The Fraxel Laser
Think of your skin as a family portrait or digital photograph in need of high-quality restoration or touch up.
Just as a damaged painting is delicately restored one small area at a time, or a photographic image is altered, pixel by pixel, Fraxel® Laser Treatment improves your appearance by affecting only a fraction of your skin at a time with thousands of tiny microscopic laser spots.
How Fraxel treatment works wonders
The technology behind Fraxel treatment is as revolutionary as the results it can deliver. Unlike other laser treatments, Fraxel treatment is able to precisely treat thousands of microscopic areas of skin, using pinpoint laser beams that penetrate beneath the skin’s surface to eliminate old, damaged skin cells. Fraxel treatment stimulates the body’s own natural healing process which replaces damaged skin with fresh, glowing, healthy skin. Simply put, Fraxel treatment promotes your skin’s own healing process, resulting in natural rejuvenation that removes years from your appearance. It is a safe non-invasive treatment, effective for all skin types.
Fraxel Laser Treatment produces thousands of tiny but deep columns of treatment in your skin, known as microscopic treatment zones. This treatment eliminates old epidermal pigmented cells. It also penetrates deep into the dermis. Just as important, though, are the areas of skin the Fraxel laser leaves untouched. For every microscopic zone the laser targets and treats intensively, it leaves the surrounding tissue unaffected and intact. This “fractional” treatment allows the skin to heal much faster than if the entire area were treated at once, using the body’s natural healing process to create new, healthy, tighter tissue to replace skin imperfections.
At your initial consultation, your physician will determine the best treatment plan for your desired results. Clinical studies suggest that on average, an effective treatment regimen is 3 to 5 sessions, spaced about 2 to 4 weeks apart. Depending upon your condition and schedule, you and your clinician may choose to space treatment sessions even further apart. Results are immediate and progressive. Optimal improvement is usually visible in about 2 to 3 months. Because Fraxel Laser Treatment spares healthy tissue, it is effective even on delicate skin areas, such as the neck, chest and hands.
What to expect the Day of Your Treatment
- On the day of your Fraxel treatment, you will need to arrive 1 ½ hours prior to yor appointment. If desired, please take an extra strength Tylenol, or one Aleve or Motrin 1-2 hours before your treatment.
- Please arrive with a freshly washed face without any makeup. You may have applied a mild moisturizer if needed.
- Pretreatment photos will be taken to help monitor your progress.
- A topical anesthetic will be applied to the treatment site. You may wish to bring some reading material or an iPod while you wait in our treatment waiting room.
- For facial treatments, you will be asked to change into a treatment gown to avoid getting anesthetic on your clothing.
- Your actual procedure will vary depending on the area treated. If you are having the skin around the eyes treated, you should remove your contacts. Goggles or eye pads will be placed over your eyes.
- After facial treatments, a soothing antioxidant mask will be applied for up to 30 minutes.
- Typically, after treatment, the area will look and feel like a sunburn. You may apply an ice pack for comfort. You will receive a cooling face mask if you have the entire facial area treated.
- You should be fine to drive yourself home. However, if you have any concerns about this, or if you have taken any mind altering medications, please plan accordingly.
- Follow all post operative instructions carefully and call our office at 248-362-3500 with any questions or concerns.
Thank you for choosing our office for your Fraxel treatments.
What to Expect After Your Treatment
Fraxel® Laser Treatment produces side-effects. The intensity and duration of your side effects depends on how aggressive your treatment is and your individual healing characteristics. Generally, patients who are treated more aggressively experience more intense side-effects that lost longer. However, some patients have greater than “expected” reactions to less aggressive treatments and others have fewer side-effects to aggressive treatments than would ordinarily be expected. Notify your physician if the severity of your side-effect becomes a problem for you.
- Swelling. You will notice most of the swelling on the first morning after treatment, particularly under the eyes. Swelling usually lasts two to three days. To minimize swelling do the following:
- Apply cold compresses to the treatment area for 10 minutes of every hour on the day of treatment, until you go to bed.
- Sleep elevated the first night. Use as many pillows as you can tolerate.
- Redness. Most redness resolves during the first week after treatment, but a rosy “glow” can remain for several weeks. If you wish, you can apply makeup immediately after treatment to minimize the redness.
- Dry Skin. Your skin may feel dry, peel or flake. You may notice a “sandpaper” texture a few days after treatment. This is the treated tissue working its way out of your body as new, fresh skin is regenerated. Apply your TNS Ceramide Cream frequently throughout the day.
- Bronzing, Crusting and Small Dark Dots. Fraxel Laser Treatment causes destruction to microscopic cylinders of skin which then exfoliate during the healing process. In individuals with heavily pigmented skin, or in areas where sun damage has produced pigmented lesions, these microscopic wounds, known as MENDs, contain large amounts of melanin. Because there are so many MENDs, they can make the skin look bronzed., or small areas may appear crusted. (PLEASE do not try to scratch them off). When high energies are used to produce deep and wide lesions, the MENDs can sometimes be seen as individual dark dots. On the face, the MENDs will shed within 7-10 days. Off the face, it may take as long as 3 weeks for the MENDs to shed.
- Raw Skin. If you develop areas of raw skin post treatment, keep them moist with something like Aquaphor®, Ceratopic and TNS. You do not need to apply band-aids, but keep the areas moist and do not pick at them. They will heal very rapidly on their own.
- Acne. Any acne lesions below the skin may surface after your fraxel treatment. In most cases these will be transient. If they are of concern, please contact us.
How to Care for Your Skin After Treatment
Congratulations! You have taken the first step toward more healthy and radiant looking skin by having a Fraxel restore™ laser treatment. Now it is important to help your skin heal quickly and protect your skin investment.
• Skin Care Products. All of your skin care products should be non-irritating and non-clogging for the first week or so after Fraxel Laser Treatment. Examples of brands that offer gentle and inexpensive products that are ideal to use: Aveeno®, Dove®, Neutrogena®, Cetaphil®, Cerave®, etc.
• Sunscreen. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, proper and frequent application of sunscreen is very important. The sunscreen should offer broadband protection (UVA and UVB) and have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. You should apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside. After that, reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours. If direct sun exposure is necessary, wear a hat and clothing that covers the treated area. Use this regimen during the healing period and always. You will probably find that you use about 1 bottle of sunscreen per month, rather than the 1 bottler per year that most people use.
• Moisturizer. Remember that peeling and/or flaking is normal during the healing process. Therefore, the product should be non-irritating and non-clogging, else you could develop breakouts. During the healing period your normal moisturizer may be too occlusive, so consider products from the brands listed above. Instead of using 2 separate products, use moisturizers that contain SPF 30+. Reapply whenever your skin feels dry.
• Scrubs, Toners, Glycolic Acid, and Retin A. Your skin will be sensitive for the first week or so after treatment, so do not use products that will cause irritation during this time. Do not use abrasive scrubs, toners, or products that contain glycolic acids or Retin A. Read the product labels.
• Bleaching Creams. Discontinue use of your bleaching cream while your skin is tender. Restart your bleaching cream on the date specified by your doctor
• Resume your normal skin care regimen when your skin has fully healed.
• Cold Sores. If you have a history of cold sores, ask your doctor about care!
Items to Consider Before Fraxel Treatments
TWELVE MONTHS BEFORE TREATMENT:
• Stop use of Accutane
TWO WEEKS BEFORE TREATMENT:
• Stop use of all Retinols: Retin A, Tazorac, “anti-aging” products.
• Stop use of all glycolic acid treatments
• Stop use of all salicylic acid products
• Stop excessive sun exposure
• Stop waxing
• Stop abrasive scrubs
• Stop microdermabrasion treatments
• Talk to your doctor if you have ever had a cold sore.
OTHER PRE-TREATMENT SUGGESTIONS:
• Are you pregnant or breast feeding? If so, you are not a candidate at this time.
• Stay Hydrated! Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your treatment can greatly increase the healing period.
• Tendency to hyperpigment? Talk to your doctor about starting a bleaching regimen four to six weeks before your treatment series.
• Be prepared! Two to three weeks pre and post treatment it is a good idea to avoid excessive sun exposure.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of Fraxel treatment?
- Smoother, fresher looking skin
- Improved tone and texture
- Reduced wrinkles around the eyes
- Improved appearance of acne scars and surgical scars
Has Fraxel treatment received FDA-clearance?
The Fraxel laser has received FDA-clearance for treatment of the following:
- Wrinkles Around the Eye (periorbital wrinkles)
- Age and Sun Spots (pigmented lesions)
- Brown Spots/Pregnancy Mask (Melasma)
- Acne Scars and Surgical Scars
- Skin Resurfacing
How many treatments will I need and how will they be spaced?
Everyone’s skin is different, but clinical studies suggest that for most people, maximum results are realized in just 3 to 5 sessions. They are usually spaced 2 to 6 weeks apart.
Does Fraxel treatment hurt?
Topical anesthesia is applied before the procedure and cold air is used on the treatment area during the procedure to minimize discomfort. After the treatment, most patients report a feeling similar to having gotten too much sun. It usually disappears after 1 to 3 hours.
What side-effects can I expect after treatment and how long will they last?
You will have some degree of redness and swelling. The intensity and duration depends on how aggressive the treatment was and your particular healing characteristics. Other temporary side-effects may include minor itching, dry skin, peeling or flaking, and a bronzed skin appearance. You will be given specific instructions about what to expect for your particular treatment and how to minimize the side-effects.
What precautions should I take after treatment?
Wear sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and avoid direct sun exposure while you’re healing for at least 3 months after your last treatment. Further protect yourself by wearing wide-brimmed hats if you expect to be out in the sun.
How long do the effects of Fraxel treatment last?
It depends on your particular condition and how you care for your skin. Once your skin is restored, continue to protect it as described above. For conditions, such as melasma, it is very important to avoid direct sun exposure. Your physician will give you specific advice based on your individual needs.
Find out how Fraxel treatment can help you look as good as you feel. Fraxel treatment can work wonders, but the first step is up to you. Life’s too short…look as good as you feel. You can find out more about the Fraxel laser at our upcoming open house. We will announce the open house date on our website.