This is a very common question, not only with Fraxel, but with all forms of rejuvenation surgery. Fraxel will turn the clock back, but the clock starts ticking right away. How fast you age is mostly determined by your genetics, and exposure to sunlight and tobacco smoke. I personally had Fraxel done last year and I plan to have it done again in a few years when I become unhappy with the return of the signs of aging.
How Often Do I Have to Get Fraxel Treatments to Maintain the Results?
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The rate of aging is different for each person - consult a doctor
While treatment with Fraxel will bring back a more youthful appearance, the aging process does not stop. The rate of aging is different for each person with factors such as genetics, amount of time in the sun, alcohol consumption, and tobacco smoke influencing the process. A dermatologist or plastic surgeon should be consulted.
Maintaining results after Fraxel
Once you have reached your goals after Fraxel treatment, you should talk to your dermatologist about maintenance. While Fraxel will treat the fine lines and textural irregularities and sun damage that you have, it doesn't stop the aging process. The signs of aging are determined by genetics (which you can't change) and by your behavior. You can't change your past, and past exposure to the sun will still cause the appearance of brown spots and wrinkles in the future. However, you can minimize these future wrinkles and spots by using retinoid creams every night. Retinoids help repair the damage done by sun exposure. You should also use antioxidant serums under your sunscreen every day, to minimize additional damage.
You may find that you want to have one or two maintenance Fraxel treatments every year. Even though you may not be noticing signs of aging as quickly as before you started the treatments, the positive changes in the skin's appearance and feel after Fraxel have made it a very popular treatment. I have some patients who have low energy Fraxel maintenance treatments every couple of months. These patients may never need surgery.
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Pros and Cons of Fraxel Restore
The efficacy of Fraxel Restore is limited by the erbium wavelength which brings about much less thermal coagulation compared to Fractional CO2 laser. The advantage of Fraxel Restore is its relatively short downtime of few days and its efficacy to achieve more even skin tone; however even after 5 treatments, the clinical benefits can be very subtle even to professionally trained eyes. If you can afford week-long downtime associated with Fractional CO2 laser and find an experienced board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who has performed greater than 50 cases of your skin type, one single Fractional CO2 Laser treatment can be quite satisfying for rejuvenation, reversal of sun damage, and improvement of skin texture and aging lines.
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.