Don't Be Talked into Trying Fraxel on Acne Scars

I don’t know where to begin. I went to a...

I don’t know where to begin. I went to a dermatologist about my acne scarring in February and he sold me on the Fraxel laser. I ended up having two consultations and also doing Internet research, the latter of which he assured me was to be taken with a grain of salt because upset customers “often use message board stories to get money.” They help each other out, he said, by posting negative stories for each other as proof that treatments don’t work. And I actually bought this excuse!

But I can honestly, hand to heart tell you now that Fraxel did NOTHING for my scarring.

Of all the procedures that have been used for acne scars, Fraxel was supposed to be the best – not dermabrasion, not peels... some of which I’ve tried. I paid the full amount upfront... almost $5k for a batch of treatments. All upfront, not even a receipt.

I had no trouble with the treatment procedure (later I would be accused of being a “bad patient”) but I couldn’t see it working. So when I had one treatment left and hadn’t seen any results yet, I demanded to speak to my dermatologist in person after he didn’t return three of my calls. I wanted answers. In his office I said that I wasn’t seeing any improvement and I asked what he wanted to do about it. He started to call his salespeople to work out “a deal” but I said no, this is his practice and he needed to fix it. He then looked me in the eye and said I would have to pay for more treatments if I wanted the results I was promised!

I left his office in tears that day and never went for my final treatment. It’s been three months since then and I still don’t know what to do. I’m thinking about trying something else when I get the money but I can’t stand the thought of it not working and costing me thousands more.


The clinic I went to was run by an extremely professional couple (both plastic surgeons). I was given a full array of details regarding the procedure. I live in the UK and several times had visited clinics were they suggested microdermabrassion for my scarring, I asked for a second opinion, to which both consultants assured me, the amount of sessions required would be far more and the results not as those achieved by fractional CO2 laser. I paid $450 for one treatment, which I had to have done within the time I was visiting my parents; I have to say I was surprised of how different my skin looked (even after the procedure with swelling, etc). I had both an ointment and injected anaesthetics which were enough to diminish or vanish any discomfort. After a couple of days my face looked a little like a chessboard, where the various wavelength lasers had been used according to my skin. Nearly two years later, I am going for my second and last treatment (which in all fairness I could've done six months after the first but haven't been to Guatemala since) this November. I would really emphasise to anyone wishing to see results to adhere to the strict 10 days no sun exposure, moisturising and use of the antibiotic cream to prevent infections. No matter how much you'd like to apply that foundation and go out for a bit, try and be disciplined and you'll see good results! Negatives... my skin became quite dry for the first couple of months, but moisturiser was the trick (Acniben) which is a Spanish brand and ideal, very light to put on and diminishes redness, etc. My scars which were more on one side of my face than the other, really did fade, and I can say that sun exposure does make them show up a bit as the skin swells, I would recommend CO2. The other problem I had was post retin-A pigmentation where I'd had spots and they'd dried and peeled off, this definitely got rid of that and pore size was also minimised. I felt a lot more confident and really comfortable in my skin.
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I had my first and only Fraxel treatment today to my face, cost $1000. Having read some of the previous scary posts I almost cancelled my appointment but decided that it was too late to change and the wrong thing to do. The topical anesthetic and a prior analgesic tablet left over from a root canal, half of a hydrocodone tablet must have worked because I felt very, very little discomfort. I was absolutely surprised after reading other posts. I drove home and did have a few floaters in my eyes and suspected it was from doing my upper eyelids but now, three hours later, they seem to be gone. I am puffy and suntanned but have no discomfort at all. It may be the two or three glasses of red wine but for me it was a totally comfortable and pleasant experience. Time will tell if it was successful. I am thinking it will be--correcting acne scarring, blotchy skin and prior basal skin carcinoma scars. Incidentally, I am a 74 year-old male. I'll post followups in the future.
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