What is Fraxel?
Fraxel is the brand name for the gold standard treatment in the category of non-ablative fractional lasers. Fraxel is non-invasive and uses laser beams to penetrate the skin and encourage new collagen growth underneath the skin, while also improving more superficial skin tone issues.
Unlike other more aggressive laser treatments of the past, Fraxel targets and encourages resurfacing of only a fraction of the skin's surface each treatment. This fractional technique, which was revolutionary when first introduced, allows for decreased pain and recovery time while producing incremental but excellent results.
The Fraxel Restore is specifically designed to smooth the skin texture by tightening fine lines and wrinkles, as well as stimulating underlying collagen production. Because of its ability to penetrate through multiple layers of thicker and scarred tissue, this particular wavelength of laser also is particularly good for improvement of scars, and is considered to be the gold standard for treatment of acne scars.
Due to the intensity of this type of laser treatment compared to more superficial lasers, we apply a strong topical anesthetic or numbing cream to the skin area to be treated for 45-60 minutes before starting the actual procedure. For a full face treatment, the actual time you will be feeling the laser is about 15-20 minutes.
The numbing cream does a very good job, but you will still feel a stinging sensation during the process. You will also feel a buildup of heat within the skin from the laser, but this heat increase is controlled very well with a cold air blower that we use throughout the treatment.
Immediately following the treatment, we apply a cold compress. We also give each patient an ice facemask for home use.
In the immediate aftermath of a Fraxel treatment, you will be red and swollen. This effect is at its worst on the morning following the treatment.
The redness and swelling usually lasts for the first 2-3 days. Regular applications of cold compresses helps reduce both symptoms greatly.
Once the redness subsides, the skin will feel rough, sandpapery, and even flaky as many of the old damaged skin cells start to exfoliate. This feeling is an expected and well-known part of the process, as new skin forms below these old cells.
We encourage everyone to NOT pick at or scrub these flaking spots. As tempting as it is, resisting this urge will prevent scarring.
After each Fraxel treatment, you will notice improved texture and smoothness as the skin tightens and plumps. Previous scars will become less deep and more in line with the normal surface of the skin.
Most women will notice that makeup goes on more smoothly. It will be easier to cover up imperfections.
During the pandemic, we here at Maine Laser Skin care have definitely seen an uptick in people requesting Fraxel as an option for extensive sun damaged areas, and especially for scarring on the face from old acne, traumatic, or post-surgical scars. Many of our patients know that working from home and wearing masks makes it easier to handle the downtime redness and swelling.
If you think you might be a candidate for Fraxel or our other laser and aesthetic services, call us for a free consultation either in Scarborough at (207) 303-0125 or in Augusta at (207) 873-2158. Consultations are always free, individualized and confidential. As always, our mission remains to "Beautify Maine One Face (And Body) At A Time."