What is Fraxel Laser?
Fraxel Laser is a non-surgical laser that helps with sun damage, pigmentation, and surface scars, creating healthier, smoother skin. It can also help reduce pre-cancerous spots called actinic keratosis a skin condition associated with excessive sun exposure. The device we have is called Fraxel Dual and treats two different layers of the skin. Pigmentation caused from sun damage is in the upper layers of skin and treated with “Thulium” or a wavelength referred to as 1927. A second wavelength, 1550 penetrates deeper into the dermis for collagen production. Unlike ablative laser like Co2 laser resurfacing, Fraxel does not remove skin tissue making this an attractive option for patients to recover over a long weekend.
How Does It Work?
Fraxel works by producing tiny columns in the skin called microthermal treatment zones or a micro injury in a grid pattern. The surrounding skin is left intact promoting rapid healing. With Fraxel type lasers only 25 to 40 percent of the skin is treated each so you may need to have multiple treatments for optimal results. Once finished you look like you’ve had a sunburn, while underneath new healthy skin cells replace damaged skin cells.
What Does Fraxel Laser Treat?
- Fine lines and wrinkles especially around the eyes and mouth
- Uneven pigmentation
- Brown spots, age spots
- Sun damage / Photodamage
- Acne scarring and other scars
- Pigmentation/Actinic Keratosis of the scalp
Sun damaged skin will often notice a significant difference in the level of visible pigmentation after a single treatment, while creating smoother looking skin in about a week. Treating wrinkles or scars take more time because your collagen remodel’s itself gradually over a period of weeks. For patients with deeper wrinkles or scarring ablative laser like TotalFX may be a better choice. Make sure to ask during your consultation what type of laser is best for your concerns.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
After a single treatment your skin will look younger and more even toned, reducing hyperpigmentation creating a smooth appearance. Patients are often happy with one treatment, especially if the main concern is pigmentation. You will still only have a percentage of your skin’s surface area treated, so for the best outcomes we recommend 3 treatments for most patients. If you need more, that will be explained during your consultation. Treatments are spaced 3-4 weeks apart.
What to Expect During Your Treatment
Fraxel Laser requires a topical numbing agent for comfort applied one hour prior to the procedure. Once your skin is prepped, your medical practitioner will review the treatment, so you know what to expect before beginning. Eye shields are applied, and the treatment will begin. During the laser treatment, several passes are made across the skin, applying the laser energy in an even pattern. The treatment of the face lasts 40 minutes to one hour. This treatment is not only used on the face but applied to the neck, chest and extremities. For men the scalp is a popular treatment area and common area for actinic keratosis.
After Your Treatment Fraxel Laser
Post treatment you can expect to look pink or like you have a sunburn. For patients that have Thulium only for sun damage, pigmentation will get darker for a few days then begin to flake or peel off. If you have Fraxel Dual then expect some swelling in addition to darkening of pigmentation. It’s important to note that every patient responds differently, some swell more, some less. The same with pigmentation. You will be instructed to keep your skin hydrated during the healing phase and wear an SPF of 30 or higher. The process takes 5 to 7 days to complete. You can wear make-up if necessary, to help with any redness.
What are the Benefits?
Fraxel does an excellent job reducing pigmentation while creating overall healthier looking skin. You can expect to see:
- Smoother, younger looking skin
- Improved tone and texture
- Reduced wrinkles around the eyes and mouth
- Improved appearance of acne scars and surgical scars
Taking the Next Steps
You will want to start with consultation to help determine the best treatment for you. Evaluation of your skin and understanding your goals are important in treatment selection. During your consultation either Dr. Michalak or one of our advanced medical practitioners will evaluate your skin and determine if Fraxel is right for you. Leslie Carney, Licensed Master Aesthetician offers Fraxel Facial and Fortified Fraxel for patients that don’t need a full Fraxel treatment. These are lower energy settings but enhanced with Dr. Michalak’s own proprietary formula of topicals that further increase efficacy. All of our providers are highly trained and supervised by Dr. Michalak. Treatments performed are safe while maximizing patient results.