Ablative laser skin resurfacing which removes the upper layer of skin to reveal the less damaged skin underneath produces dramatic results but involves a high degree of downtime and can be a very painful experience. Fractional laser skin resurfacing works by only targeting certain zones of the skin (tiny dot-like treated areas) and leaving the skin around these dots intact. This allows the body to heal quicker which it does by producing collagen and elastin that we start to lose as we age.
Laser skin resurfacing with Fraxel can treat a wide range of skin conditions from typical ageing concerns such as wrinkles, fine lines and age spots/sun damage through to more targeted problems such as melasma, uneven pigmentation, acne scarring and scar revision. Generally, it will create smoother and younger-looking skin, with improved tone, texture and pore size.
The range of treatments vary in aggressiveness and therefore associated downtime. Fraxel re:pair is the most aggressive but can produce a dramatic improvement in a single treatment, this would be the required treatment for acne scarring. Less aggressive treatments such as Fraxel re:store or Fraxel re:fine have minimal downtime and are delivered over the course of three to six treatments and are aimed at mild to moderately damaged skin.
Fraxel: Am I suitable?
Laser skin resurfacing treatments with Fraxel are suitable for younger men and women who are just starting to see fine lines to older patients with a combination of deeper folds and sagging skin. If you suffer from acne scarring Fraxel can help substantially. Other laser treatments target melanin or pigment in the skin so have been less suitable for darker skin tones. However, Fraxel targets water in the skin, so is safe and effective for all skin tones. Your practitioner will determine which is the best Fraxel treatment for you.
Fraxel: What’s the treatment like?
The area of your skin to be treated is thoroughly cleansed and a topical anaesthetic cream is applied. When the anaesthetic cream has taken effect, the treatment itself takes just 20 to 25 minutes for a full face. The laser treatment head is passed over the treatment area until the skin goes slightly red.
Fraxel: What about after?
After the procedure, depending on the aggressiveness of your Fraxel treatment, you will have some degree of redness, swelling or a sunburn sensation, which are signs that your body's natural healing process is building new skin from the inside out. You should be able to return to normal activities within a few days at most.
To protect your skin after treatment, wear sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, avoid direct sun exposure for at least three months, and wear a wide-brimmed hat when you're in the sun.
Fraxel: Are there any risks or side effects?
Potential side effects are rare but include prolonged redness, swelling, blistering, scarring, infection, pigmentary changes (hyperpigmentation), herpes reactivation and acne flare-up.