loss from illness that has continued over a 4 year period. The volume loss in my face has been quite drastic. There is a huge difference in my photos from just 4 years ago.
Today, I look more like I have always looked. I have cheeks and a round face. I started sending photos to family today. They say "WOW". I have a few areas on my forehead where the skin never really peeled. I have little whiteheads like baby acne in some areas. I can't really smile fully.I started the day with a shower. I blew dry my hair and put on something besides jamie pants. All dressed up, too red to go!
I am going to post several before and today photos of my face. The difference is quite drastic.
I know that I am going to be extremely pleased with my results!!! This is only 10 days post-op and my skin will only continue to improve. Perhaps some of the volume loss in my cheeks and under my eyes will come back, I'm not sure. However, I know already that I will not regret having this procedure.
One person I forgot to mention early on was Linda. She was my nurse anesthesist (sp......I know that is incorrect)). She called me the evening prior to the proceedure and she was the first to greet me the day of the procedure. If not for her and her ability to use IV sedation, I would not have been able to have this procedure!! I never felt or remembered a thing!
I am finished with my review as of today. I'll post a pic a week apart for the next few weeks.

I did not originally use my surgeon's full name because he was unaware of this review. His name is Ralph R. Garramone, M.D.,Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. His practice is located on the corner of Winkler and College Parkway, Ft. Myers, FL.
He has a website as well, and you can find it by searching his name.
I failed to tell you that I am from Columbus, OH. My closest friend lives here and I spend a lot of time in FL. I have been here on a vacation since March and will return home in November. She was by my side during this entire procedure. I appreciate her help through this process. However, this process of selection was more difficult because I am not in Ohio. At home, I'm aware of the top 3 plastic surgeons, but in SWF, I knew of no one. I'm glad I did my homework and I am so happy with my choice of surgeon. He spends most of his days completing much more invasive surgeries on all areas of the body.My procedure was not considered invasive, but without his knowledge and ability, my face and my life could have been scarred beyond repair. I'm a retired educator and money is far from unlimited. This was a huge gift to myself. If ever I wanted, needed, or could afford another procedure......Dr. Ralph Garramone would be performing it!!!
I'll be 52 in a couple of weeks......this is my belated 50th birthday gift to myself !!!! I feel fortunate to have been able to give it to myself.

WORTH IT!!!! WORTH IT!!!!!!!! WORTH IT!!!!!!

2 weeks following the peel----I feel back to...

2 weeks following the peel----I feel back to normal. The improvement from a week and one half to two weeks is huge. Today, I went shopping for a little while. I used a light bb cream to cover the red and put on some eye make-up and lipstick. I only used the bb cream because its only ingredient is that of a cream I am trying from the skin care specialist. I can defininately see why a loose mineral make-up will be needed. My skin is still so very dry and shedding. When I put on a tinted moisturizer, it clumps, peels, etc.and shows. My skin is not smooth enough yet to use anything resembling a liquid foundation.
As the swelling goes down, I notice some forehead wrinkles at rest and some wrinkles on my forehead and a few on my cheeks are noticeable when I animate my face. I think I notice them more because there are fewer of them! Again, my primary reason for selecting this procedure was to get the best bang for my buck over the long haul and to even my skin tone which will allow me to use less make-up. I don't have the financial resources to pay $20,000 for a full face lift and I would still have needed the peel. I also don't have the finances to use fillers and injectables for the next ten years, and again, I would have still needed the peel for my complection. So, this was the best choice for me and I am happy with it!

Please see my repy to a post written today,...

Please see my repy to a post written today, October 4. It describes my current condition three weeks post procedure. I will post pics today as well.
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon

First, I researched and acquired knowledge about all products used for facial enhancement as well as surgical procedure possibilities used on the face.I had consults with 9 plastic surgeons before choosing my doctor. I familarized myself with his practice, website, experience, and credentials. I confirmed his credentials with the Boards that provide certification for plastic surgeons. I took notes at each consultation. I made my decision based on all of these particulars combined with his professionalism, bedside manner, knowledge of the surgeon, and my gut. I think if one is sure of the qualifications of a surgeon, she will know which one seems to be the surgeon for her.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 13 others found this helpful

Comments (43)

Sort by

I just had peel done this week, so far your review has been right on target with what I'm experiencing. I woke up today; day 5 with burning and itching, but was not caught of guard since you had the same experience. It is reassuring to have your reference and see what kind of results I have to look forward to. Not sure if your on here anymore, but a big thank you for taking the time and having the guts to show your pictures. For anyone else looking for advise...I would advise cutting your nails and wearing cotton gloves to bed once the itching starts, as I accidentally scratched my face in my sleep :(
  • Reply
Hi DDDAWN, I was thinking for have a phenol peel done, but I am too afraid. Did you have a phenol peel?
  • Reply
I had a hetter peel which may be the same or similar. If your prepared it's not too bad. Pretty gross and you definitely need someone to help you.
  • Reply
Did you have many wrinkles before the peel? How do you like the outcome? How long ago did you have it? Has your skin changed color? I have been told by so many doctors that I could have permanent discoloring (ghostly white) and I would have a demarcation line and I would have to stay out of the sun forever. I am sorry about so many questions, but I don't know anyone personally that has had one. The doctors I have seen have tried to scare me away from having one. thank you for your help.
  • Reply
Amazing...now your youthful skin matches your gorgeous hair!
  • Reply
Can you tell me what makeup you use? Did you try Glominerals?
  • Reply
I just had a phenol eel 5 days ago. I wanted to ask you, How are you doing now? I had an upper bleph, fat injections, the peel, lip lift, and lipo at the same time. It has truly ben a test for me. I would love to message you if you would. I have not posted any pics because, honestly, I look like a monster,
  • Reply
I must say... (from Sweden, excuse my english... :) ... You look lovely. Always nice with people taking care of themselves. Just to feel good without beeing overly superficial and you seem to be just that kind of a person. What an amazing difference from the initial before picures - to the after pictures. Also a huge thank you for taking time to share such an informative review of the whole procedure, including taking so many photos etc. I'm so impressed, both with your review as with your results. Such a lovely lady - and what a great ending to the painful procedure you've gone through. I'm mesmerized at the good result, especially on the cheeks. For some reason I've always thought that applying acid on wrinkles could't smooth them out, but your results are... Wow is the only word that comes to mind! And as you say, money don't grow on trees - but this is definitely a great alternative, best bang for the buck. I felt so happy for you that I just had to send a congrats message. I would never have imagined a treatment like this could actually smooth out and so effectively remove that deep wrinkles. Now it looks like you didn't even had any before. I'm so impressed (beeing a guy, not having any wrinkles but still thinking of doing something for my skin) just for the fun of it and to preserve "my looks" (according to others :-). Again Ms... Wow...! What a lovely result. :) Supergreat. :) Kind regards from Sweden.
  • Reply
llsunny, thank you for sharing your story!!! I am scheduled on Nov 6th, for a croton oil/phenol peel. I am soooooooo scared and nervous. I see your last post was about a year ago, and was wandering how everything is going now??? Has your skin continued to improve, and are you still pleased???? I also sent you a private message. I am new to this site, but trying to learn. I was hoping to communicate with you before I went in next Wednesday!!!
  • Reply
My god, you poor thing! That looks horribly painful, but doggone if it didn't give fantastic results. You look GREAT now!
  • Reply
You look awesome! You're so brave for having the procedure and sharing photos. Many thanks...you look awesome sistah! I had a 35% tca pee in matrch l which left me with rochasea, fine lines, leathery skin and pigment damage, the dtr actually said," I guess this brought out the sun damage to your skin"...I thought the TCA would help reduce those concerns. I am highly depressed - but thanks to seeing this I have renewed hope!
  • Reply
I agree you look great,but has the redness diminised and have you acheived the rusults you wanted? thanks for sharing
  • Reply
I am thinking of having a phenol peel. I had very nice skin but had a couple of lines around my mouth. A doctor talked me into having a Pearl Fractional laser treatment. It left me with a lot of scarring around my mouth and pin marks all over my face. My question is, does the peel turn you face white? Will the wrinkles/scars come right back after a year or so? Can you go in the sun at all? What should I expect? If anyone can help, I would appreciate it. Also, does anyone know of a doctor in NJ that does peels? Thank you
  • Reply
IlSunny: I had this done about 7 years ago and I still get compliments on my small pores and nice looking skin. My skin wasn't quite as bad as yours prior but the process was definitely similar...going from a monster to a baby's face...definitely worth it. and for Eileen below the TCA peel is a much lighter peel. I plan to do that on my hands, arms, legs and chest mostly as a pre-cancer preventative effort.
  • Reply
Thank you for posting this, I am having a phenol peel on Wed. Nov 6th, 2013. I hear /see about all the great results, but only like months or year later. So the fact that you are still happy with your skin after 7 years its good to see for me!!!! I am so scared, however mine will not be as deep as llsunny. Im 44 have fine lines, acne scars, sundamage, and overall ugly texture. I am going to try and document my entire process with pics and daily updates.
  • Reply
Please tell me if your skin turned white. Thank you.
  • Reply
Thanks for sharing pictures - what a great result. As you seem to have really researched, do you know if a phenol peel is much stronger than a TCA peel? Or is it the same thing? thanks and you look amazing.
  • Reply
Wow, I am having a deep plane face lift, dermabrasion for the perioral area (above and below my lips are very similar to your pictures, I smoked and sun worshiped my whole life, 51 on 4/22/13) and micro-fat injections, I have been researching the DEEPEST peels available and your posts have me so inspired and excited, Thank You so so so much for your time and courage :)
  • Reply
Simply Amazing!!!!!!
  • Reply
Wow is right. Bless you for having the courage to share all those pictures. I have a good friend considering this and I will share this as I'm sure she has no idea what she could be in for. I was with her at the consult and the doctor didn't give her any preparation and it is called the Hetter peel which I think is the same as what you had. I looked at all the pictures and can't wait to come back and read the details of your experience. I wish you would show more after pictures close up like your before picture; however, it looks like it turned out amazing and you must be thrilled. Really awesome. You probably mentioned in your document but I am very curious if you went through this alone or did you have someone to help you. Thank you again for sharing this. Do you agree that this should be done by a dermatologist and not just someone who is board certified plastic surgeon? I am also curious how you decided to choose this over the CO2 Fractional that I see some love and other's have questionable results. I love that you consulted with 9 doctors as I think that who does this work is the key.
  • Reply
Wow, what a great accounting of your phenol peel experience. Those pictures were amazing, and you are really a generous person to post those so that others can be better informed. You look dramatically improved and it sounds like your doctor and his staff treated you very well, especially in that you were well informed of what to expect. My mom had the phenol peel about 20 years ago -- the damage to her face from smoking and the sun was about the same as yours, as were her amazing results. You definitely choose the right proceedure for your problems, but wow, you poor thing having to go through that. So happy for you that it's all good from here!
  • Reply
Dear llsunny I want to send you a heart felt thank you for sharing your experience and photos. You are a lovely woman and I truly appreciate you sharing your experience. I just had a Croton oil (Phenol peel) this last Tuesday October 30th with additional dermabrasion for acne scaring on top of it by Dr. Bensimone in Portland, Or. I am at the five day mark and look pretty yucky. Looking at your photos has provided me support and an understanding of the healing process of this. IAgain, I so appreciate it. I noticed today that I am slightly more redder then yesterday and my skin a bit more irritated then it was a day ago (now on day 5). Dead skin is yellow and goopy looking on my face and I have at times caught a slight smell of what I think is dead flesh. Yucky! Oh, the price for rejuvenation. Trying not to stress and taking it real easy, staying mineralized and hydrated and giving my body a break to heal. Some details for others from my experience. I used polysporin on my face the first two+ days and my faced oozed a lot. I then switched over the a product by Alba called "UnVasoline" because I did not like the idea of putting a byproduct of gasoline on my face. It worked okay. IStarting day #5 I am now using an exceptional product instead of the petroleum jelly alternative and it's making my face feel much better. It's by La Roche Posay and its the Toleriane sensitive part of their skin care line called Toleriane Riche Soothing Protective Cream. I love it. It's hydrating enough and a wonderful barrier, and is just protecting and calming everyting. Would be great at anytime to use. Also taking an interesting glandular supplement by Standard Process called Dermatrophin Pmg (it's Bovine Eithelial Extract) to support the tissue regeneration process. Another thing I have found helpful is taking a very pure buffered form of Ascorbic Acid (vit. C). I love the one by Pure Encapsulations (excellent company), called Buffered Ascorbic Acid. It seems to help take down some of the inflammation and is wonderful to support the collagen building process. I highly recommend it. Very high quality and non allergenic for sensitive individuals. I sip on it in water all day long. Also fish oil and flax oil. Got to keep that inflammation down and it helps. Blessings to you. Trish
  • Reply
Trish, how are your results? I am considering the same procedure and would love to hear how things are going for you. Thanks, Paula
  • Reply

Really intersting post. Thanks for sharing. I had a lower facelift with an Active/Total FX laser treatment on my face/neck/chest about 2 yrs ago. My laser experience was about the same as the experience you described (pain/recovery progress). It was $20K for both the lower facelift and the laser. Just to provide some prospective....I needed both the lift and the laser and also I wanted to laser my neck and chest at the same time, which I understand is not possible with this peel. I also do regular chemical peels even since the facelift/laser to maintain results. I do much, much lighter peels - but am soooo impressed with these results. YOU LOOK AWESOME! I applaud you for sharing the details and for your balanced approach to the reporting. Great job. I've got a girlfriend considering this procedure and I'm going to share your post. Thanks again!

  • Reply
How are things going? I am now a day and half recovered. My face is really swollen but most of the intense pain is gone. My face is covered by bandages so I can't see what I look like ( probably better). Go back in tomorrow for surgeon to remove them. Your review sure helped my realize what was going to happen because I think they underplayed the swelling and pain a little at the doctors
  • Reply