What is Fraxel Laser Treatment ?
Fraxel® Laser Treatment is a “fractional” treatment that produces thousands of deep, tiny columns in your skin, called microscopic treatment zones (mtz). The term “fractional” means that only a percentage of the skin surface is affected with each pass of the laser. Fraxel intensively treats only some of the epidermal cells without affecting all of them. This method of fractionally treating the skin reduces healing time and promotes the skin’s natural process for creating new, healthier tissue to replace the damaged cells.
The Fraxel laser has been approved by the FDA to treat multiple skin conditions anywhere on the face or body, including
- age/sun spots
- actinic keratosis
- acne scarring on the face, shoulders or back
- melasma (the mask of pregnancy)
- eye wrinkles (crow’s feet)
It’s safe, easy and delivers results. Fraxel was featured as one of the Top Beauty Breakthroughs of 2005
Acne Scar Video
How is Fraxel laser different from other laser treatments?
Before Fraxel laser treatment, there were two types of available laser treatments. Fully ablative laser treatment involves vaporization of entire layers of skin cells at a very high temperature. This treatment is very effective but requires a healing period. The Fraxel re:store laser is almost a hybrid but does not remove skin. Instead the laser beams create tiny columns of intense heat which cause the skin to go into repair mode, improving texture, color and creating a collagen building response.
Fraxel treatments strive to offer a measure of the effectiveness of ablative lasers with the benefits of the gentler, non-ablative lasers.
What are the Benefits of Fraxel Laser Treatments?
Fraxel has many of the positive impacts of ablative lasers but the gentler benefits of the non-ablative treatments. Healing time is significantly accelerated so there is minimal to no downtime. Because the Fraxel Laser leaves the skin intact, make-up can be worn immediately following the procedure, though most patients let their rest for a day or two following treatment.
Some patients are able to return to routine activities, including work and social obligations, the same day of treatment. You may require a little more time, depending upon your skin condition and treatment. Treatments for acne scarring are generally more aggressive and may mean two to three days of time off for swelling or redness. Dr. Sikorski will help you understand how Fraxel Laser Treatment will fit into your schedule.
What are the risks of Fraxel Laser Treatments?
Swelling and redness are the most common side effects from treatment. If swelling does occur, it is minimal and will subside within a day or two. Redness may occur and will fade within a few days. There is a very limited risk of infection or scarring.
The Fraxel Procedure
Preparation and Procedure
First, a white anesthetic cream is applied to your entire face, chest, arms or the area to be treated, to numb your skin. This anesthetic ointment is left on for approximately 60 minutes prior to treatment in order for the anesthetic to take full effect.
Then Dr. Sikorski glides the laser over your skin multiple times. A chilled air system blows very cold air on your skin to help make the treatment more comfortable. The procedure takes between 20 to 25 minutes for a full face. The anesthetic ointment is washed off immediately after the treatment.
How Fraxel’s Fractional Technology Works
Fraxel Laser Treatment produces thousands of tiny but deep columns of treatment in your skin, known as MicroThermal Zones. This treatment eliminates about 20% of the old epidermal cells during each session. 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, yet 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.
Although the surface cells are replaced almost immediately, the deeper tissues continue a healing process which includes the building of new collagen. Final results are apparent after 2 to 3 months.
How many treatments will I need?
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 may choose to space treatment sessions even further apart. Results are both immediate and progressive.
For patients who prefer to have a single treatment and a flexible enough schedule for about a week of downtime, the MiXto CO2 laser is an alternative option. For those with a desire for full performance laser, Dr. Sikorski offers surgical laser treatment with the Sciton fully ablative laser.
Is Fraxel Laser Treatment painful?
Most patients describe the treatment as having an intense “prickling” sensation. The topical anesthetic ointment and air cooling alleviates a great part of the discomfort. Fraxel is not painless, so do expect some minimal level of heat discomfort.
What should I expect after Fraxel Laser Treatment?
During the first 24 hours after treatment, your skin may feel as though it is sunburned, and it will appear pink or red. Make-up can be worn to reduce the sunburned appearance. Your skin will naturally bronze over the next week or two. As you continue treatment, the sunburned to bronze conditions will repeat. Just like a natural sunburn, your skin will flake and exfoliate normally. Using a moisturizer will help reduce the appearance of dry flakes.
What precautions should I take after treatment?
Wearing sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher twice a day is especially important. Avoid direct sun exposure during the healing process and for at least 3 months after treatment. Wearing wide brimmed hats is highly recommended when out in the elements.
What’s the best way to take of my skin after Fraxel treatments?
The Fraxel Skin Ecology System is a unique line of skincare products designed specifically to enhance and extend the benefits of Fraxel treatment. Made with natural healing ingredients, this comprehensive regimen moisturizes, soothes and protects your skin – immediately following the procedure and long after. This is available exclusively from Fraxel physicians.
Related and Alternative Treatments
- Cosmelan for melasma and hyperpigmentation
- Chemical Peels for exfoliation, skin discoloration and light wrinkling
- Omnilux Revive for skin rejuvenation
- Photo Dynamic Therapy for rough actinic keratoses
- MiXto Laser for sundamage, wrinkling and tightening
- Sciton Laser for full skin resurfacing
Starting Point To Learn What’s Right For You
Your consultation assessment is with Dr. Sikorski. Fees and procedure preparations are discussed with our patient coordinator, who will detail the surgical experience with you. We look forward to meeting with you and helping you find the simplest solution to achieve the goals you desire.