Using a unique fractional laser skin resurfacing technology, this non-surgical treatment helps rejuvenate age and sun-damaged skin. Results can be impressive—and often with little or no downtime.
How Does It Work?
As you age (and are repeatedly exposed to the sun), the collagen and elastin proteins in your skin break down. Your skin then begins to sag and wrinkle. Other imperfections also gradually appear, including “age” spots and other discolorations.
Fraxel’s specially designed laser treats damaged skin with thousands of microscopic laser columns, each no bigger than one-tenth the diameter of a hair follicle. These tiny wounds trigger a healing process in which the skin tissue remodels new collagen and elastin. The surrounding skin, however, is left unharmed — which means the skin requires much less time to heal.
What Does It Treat?
Fraxel lasers come in three different strengths, and thus offer three different levels of treatment for varying kinds of skin conditions—and not just on the face. Fraxel can treat skin on the neck, chest and, hands, too.
Fraxel re:fine is used to treat fine lines around the eyes, “age” (or “sun”) spots, irregular pigmentations, and uneven skin tones. Fraxel re:store, which is a slightly stronger treatment, is used for somewhat deeper wrinkles, as well as for acne and other scars, melasma (skin discolorations), and actinic keratosis (scaly or crusty non-cancerous bumps on the skin).
Fraxel re:pair, the most aggressive of the three Fraxel treatments, is used to treat all of these conditions, but on skin that age and the sun have left more severely damaged.
What Is the Procedure Like?
You’ll be given a topical anesthetic to numb your skin. After that has taken effect (a wait of 60 minutes or so), the treatment itself begins. The laser part of the procedure generally lasts less than half an hour, even when the entire face is treated.
You’ll feel a sensation of heat during the procedure, but the Fraxel device has a cooling element that will ensure you remain comfortable throughout the process.
What Can I Expect After Treatment?
You’ll have what looks like a sunburn (redness and minor swelling) for a few hours afterward—longer, if you had the more aggressive Fraxel re:pair procedure. Other possible but rare side effects including infection, a delay in the healing process, and unwanted changes in skin pigment. Be sure to call your physician if you experience any side effects that concern you.
With Fraxel re:fine, you can return to your normal activities immediately. With Fraxel re:store, you may want to wait a day or two. Because it involves more substantial repairing of the skin, Fraxel re:pair generally requires a healing time of about a week. After all three types of Fraxel treatments, you’ll be asked to apply sunscreen daily. With Fraxel re:pair, you’ll also be advised to avoid direct sun for about three months.
When Can I Expect Results—and How Long Will They Last?
You’ll notice some immediate results. But much of the improvement—smoother, more vibrant, more youthful-looking skin—will develop gradually over many days as new collagen and elastin form within the treated areas.
How long the results last will depend on your personal factors, such as your age and your skin type—and whether you take good sun-protection steps. For most people, however, Fraxel’s results can be seen for many years.
For best—and safest—results, be sure to seek care from a physician who has considerable experience treating patients with the specialized Fraxel technology.