Sun Damaged Skin & A Prescription for Picato

Sun Damaged Skin & A Prescription for Picato

Turning 50 has prompted me to put some well-needed focus on self-care. Of course, I hope that means more pedicures and a massage now and again but there are all kinds of other pieces and parts to self-care I’m considering. That’s a topic for many other posts I need to write but first up is a commitment to take care of my health and therefore an over-due annual check up happened just a few months following my birthday. With that came a lot of referrals to all of the specialty doctors I’d need to see. With my fair skin and a history of some skin “issues” (a basal-cell carcinoma at age 27 that left me not only concerned but also with 10 stitches down my nose a month before my wedding, for example). Since then, I’ve been told to keep up with my dermatology check ups and although I did have too long a lapse before this past visit, I have made that a priority over the years.

It wasn’t a huge surprise that my new dermatologist remarked that I had “extensive” sun damage on my face and chest which she commented gave her “heart palpitations” just looking at it. If there’s one thing you never want to hear, it’s that your skin gives your dermatologist that kind of reaction, considering you’re sure  she has certainly seen some of the worst conditions imaginable. So…

A few biopsies and a few prescriptions later, I agreed to work with her on a strategy to keep the skin protection to a maximum in hopes to keep the cutting out/off down to a minimum. Apparently, the protection isn’t just about more sunscreen more often, although that’s part of it. The prescriptions were a big part of the plan. This was the first time I had been encouraged (ok, instructed) to use a product to “kill my pre-cancerous skin cells”. It was agreed we’d begin on my nose and surrounding areas. And then I started googling Picato (the prescription gel) which, surprise surprise, freaked me out so bad, I was *this* close to not doing it.

Fast forward to now; post Picato Gel treatment and sharing my experience. I figured if I spent hours reading other people’s accounts of their experiences (which I am so grateful for because it helped me to know what I might expect) perhaps someone might appreciate a detailed play-by-play. Just in case. If medical pictures freak you out, feel free to click away. Although there’s only 1 shot that I would consider kind of gruesome, none of them are pretty.

Alrighty, here’s my Picato Gel story in pictures including tips and tricks I used that really helped me.

My cost : I used a pharmacy that my Dr. recommended with a coupon she gave me and it was $50 out of pocket. They shipped it to me overnight. It’s got to stay refrigerated, so keep that in mind.

Instructions from my Dr. :  Apply gel once a day for 3 days on my nose, inner cheeks and above my lip.

TIP 1: My Dr. suggested I apply the treatment each night and sleep with it on so I could wash it off in the morning (you’re allowed to wash it off after 6 hours). BUT, after reading countless testimonies that it burned so much you can’t sleep with it on, I opted to apply each morning at 9am so I could wash it at 3pm. I was able to stay at home the week I did my treatment and it worked out really well for me. Also, they were right. There’s no way I could have slept with it on. Yowza.


TIP 2: Take a pain reliever a half hour before application.

TIP 3: Coat your lips with Vasoline before you apply gel near your lips. This will act as a barrier between your lips and any gel that could get on them (I was told you not to get the gel on my lips). I used Lansinoh instead of Vasoline. Yes, the same Lansinoh that nursing mothers use. I use it for everything! It’s the ointment of the gods.

Read the instructions you were given well and heed the warning not to get the gel on anything that wasn’t instructed. Apply it with 1 finger and thoroughly wash your finger when you’re done. Keep AWAY from eyes and mouth/lips.

I felt little to no pain or burning on Day 1 until the evening (above). It just felt like a bad sunburn.

TIP 4: After the 6 hour treatment is up, rinse with cool water. It’s very soothing.

TIP 5: I applied Cetaphil to my face in the evening before I went to bed. One day 1, that worked to soothe it and the Cetaphil didn’t burn. People in the message boards swear by Aquaphor for post-Picato treatment but I tried a little and thought it made the area even more hot so I opted for Cetaphil.

DAY 2:

The application of Day 2 burned quite a bit. I forgot to take the pain reliever first and I was sorry. Right after I applied, I took Advil. By noon my one cheek felt like it was on fire. By the late evening the entire application site was covered in blisters. You can really see that in the right photo above. It didn’t hurt nearly as I thought it would at that point but it was really uncomfortable and tight. Gross alert: These blisters were watery and seeped fluid (eeew!) leaving yellow crust.

TIP 6 : After you’re allowed to rinse, use something to soothe your face. I tried a little Cetaphil again but it burned pretty bad (now that my skin was so damaged) so I switched to Lansinoh. Keeping the tight areas moisturized really helped keep the skin pliable so I could talk, eat and smile without cracking my skin. It wasn’t easy to apply, because it’s so thick, but I’m so glad I did.


Because I had blisters all over the application site on Day 3, I called my Dr. to be sure I should continue with the third treatment. I was told to apply the gel anyway. It REALLY burned during the application and within an hour was almost unbearable. Think blow-torch. For 6 hours. It burned really bad (which goes without saying) but I also got a bad headache and felt like I had sun poisoning. I had waves of nausea and chills for a few hours. No joke.


TIP 8 : I used a fan on my face which helped a little. I stood with my face in the freezer which helped a lot. I filled a big bowl up with ice and but my face in the bowl (hovering over the ice) and put a towel over my head. That helped too.

TIP 9 : Distract yourself. I was on Facebook trying to keep my mind off the pain. I think I was delirious. Oh my goodness, the burning!

Once I was able to rinse with cool water, the pain began to let up. By evening, it didn’t hurt much but it was uncomfortable. I used the Lansinoh treatment again (in generous applications) and would rinse, blot with a clean towel then reapply whenever it seems like the Lansinoh was absorbed.

DAYS 4-8

Day 4 wasn’t nearly as bad as Day 3 (because I didn’t have to apply) but it was still uncomfortable as the blisters started drying out.

TIP 10 : In the days following the treatment I took Benedryl to help with itching. Like with any burn, it can itch. I felt twinges and of pain and discomfort throughout the next few days.

TIP  11 : I started switching between Lansinoh and Neosporin throughout the days and at night before I went to bed. I’ve had good luck with Neosporin to help expedite healing wounds and it really soothed and seemed to help my healing. My skin was like sandpaper so it helped keeping it moisturized.

On Day 7 the blistered (now dead) skin started peeling off leaving pink, tender new skin. I started using Cetaphil again on Day 8 but didn’t even try to put any makeup on until Day 9 as the new skin felt very sensitive. It’s gotten better with each new day. Yay!

Next up, my Dr. wants me to my chest. I’m not sure what she will prescribe yet. Thankfully, I’ll be waiting until after the holidays for that. I am NOT looking forward to it.

If you have any thoughts, questions, tips or experiences of your own you’d like to share please leave a comment here. I’d be happy to hear from you!

Disclaimer: All opinions, experiences, and advice re: Picato and any other products in this post are my own. Please follow instructions provided by your own health care professional and consult them with any questions or complications you might have. Also, this is not a sponsored post.

  • kate
    Posted at 22:47h, 05 January Reply

    Im on Day 1…and already feel the burn Thank you for sharing your tips and pics!

    • Tracey
      Posted at 12:52h, 06 January Reply

      Ouch. Hang in there, Kate!

      • Heather Devlin
        Posted at 13:12h, 20 October Reply

        A Fan to face is 100% needed on Day 3. The second I turned away from the fan, I could feel my face cooking.Day 3 was the challenge.On day 3, I spent the 6 hours laying still with my face in front of a fan with HGTV on in the background. There is no way someone should go through this without a fan.

        • Tracey
          Posted at 10:16h, 01 November Reply

          Totally agree, Heather! It’s amazing how much a relief the fan can be. The colder the air blowing on the burns, the better! Thanks for your comment.

    • Mandy stone
      Posted at 14:25h, 20 March Reply

      Thanks for sharing!I’m starting my cream tonight and have to work the next 2 days!not going to lie I’m scared!!! Don’t want to use it but I know I have to!

      • Tracey
        Posted at 19:23h, 04 April Reply

        Mandy, I was scared too but I’m glad I just did it. There’s never a good time but once it’s behind you, it feels so much better! Crossing my fingers you had an OK experience.

  • Sharon Cocking
    Posted at 06:09h, 08 January Reply

    My Doctor just today prescribed Picato. I did an Efudix treatment about 6 years ago and it worked wonders. I went to see the Doctor about something on my face and it’s a skin cancer and it’s getting cut out on Wednesday. Today she gave me a script for Picato. Like with Efudix I started doing research and reading people’s stories and came across your page about your experience. Efudix was a 20 day application if I remember and then it was still a couple of weeks before I could be seen in public. The Doctor said that Efudix had been superseded by Picato. I am amazed it’s just a 3 day application and that within as little as 8-9 days (everyone is different) you can look good enough to think about getting back into normal living outside the home. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 11:43h, 08 January Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Sharon. I have been given a prescription for a 30 treatment of a variation of Efudix too (she called it 5-FU), for my chest. I’m supposed to start it early this year but after my Picato experience, I’m NOT looking forward to starting it. I’m glad it’s on my chest and not my face but 30 days sounds impossible! I’m sorry you had to endure it. Good luck with your removal on Wed (that’s never fun!) and best of luck with your Picato experience.

      • Jacqueline Austin
        Posted at 10:55h, 15 December Reply

        Hi, thanks for sharing…I am about to start my second treatment..I jad piccaddo…a couple of years ago.It was excruciating,unbearable but I made it through and was totally healed in a week, on my chest…This time I told my dr I could not do it again, he had prescribed Efidux this time , but after researching…it lasts somlong, whats your opinion on the two ? Thank you so much!

  • シアリス100mg
    Posted at 18:37h, 09 January Reply

    happy happy happy

  • 蔵秘雄精
    Posted at 18:13h, 17 January Reply

    Thank you

  • Melissa Newman
    Posted at 07:28h, 17 March Reply

    I’m getting ready to start my PICATO treatment and I am so very grateful that I found your “PICATO Experience”. My dermatologist told me to do it when I had some “down” time. I sorta laughed because I don’t even know what that is. I thought I could start it and still teach; however, I’m now thinking that is NOT a good idea. I’m going to get some Cetaphil, Lansinoh, and Neosporin before I even touch the medication. Thank you for the pictures!! Your account and the photos in various stages helped. A lot!

    • Tracey
      Posted at 19:22h, 04 April Reply

      Melissa, I hope you have your treatment behind you now! Crossing my fingers it went well for you.

  • Tracy Z
    Posted at 10:17h, 01 April Reply

    Hello – The pictures were MOST helpful to me… thank for posting them. I am on day 4 and last night was my third nigt of applying. Today (day four) is defintely the worst. My face is exactly like yours with the exception of my forehead and chin is also red and burned as i applied it there as well.. It almost feels like a chemical burn… which I guess is what it is many ways.
    My entire face is swollen feels completely burnt and raw areas, scabs, and peeling. My eyes were almost felt swollen shut yesterday and this am. I am using bags of frozen peas in a towl gently placed on my face to help the cool. I have a small fan (nail fan) that i have been using as close as I can get it for the past 2 days. I just take it with me everywhere I am sitting. It is a lifesaver for me. I slept with it on my nighstand as well blowing cool air.

    I wanted to add that my dermatologist subscribed Biafine cream for me to use. I did my chest with Picato a few weeks ago as test before my face and it was just as terrible. At least I knew what i was getting into. The Biafine helped my chest so much and am using it on my face hoping it heals more quickly.

    This is not where I purchased it and don’t know anything about….. I got my at the dermatogists office but here is a link to show you:

    I let 6-8 hours pass with the picato then when I washed my face I applied hte Biafine. I will continue using in a few times a days from here on out while healing.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 19:25h, 04 April Reply

      Thank you so much for your input, Tracy. I STILL haven’t done my chest. After doing my face, I chickened out! Glad to know about Biafine cream. I hadn’t heard of it. Thanks again and I hope you’re feeling better now!

  • Robyn Stroud
    Posted at 16:01h, 12 April Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience!!! I’m treating my four head, Day 2 and I am vey blistered. Pain is fine but I look hideous !!

    Thanks again!

    • Tracey
      Posted at 09:49h, 24 April Reply

      Hope you got through it all ok, Robyn! Thanks for your comment.

  • Jules
    Posted at 23:14h, 29 April Reply

    Thanks for sharing your experiences ….I have used Picato on one small area on my face, was very red, swollen and within hours a huge blister formed on the whole area I used the gel, I was very concerned, I’m on day 2 and not sure I want to put the third day’s application on because I’m worried it will scar…..any advice?

    • Tracey
      Posted at 11:55h, 30 April Reply

      Jules, sounds painful! I felt the same way about putting on the last days treatment too. I called the Dr and about it after day 2 and she said it was normal to have those blisters (for some people) so I decided to continue on for the 3rd day. I don’t have any scarring but my face is still gets reddish (like after the shower) in the spots where I put the gel. I would suggest you call your Dr and tell them how extreme your reaction was just to double check with them. GOOD LUCK!!

  • Mary A
    Posted at 10:44h, 13 May Reply

    Hi Tracey,

    I’m starting the PIcato next week. Can you tell me about the Cetaphil you used, was it the skin cleaner or the moisturizing lotion I’m assuming it’s the cleaner! Also, were you happy with the results of the Picato, would you do it again?

    • Tracey
      Posted at 22:34h, 13 May Reply

      Hi Mary, I used the Cetaphil lotion. I didn’t use any cleanser at all during the process. I just rinsed with cool water, patted my skin dry and applied lotions. Once my skin healed, it was really soft and smooth. It still is fairly soft BUT I think because of the extent of the sun damage and my age (I’m 50) it hasn’t made a big difference in how my skin really looks. I have a follow up appointment soon so we’ll see what my Dr says. I was told to use a treatment on my chest for a month if I remember correctly(!?!?!) but I didn’t have the courage after the face treatment. I’ll get to my chest eventually. Ugh. GOOD LUCK TO YOU!!!

      • Mary A
        Posted at 19:55h, 16 May Reply

        Thanks so much Tracey!

  • Cay Snow
    Posted at 19:22h, 18 May Reply

    Thank you for your post! I am just healing from my Picato treatment. I could NOT bring myself to do the third application. Like you, I had chills and felt nauseous. It was horrible. But now that I am at the pink skin stage and the blisters are gone, I wish I had gone ahead and done the third application. I have a dermatologist appointment next week and will have to break it to my doctor that I did not finish the entire course. I have three AK’s on my face. I think I would rather just have them frozen off…

  • Tracey
    Posted at 17:15h, 17 June Reply

    Thx so much for the info. My Rx cost $586.00! How’d you get it for $50.00?!

    • Tracey
      Posted at 11:24h, 19 July Reply

      I’m not sure about the cost but my Dr. gave me a coupon. I have seen people mention the cost anywhere from over $1000 down to $50. I have no idea why there is such a wide range-it seems so strange (and unfair)!

  • mandy jolley
    Posted at 06:33h, 11 July Reply

    Hi Tracey,
    I’m completely freaking out after reading comments.
    I’m on my first day but i have applied to my lip. I’m sure I was told I could do so. shit shit shit. I had to do my forehead and parts of my cheeks.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 11:25h, 19 July Reply

      Mandy, I hope by now you’re through your process! I sent you an email but didn’t hear back. Sending you all the best!

    • Susan
      Posted at 19:21h, 12 September Reply

      My doctor specifically prescribed mine for my lip. I read in the directions that it wasn’t supposed to be used on the lips, but when I called my doctor’s office, I was told that I was to use it on my lip.

      • Tracey
        Posted at 09:41h, 06 October Reply

        Susan, how did it go? I’m hoping the strain they gave you worked well on your lip and didn’t cause too much trouble for you.

  • Renae
    Posted at 17:24h, 17 July Reply

    I have just applied this for the three days and today have a Dr appointment as on the side of my face where I used it I can not see out of my eye due to the swelling, My eye is stinging and weeping constantly and I did not put it in it or wipe it. The gel dried for 3 hours before bed.
    The sites where the gel has been applied blistered but way outside the application area (as in placed a 2mm application of gel and a 2cm wide blister occurred).
    Headaches, nausea, feeling ordinary and looks horrendous. I accept that it was going to not look good, but did not expect this reaction. Be careful if you usually react strongly to other drugs (like I do). You may have a severe reaction like I have.
    I have used a cream in the past and it took longer but was far more manageable than this. I am meant to start a new job in 4 days, teaching of all things, if it doesn’t improve quickly I will scare the poor kids! I thought the worst would be over by the time I had to start and just be able to cover the redness but I have weeping holes in my face!!!!

    • Tracey
      Posted at 11:27h, 19 July Reply

      Oh goodness, Renae! I am so sorry you had such a terrible reaction. I had read from others about the eye swelling. Did you apply at night? I wonder if there’s more of a risk that way because the treatment might run into unwanted places during sleep? I certainly hope you’re feeling better and that you can start your new job soon (if not already)! Good luck!

  • Sharon Alexander
    Posted at 06:10h, 18 July Reply

    Hi Tracey,
    I have been prescribed Picato also for my face. I had a skin cancer cut from my face a few weeks ago. I am a little nervous about using this preparation. I understand everyone’s reactions may differ to some degree. Thankyou for sharing your experience with using Picato. Numerous thoughts have flooded my mind, like, will I scar?, will the redness disappear?, how long will I need to heal?, how long will I need to be away from work? (I am a school teacher).
    Thankyou again for sharing your experience and for the tips.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 11:30h, 19 July Reply

      Hi Sharon, I too would be concerned about using it on your healing wound. I would steer clear of it, personally! But ask your Dr for sure. I got quite blistered and I’m not scarred at all. It did take some time to get back to feeling/looking presentable but I’ve got nothing left on my face that gives any indication of the treatment although my skin feels REALLY soft! : ) Best of luck to you!

  • Sharon Alexander
    Posted at 05:06h, 20 July Reply

    Hi Tracey, thankyou for responding to my email and thankyou for sending luck my way. I did pay my Dr a visit yesterday. He said to continue using the Strataderm cream on my healing scar and to just work around it. So today I was courageous and applied my first dose of Picato. To my surprise ‘day 1’ has been reasonably comfortable. I have had slight burning in my upper lip area and some tightening over the day. I have also experienced some tingling sensations as well as some itching. I took your advice and applied some Paw Paw gel to my lips first. Like you I have also taken photos. I started at 9.30 am this morning. My skin is feeling warm and a little tender this evening (9.30pm).

    I am so happy to hear that you did not have any scarring and that you have recovered well from the treatment and have been given the all clear.

    Can I ask how long it took for you to feel good and look presentable?

  • Sharon Alexander
    Posted at 20:19h, 20 July Reply

    Hi Tracey, ‘day 2’, is itching a common reaction to the Picato treatment?

  • Sharon Alexander
    Posted at 18:25h, 21 July Reply

    Hi Tracey, ‘day 3’ today. I woke up with slightly swollen face. I have applied my last dose of Picato. Feeling some burning and still have tingling and itching, otherwise bearable. I am looking forward to rinsing this off this afternoon, then I will apply some Q.V. Ceam to ease the tightness and to moisturise.

    Unlike yourself, I had to apply the Picato across my forehead also. I noticed some slight blistering and weeping across my cheeks.

    Well on the home run now. Taking the next week away from work to heal and begin to feel normal again.

  • Sharon Alexander
    Posted at 23:30h, 21 July Reply

    Hi Tracey,
    Thankyou for sharing your experience with those of us having to go through this process. It can be very daunting for many individuals as was the case for myself.
    Feeling very sensitive this afternoon. I’m looking forward to applying some Paw Paw cream tonight.
    Thanks again. You’re areal Angel.

    • Sharon Alexander
      Posted at 21:14h, 28 July Reply

      Hi Tracey, day 10 today. I have a lovely pink complexion. Still it prickles and feels itchy on and off. How long before you can use SPF sunblock?

      I am contemplating taking a few more days away from work until the sensitivity eases. Any suggestions?

      • Tracey
        Posted at 16:02h, 03 August Reply

        Sharon, I have used sunblock everyday since my treatment! : ) Sounds like you’re good to go!

  • Jen Gray
    Posted at 13:31h, 23 July Reply

    I was prescribed Picato and they are delivering it to me Wednesday. Ugh. I was totally fine with it until I went online. I don’t know that I want to do it. Does it remove brown spots? If not, I’m tempted to forego it and just keep doing my pre-cancer spot treatment. This looks horrible. Embarrassing/gross/super painful torture. My husband might even be scared. 🙁 If this is simply to prevent me from having to continually get those spots removed I think I would rather just get them removed here and there.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 16:05h, 03 August Reply

      Jen, I’m so sorry you’re in such a tough spot. It was really hard and seemed so extreme at the time. So much so that I still haven’t done my chest (like I’m supposed to). I didn’t really have brown spots where I applied it so I don’t know if it removes them. Basically it burns everything to heck and you’re left with brand new baby skin. I’ll be eager to hear what you decided to do.

  • kerri stella
    Posted at 23:33h, 30 July Reply

    Hello Tracey, I have just come back from my appointment with the skin specialist. I’m totally freaking out. Had a sample tested and now having to wait for results on whether its a nasty melanoma, but I was also prescribed Efudex and Picato gel for my face (i still need to discuss with my hubby which one I will use due to the difference in price) but I cannot remember if the Efudex was a shorter treatment or the Picato gel was shorter?

    • Tracey
      Posted at 16:09h, 03 August Reply

      Oh wow, Kerri, I hope you get good news on your test!! I’m so sorry you have to go through this stress. ugh. My picato gel was a shorter treatment and my Efudex was much longer. I never did the Efudex for my chest. Since my last visit I went back and my dr. gave me picato variety for my chest that wouldn’t take as long. I still haven’t done it! Wishing you all the best, Kerri!!

  • Jonathan
    Posted at 09:13h, 01 August Reply

    Hi Tracey, thanks so much for this information page. I’ve just finished a 4-week course of Efudix (forehead only) and have been contemplating how I am going to manage doing my face (since being male I have the extra problem of shaving and if I do not shave, after a few days it wouldn’t be possible to get any cream to penetrate). So this Picato seems to be a practical solution for men who would otherwise have had no other alternative to Efudix, provided of course the doctor is OK with it. I am just curious if you do not mind me asking. What was the reason for being prescribed Efudix for your chest versus Picato? I would have thought the huge benefits of Picato are getting back to normality very quickly and I am struggling to understand any disadvantages, other than the higher cost. Afterall, Efudix hurts like heck as well – and for longer!!

    • Tracey
      Posted at 16:14h, 03 August Reply

      Jonathan, thank you for your comment. I NEVER would have thought about the shaving. Ouch! That’s a tough predicament. I’ll really be eager to hear how you deal with that. Maybe your Dr. has some advice? I honestly have no idea why I got the Efudix for my chest but after what I went through with only 3 days of Picato, I DIDN’T want to do it! When I had my follow up Dr. appt. I admitted I didn’t do my chest (with Efudix) and so I was prescribed a Picato treatment for my chest. My Dr. has acted like it was a new option which I thought was weird. Regardless, I have the prescription for both my check and my forehead and haven’t done either. Gah! I’ll be eager to hear how it goes with your treatment and facial hair!

  • Sylvia Webb
    Posted at 07:20h, 04 August Reply

    Hi Tracy, today is my last day of my Picato treatment on my nose.I am already peeling. Can you tell me if tomorrow I can go back to wearing my normal Simple moisturiser and foundation cream,as I would like to try to hide the redness. Also is it safe to use sun cream. The instructions in the package does not refer to these queries. Thank you, Sylvia

    • Tracey
      Posted at 09:47h, 04 August Reply

      Hi Sylvia, I’m glad to hear you’re on your last day. As for moisturizer or sunscreen, I would use it whenever you feel like your skin is ready. You can always rinse it off if it hurts or burns. With makeup, I waited for a number of days before I used any. I was too afraid it would hurt if I applied anything to the skin that wasn’t yet healed.

  • Rhonda Starcher
    Posted at 08:35h, 10 August Reply

    I was prescribed Picato for a “VERY SMALL” spot on my nose, this spot is only about half the diameter of a pencil eraser, very small. Should I worry about my eyes swelling? I only have one good eye, I have a cataract in the right one and if my left one swells, I won’t be able to see at all…

    • Tracey
      Posted at 09:40h, 06 October Reply

      Hi Rhonda, I’m hoping your treatment is behind you now! Hoping you didn’t suffer any swelling. Would love to hear how it went!

  • Lesley
    Posted at 14:14h, 13 September Reply

    Hi Tracey,

    Just found your blog and loved it. I too have been prescribed Picato for face, chest, arms, and hands. This is a fabulous drug that works. Yeah, a few ugly days but the results are incredible. The unfortunate part of AK’s is they do re-appear. This is the Third time I have used Picato on my face, chest, arms, and hands. First treatment was the worst, each treatment that followed got easier and easier as the AK’s were being decreased.

    I know this treatment works the problem of having to reapply is only because I am a fair skinned, green eyed, blonde that loved the sun and failed to wear protection.

    Do your chest WOMAN! You will be glad you did. I find starting treatments on Thursday early evening works well as I have the weekend to hide thru the worst of the wanting to hide routine.

    All the best to you and I know others have and will benefit from reading your blog.


    • Tracey
      Posted at 09:43h, 06 October Reply

      Lesley! Thank you for the nudge. : ) I still haven’t done my chest. GAH! But, hearing that it has gotten easier for you with each treament is enlightening and gives me hope. I had yet to hear from anyone who has done treatment more than once so I thank you for sharing that!

  • susie
    Posted at 08:37h, 26 September Reply

    I too am starting the Picato. About 18 hours into it! Definitely have been feeling the burning sensation, like my face is on fire and am so thankful for your tips. I already know I will be using them (probably all of them) throughout the process.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 09:45h, 06 October Reply

      Susie, I’m sure you’re feeling much better now – I’m hoping it didn’t get too bad and that the tips helped minimize your discomfort!

  • Susie
    Posted at 08:42h, 26 September Reply

    Quick question, when did you feel normal again? Was it day 10 that you could wear makeup and by makeup I mean foundation?

    • Tracey
      Posted at 09:49h, 06 October Reply

      Susie, I didn’t put make up for almost 2 weeks but you’ll be able to judge for yourself as the days pass…you’re probably right at about 10 days out now so I’m curious as to how you’re feeling.

  • Vonda Roberts
    Posted at 15:39h, 27 September Reply

    Thank you!! I just got blindsided by diagnosis today . . . A whole new world for me, but you make it seem manageable. And you’re so cute, If you’re down for it, than I can be too. Thank you for sharing your advice with all of us.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 09:50h, 06 October Reply

      So glad you’re up for the challenge, Vonda! You got this! : )

  • Sharon Stewart
    Posted at 00:49h, 28 September Reply

    Everyone who has made comments will be helping someone! Me included!
    It sure is scary when you read all out this gel. I am about to do my last day (Day 3) and it sounds like I am fairly “lucky”. Just a two small patches on forehead. I decided to do one at a time (The first patch is hidden by hair – JUST!) Will tackle the second patch when i see how this goes first!! Call me a coward!!!
    Lets hope we can ALL look back on this with some amusement with repaired glowing skin in a few moonths time!! Keep sharing!

    • Tracey
      Posted at 09:51h, 06 October Reply

      Love your attitude, Sharon! Here’s to happy healthy skin for all of us! : )

  • Lorraine Berends
    Posted at 16:24h, 01 October Reply

    Hi everyone.

    I finished my Picato treatment a week ago and I couldn’t be happier. My experience was a mix of everything I’ve just read, though I think I got off quite lightly in terms of any pain. I applied it primarily to my forehead and nose, and also my temple areas. I started in the early evening on a Thursday and I agree with Lesley that this timing is good to get over the worse of the reaction over the weekend. I definitely got the eye swelling, it looked like I had conjunctivitis, so it could be right that this is related to applying in the evening.

    My pictures are much like Tracey’s, but no weeping blisters. I basically went from having lizard like skin one day to pealing the next.

    The Picato I used was quite thin and very easy to apply, sounds different to the heavy cream that someone described? The cost was $135.

    I am just thrilled with the result, like Tracey my skin is baby soft, still a bit red but not too bad. Everyone says I look amazing which was the last thing I expected. I’ve been using moisturiser since day 4 (Dermatologica) and sunscreen since day 6 (Olay).

    I would highly recommend Picato, far preferable to the countless “zapping” of sunspots that I’ve always had when I visit my dermatologist.

    Good luck to those about to start, Lorraine

    • Tracey
      Posted at 09:54h, 06 October Reply

      Lorraine, it’s always helpful to hear success stories so thank you so much for sharing your experience. I’m so glad you love your skin. That’s the goal!

  • Anne Norton (Australia)
    Posted at 16:12h, 07 October Reply

    Thanks for the Lansinoh tip— it’s been a lifesaver on the 4th day.However it relieves the stinging but not so much the itching. I guess that’s just part of the peeling process. Very reassuring to read all these comments. I also found the Picato easy to apply. Thanks everyone and especially Tracey.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 10:11h, 01 November Reply

      Anne, thank you so much for your comment and sharing your experience with us!

  • Dan
    Posted at 12:52h, 13 October Reply

    Thanks for this blog, Tracey. I just finished my second treatment with Picato and wanted to share some thoughts.
    There are a lot of scary posts about terrible reactions to the drug, akin to exposure to nuclear waste. Know that everyone does not react that way. I’m as fair skinned as it gets. My experience both times was controllable minor-moderate pain and redness of course. Advil alleviated it significantly. Now on the day after treatment I’m still red, tight skinned and starting to peel. Some scabs have formed. Really not bad at all, though not pretty. I get the feeling that some of the really adverse reactions are actually allergic ones.

    After my first treatment a lot of the redness was gone within a couple of weeks, but if you dig deep on the Leo webpage it notes that full recovery takes 8 weeks. I was presentable long before that.

    A couple of further suggestions:

    The first time you are treated with this drug do NOT try to cover large areas of your face. See how it goes. If it’s not so bad then next time do as much as possible. The doctor will probably try to get you to do as much as possible the first time. If you’re one of the people who has a stronger reaction you will not be happy. That’s what I did and I’m glad. That said, do discuss with your doctor. If time is of the essence that’s another matter. As far as medical procedures I’ve had in my life this one rates pretty low on the pain scale. Hope the same for you! -Dan

    • Tracey
      Posted at 10:12h, 01 November Reply

      Dan, your insights are greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  • Susan ANDERSON
    Posted at 07:51h, 18 October Reply

    Hi,Tracey. I started this treatment last night and it was awful. I am sooooo burned and so uncomfortable. Is this really worth it? I cannot imagine putting it on my face again tonight! I also made the mistake of doing both my chest and face…..very stupid. My chest is so burned and swollen. I will not continue both of them tonight. I just texted my derm to see if I can do just 2 days on my face. I am a nurse who works with children and simply cannot take time off to do this process. Gosh darn this Irish skin!!!! LOL~ Susan

    • Tracey
      Posted at 10:14h, 01 November Reply

      Susan, I’m sorry to hear of your suffering. I can relate! Face & chest together…not fun. BUT, I’m sure now you’re so releived that it’s all behind you. If you want to share an update, I’m sure everyone would be happy to hear from you.

  • Kelly Blackwood
    Posted at 08:39h, 28 October Reply

    Hi Tracey, your blog has been a great help, although totally freaked out before applying Picato, and put it off for about a month. However, have just applied the third day treatment to my face, and other than redness, not pain, no itching, and so far no blisters. Am anxious to see what happens now. thank you again, Your sharing really helped me along with the journey

    • Tracey
      Posted at 10:17h, 01 November Reply

      Kelly, I’m sorry to have freaked you out (lol!) but I’m thrilled to know you did it and you didn’t have such a terrible experience. What a relief!

  • ulrike Ischler
    Posted at 02:21h, 29 October Reply

    Hi Tracey, thank you so much for your help with great photos and detailed description. I started yesterday evening with Picato and had a lousy night.I’ll what will come….. kind greetings from Vienna, Ulrike

    • Tracey
      Posted at 10:19h, 01 November Reply

      Ulrike, hang in there! It’s not a pleasant experience at all BUT, at least you’ve gotten the application it behind you. Now, onto the healing! Good luck to you.

  • Lisa
    Posted at 05:53h, 05 November Reply

    Tracey – your blog was so helpful in understanding what the process is. Thank you for sharing. I am on day 4; so all done treating my upper lip. It looks pretty bad. Fortunately I can work from home most days. I’m shocked that my DR did not go into more detail of what the process would be. Very glad to have your posts to help with the situation.

    • Tracey
      Posted at 12:46h, 05 November Reply

      Lisa, so glad to hear the worst is behind you. Hoping your lip heals up quickly. I appreciate you commenting here. : )

  • Lori Theodore
    Posted at 12:40h, 19 November Reply

    I am doing this today and am so petrified!! I am only doing my forehead because I don’t think I can do my whole face in one period. Will I look horrible on Thanksgiving? I can’t wait to wash my face in an hour– its been burning all day but manageable– assuming tomorrow will be worse.

  • Susan B
    Posted at 18:05h, 27 November Reply

    Hi Tracey, thank you for your blog. I wish I would have seen it before I started! I’m on Day 6, and it’s amazing how quickly my face is getting better, even though I had a lot of reactions. Although I started my treatments in the morning, and rinsed in the afternoon, I had eye swelling days 2-5. It didn’t affect my eyesight, it just looked ugly. I had treated along the end of one eyebrow, between my eyebrows, nose, and cheeks. There was quite a bit of swelling, and burning, similar to a bad sunburn. I didn’t have any pus blisters that I could see. The worst part for me was where my glasses sat on my nose, pressing on the swollen area. I’m very nearsighted so going without glasses wasn’t an option. At times I put a little piece of tissue under my glasses but the evening of day 5 when I pulled it off it took some skin with it and I have a few scabs. Day 4 I was uncomfortable but didn’t know what I could or couldn’t put on my skin. I ended up cutting open a couple of Vitamin E capsules and smearing that over the inflamed areas.
    Day 5 was the worst of the itching, I smeared Benadryl gel over my face (hmm, now I’m wondering if it wasn’t dry when I put the tissue under the nosepiece of my glasses, duh). But the Benadryl gel did help a lot with the itching. Today, day 6, there is a lot of flaking and only a little itching, Yes, the treatment was uncomfortable, and somewhat painful at times. But really, it was about the same as a severe sunburn. I’d do the treatment again, rather than do the liquid nitrogen. Only this time I’ll have that fan ready!

  • Michelle Lynn
    Posted at 19:05h, 28 November Reply

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m on day 2 of treating my chest…. It’s so uncomfortable to sleep. I’m normally a side sleeper but that’s impossible. I have to prop myself up with pillows to feel comfortable and help me to not roll. I made that mistake once! The first day my chest was just super red and began to blister. Today, day 2 I have a very large blister that is probably 1.5 inches in diameter and other smaller blisters that are seeping. It’s disgusting. I previously had Levulan photo therapy and the side effects are very similar so I had an idea of what I was in for…. but I need to treat my forehead, cheeks and upper lip… dreading it. There’s no convenient time to ever do this. What I wasn’t expecting was how small the tube was…. there’s no way that one tube would fully cover the chest area… I would say that I honestly need about 4 tubes to fully cover the area that I was hoping to treat… so, for now I just chose the small 2×2 area that looked the worst to me… but sort of bummed that I can’t treat the whole area and just knock it out.

  • Sandy Blanchard
    Posted at 09:56h, 01 December Reply

    Tracey, thanks for your post. I kept the picato in the refrigerator for a year and finally got the nerve to do it over my Thanksgiving break. I was searching for ways to minimize the pain, etc. and your blog really helped me out. I am so glad I did it. My skin feels and looks great now. Had my dermatologist shared this type of information with me, I probably wouldn’t have waited a year. Thanks again!

Post A Comment