before i decide on fraxel laser treatment i want to know what recover will REALLY be like...
What is Fraxel Recovery Like?
Doctor Answers (6)
Fraxel Recovery Time
When considering Fraxel recovery time, it depends on the type of Fraxel. There is Fraxel Re:store (or now Dual) and Fraxel Repair. The "original" Fraxel laser (Fraxel Re:store) causes less superficial ablation of the skin, but can achieve deeper collagen effects. This is the Fraxel that requires 4-5 treatments spaced approximately 1 month apart to achieve optimal results. It can be performed under topical anesthesia. With this Fraxel, you will experience swelling and redness that is most severe during the first 24 hours, and dandruff like peeling for up to 1 week. For the most part, "social" downtime is just a few days. For patients who work Mon-Fri, we do our Fraxel Re:store treatments on Fridays. By Monday our patients are able to go back to work.
Fraxel Repair was developed later as a fractional alternative to full CO2 Ablative Resurfacing, which was associated with much longer recovery times. Still, the Fraxel Repair recovery time is usually 1-2 weeks, requires more sedation, but often only requires 1 treatment to achieve significant results.
Follow post treatment skin care guidelines for fastest recovery
In the initial few days, there will be swelling and redness, such as occurs after a sunburn. There should not be any substantial pain or tenderness, however. Down time should be no more than a few days with the exception of redness. To ensure quick recovery, follow post treatment skin care guidelines.
For most patients, the treatment with the Fraxel requires no more than one to two days of downtime and, for many patients, no downtime. This is slightly variable in my experience, so as a precaution I would allow for one day of recuperation if possible. Once your get the procedure done, there is a slight redness of the skin and swelling of the skin for many patients. Also, for the initial 4 to 6 hours you might feel a stinging or tingling of the skin very similar to a sunburn.
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What to expect after Fraxel treatment
After treatment with the Fraxel re:store, which is a non-ablative laser (doesn't destroy the tissue) you will be red and swollen like a sunburn for 2-3 days. But there should not be any pain or tenderness. You will apply a moisturizing cream and may want to use cold packs for the swelling. Antihistamines like Claritin or Zyrtec can also be helpful in managing the swelling. Then you may have some skin peeling that could last for several additional days. Not everyone has skin peeling, and you will continue to apply moisturizing creams as directed by your physician. Overall it really isn't too bad-- you will only want to stay home during the first two or three days, when you are swollen. After that you may go out and resume normal activities, but continue to moisturize your skin, protect it from the sun and follow your doctor's instructions.
Pearl Fraxel treatment
With any ablative laser swelling is a wanted response. The more aggressive the treatment more downtime with swelling and redness. Post fraxel treatment involves discomfort such as a bad sunburn. The treatment on a low intensity is still prone to have some swelling 2-3 days. Proper post op care is always a must in assuring a speedy recovery.
Painless after Fraxel, swelling lasts under 5 days
Universally, nobody complains of pain after the procedure. Swelling is the worst on the second day after the procedure and gets better by day 5 or so. Seeing streaking is common and will go away. Redness lasts up to 3 months, but usually about 3 or 4 weeks.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.