Fraxel™ Laser Treatment
For years, patients have desired a breakthrough aesthetic approach with many of the benefits of ablative laser skin resurfacing (performed with a CO2 laser), but without the downtime, side effects and lengthy recovery period. The solution: Fraxel™ Laser Treatment.
Fraxel Laser Treatment produces thousands of tiny but deep columns of treatment in your skin, known as MicroThermal Zones. This treatment eliminates old epidermal pigmented cells. It also penetrates deeply into the dermis. Just as important, though, are the areas of skin the Fraxel laser leaves untouched. The Fraxel laser is so precise that it penetrates the non-living, protective barrier of the skin, called the stratum corneum, as if it were a window and leaves it completely intact. For every microthermal 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 tissue to replace skin imperfections.
Patient’s Guide to Treatment
Before starting treatment, you and your doctor will discuss which area(s) of your skin is appropriate for treatment, what kind of results you can expect, what to look for after treatment, and how often treatment will be scheduled. Because Fraxel™ Laser Treatment spares healthy tissue, it is effective even on delicate skin areas, such as the neck, chest and hands.
Clinical studies suggest that an effective treatment regime is three to five sessions, spaced about four to seven days apart. However, treatment plans can be very flexible and effective, even spaced by weeks or months if that best meets the patient’s needs. By design, each treatment session targets between 12-20% of the skin’s surface, depending on the clinical parameters selected. Results are immediate and progressive. Optimal improvement is usually visible in about two to three months.
If you are having a significant area of your skin treated, your doctor will develop a pain management approach to maximize your comfort during the procedure.
Preparing for Treatment
Fraxel Laser Treatment can be performed right in your doctor’s office using only topical anesthesia in most cases. The treatment area will be thoroughly washed prior to the procedure. OptiGuide Blue, a FDA certified water-soluble tint, is applied to the treatment area to highlight the contours of the skin. This tint is washed off after treatment.
What Happens After Treatment
You will experience a mild sunburn sensation for about an hour and then virtually no discomfort. The skin will have a pinkish tone for five to seven days. This is a normal sign that the skin is healing deeply, that dermal tissue is being repaired, and there is good blood circulation. Swelling is minimal and generally resolves in two to three days.
You may apply make-up or shave soon after treatment.
Typically patients find they can go back to work soon after treatment or the next day.
What Happens After Treatment
New epidermal skin develops immediately, within 24 hours. This process of skin repair involves:
Bronzing: Your skin will have a bronze appearance that lasts anywhere from three to 14 days, depending on the treatment level.
Flaking: Your skin will naturally and vigorously exfoliate as the reorganized epidermal skin replaces dead tissue. Flaking is similar to that of minor sunburn, but without the associated pain. Use of a moisturizer will mask the appearance of flaking.
Sunscreen: Be sure to use sunscreen at least twice daily to protect your skin from sun exposure during both the healing phase and for several months after treatment. Apply a moisturizing sun block with an SPF of at least 30-plus. For added protection, use wide-brimmed hats when in direct sunlight.
Over the following weeks and months, the body repairs the deeper dermal tissues that have been affected by the Fraxel treatment, producing longer beneficial changes associated with a healthy, youthful appearance.