It seems like Fraxel and ActiveFX are both supposed to treat the same problems, but which one is better?
Active FX Vs. Fraxel Laser Treatments - Which is Better?
Doctor Answers (11)
Active FX vs. Fraxel - it is more complicated
Excellent answers from other doctors. I'll just add a couple of little clarifications that many of our patients ask for.
1. There are currently two types of Fraxel lasers, two totally different machines: Restore is Erbium-based, and Repair is CO2-based.
They offer different treatments. Restore is the one that needs several (usually 5) treatments, and Repair is more powerful, usually one treatment with more downtime.
2. Active FX and Deep FX are different heads (attachments)for one laser (Lumenis Ultrapulse Encore). It is a CO2 laser.
We, as most doctors, utilize both heads for almost every patient. Deep FX head is better for treating wrinkles, scars, acne scars and similar "deeper" lesions. Active FX head is better for dyschromias (pigment, sun damage) and similar superficial lesions. We also use it for removing pre-cancerous lesions and sometimes skin cancer.
Fraxel Re:store or Fraxel Re:pair versus Active FX
Fraxel re:store involves a series of 3 to 5 treatments while Active Fx involves a single, sometimes a second treatment. They both give good results. Active FX is a very superficial treatment for sun damaged skin.
Fraxel re:pair in a single treatment gives much better results than Active FX. To get results similar to Fraxel re:pair, a Deep FX treatment needs to be added to the Active FX treatment. Be well.
Fraxel and Active Fx are both outstanding lasers for resurfacing.
I love both the Fraxel and Active Fx. The Active Fx and Deep Fx are my CO2 fractional lasers for deep lines wrinkles and severe sundamage. Fraxel does make a CO2 laser (Fraxel Repair) however I use the Fraxel Restore. The Fraxel Restore is an Erbium based laser and is designed to treat lines, wrinkles and scars with multiple treatments with less recovery time. It is the perfect "weekend" procedure. I can offer my patients the pros and cons of each procedure and tailor a treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and lifestyle. I would not give up either laser.
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Fractional CO2 Lasers work the best (Active FX and Fraxel re:pair)
First and foremost, you must know what “type” of Fraxel laser would be used for your treatment. There are two types of Fraxel lasers: Fraxel re:pair (a fractional CO2 laser) and Fraxel re:store (an Erbium laser, which is non ablative and is less powerful). Generally, CO2 lasers are considered more effective, so I would highly suggest using a Fraxel re:pair laser OR Active FX instead of a Fraxel re:store laser, if possible. Recovery time with either of those CO2 lasers will be longer than with a Fraxel re:store treatment, but that is because laser treatment with a CO2 laser is more powerful, and as a result, is more effective. Fraxel re:store is NOT a CO2 laser.
It is also very important to also take into consideration how much power the laser generates (meaning the energy that is delivered). A high powered laser works better, since it is more controlled and typically causes less pain and trauma to the tissue. A good power is around 240 quats of energy. Active FX laser has that much power.
While both Fraxel and ActiveFX laser technologies...
While both Fraxel and ActiveFX laser technologies function in a similar manner, they are two distinctively different lasers. Fraxel technology delivers fractionated Erbium laser energy while ActiveFX utlizes fractionated energy from a carbon dioxide laser. Even though the two are similar, the increased heat provided by the ActiveFX appears to result in more effective skin tightening and, overall, better results.
Skin tightening only with CO2 Laser
The most important difference between the Fraxel and the CO2 Fractional laser is that there is skin tightening only with the CO2 laser. The fractional CO2 allows treatment with minimizing the two side effects which were a problem with the ultrapulse CO2 hypopigmentaion and scarring. The fractional CO2 is usually only one treatment instead of a series as well.
Fraxel Vs. Active FX
The "original" fraxel was an erbium-based laser, and gave results no where near the Ultrapulse (Active and Total FX Laser) with a single treatment. The newer fraxel "repair" is a CO2 laser (like the Ultrapulse) and gives closer results with a single treatment. The Ultrapulse is unique in having the Active FX and Total FX modalities which give a "complete" treatment, and many of us feel that makes it superior.
Fractional CO2 laser new gold standard
Fractional CO2 laser allows for effective laser resurfacing with one week of downtime with much less risks of complications associated with the old CO2 laser resurfacing. There is not a significant difference among the different Fractional CO2 laser available in the marketplace, e.g. ActiveFx, Fraxel Repair, Mixto, eCO2. The key is the experience of the laser surgeon. Make sure the before and after photos shown are his or her own patients. Preferably, your board-certified laser surgeon has performed more than 50 cases of your skin type.
ActiveFX and DeepFX combination is better than Fraxel
In my experience as a Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon, I feel that ActiveFX/DeepFX combination gives a better result than Fraxel. The ActiveFX laser is one of the most powerful in the industry available for a physician. This gives the physician the ability to treat better the conditions of aging skin. In my years of experience I think this is the best laser for skin resurfacing.
Total FX provides more dramatic results
I have used both the Fraxel:repair and the Active Fx for similar conditions. I feel the Active Fx is superior and far superior when combined with Deep Fx (which is Total Fx treatment.)
I always combine the active and deep fx because the downtime is minimally increased (1-2 days) but the results are more dramatic. Also, the patients who receive Fraxel:repair stay red for much longer but with inferior results.