Croton Oil Peel

A croton oil peel, also known as a modified phenol peel or a Hetter peel, is a deep chemical peel that offers patients controlled yet dramatic results. Skin appears more youthful, less wrinkled, and more evenly pigmented once healed.

Croton Oil Peel Overview - Everything You Need to Know

The Skinny

Croton Oil Peel
avg. recovery
7 weeks
$250 - $5500

About the Procedure

Last Updated: 07.27.2021

Chemical peels have been utilized for decades, lauded for their impressive results after one treatment session, reducing wrinkles and adding volume to aged skin. However, the standard phenol peel was unpredictable, causing hypopigmentation and a glassy appearance to the skin. In the year 2000, it was discovered that croton oil was the main peeling agent in the standard chemical peel solution, not phenol oil. Also, by reducing the amount of croton oil in the peel solution, adverse side effects were seen less often in patients. The solution was now even more customizable by altering the concentration of croton oil depending on the area of application for more sensitive areas around the eyes, for example. Skin peeling was now more predictable while still achieving dramatic results. The modified phenol, or Hetter peel, is still used today for deep, chemical exfoliation. During treatment, patients will be administered either general or local anesthesia with a sedative. The different concentrations of the Hetter peel will be mixed and set aside while the skin is thoroughly cleansed. A small gauze or cotton-tip applicator will be used to apply the solution. Higher concentration solutions are applied to the areas of concern with deeper wrinkling and skin discolorations. Multiple layers may be applied for a deeper peeling effect. Frosting of the skin, which causes the skin to become white, occurs after 10-20 seconds. An experienced provider is crucial when having a croton oil peel treatment as determining how deep the peel has penetrated is evaluated by degree of skin frosting. Once the treatment is complete, a thick moisturizing and antibiotic ointment will be applied. It is crucial that the patient applies a moisturizing ointment to the skin throughout recovery to ensure optimal healing conditions. Initial healing will take approximately 2 weeks while residual redness and swelling may last for 8-12 weeks.

The goal of a croton oil peel is to improve the appearance and texture of uneven, aged, and wrinkled skin.

Recovery Notes

When recovering from a deep chemical peel it is important to be patient as it will take at least 2 weeks for new skin to form. The first week during recovery is accompanied by severe redness, skin crusting, and peeling. Initial recovery is complete after 2 weeks however may take longer with final results visible after several months. Plan to take 2 weeks off from work and normal activities.

Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for a croton oil peel is someone with a lighter skin complexion who desires dramatic results in a single treatment session with improvement to wrinkles and skin tone, and is prepared for a prolonged recovery period.

Not Recommended For

Croton oil peels are not recommended for use on darker skin tones due to risk of hypopigmentation.

Side Effects

Side effects from a Hetter chemical peel, while less likely to occur when compared to a traditional phenol peel, may still occur and can include local infection, contact dermatitis, irritation, burning, pruritus, pain, persistent erythema, edema, blistering. Delayed side effects may include scarring, delayed healing, milia, textural changes, hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation, lines of demarcation, loss of cutaneous barrier and tissue injury, and acneiform eruptions.


  • smooth skin
  • smooth deep wrinkles
  • smooth coarse wrinkles
  • dramatic results
  • long lasting results
  • only one treatment


  • extended recovery

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