Write a review

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.

Was this review helpful? 101 others found this helpful

Comments (16)

Sort by

-:- Message from RealSelf staff -:-

This comment does not follow our Community Guidelines and/or Terms of Service. We reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.
  • Reply
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.
  • Reply
Paul, I suspect that a lot of the negative reviews you've read (regarding pain, especially) are on Fraxel Repair, a much stronger treatment than Restore (which you and the reviewer had done). And it's a really, really bad idea to drink alcohol while healing from any Fraxel.
  • Reply
i'm sorry... i don't know what fraxel you all are getting but it is definitely working for scarring. i have to agree that some of the larger holes are changing very slow but people have come up to me and admitted that my scarring has improved. i've done four times spaced at 8 weeks. i would say that 60% of scars have been improved greatly.
  • Reply
JLW, I had five Fraxel treatments by a doctor who actually did patient trials and trains other doctors on using Fraxel. It did NOTHING for my acne scars. It was very painful. Five passes with a sixth pass concentrated on the scar zones. I was told the highest setting was used which is why my teeth and entire body were shaking uncontrollably during the treatment. The treatments resulted in dark pigment change on the lower left hand side of my face, broken blood vessels and redness that would never go away. I am happy that you had or believe you are having good results from Fraxel. I paid 1200 per treatment. I had five to seven full days of downtime and was PATIENT! I kept waiting for results that never came. I am not and did not "sue" the doctor for no results. It would have been nice for him to have acknowledged that Fraxel did not work for me. One treatment of a CO2 fractional laser (not Fraxel) gave me 30-50% improvement that Fraxel could not do. I am sorry I wasted my time and money on Fraxel. The SmartXide laser treatment I did in June was cheaper, less painful and less downtime with real results. If you have acne scars talk to a doctor who offers Total FX, Mixto, SmartXide or one of the other fractional CO2 lasers. Avoid Fraxel. Allison
  • Reply
Was that "old' Fraxel, or the new Fraxel "Re:Pair"? Can you please be more specific? I have been considering getitng Re:pair for acne scars and fine lines (photoaging "crinking" of my thin skin). My scarring is all around my mouth and chin.
  • Reply
DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. It does not work for deep (cystic) acne scars or wrinkles around the mouth and eyes, even at high setting.
  • Reply
This reviewer does not have patience or a good doctor working on his/her side. Fraxel is be amazing. Make sure you get only the best to do it, and be patient. Sounds like this person had a bad doctor. I had horrible scarring (it was really bad), paid 400 a session to only do the parts of my face that were affected (~30% of my face approximately), and it looks like after three treatments nothing ever happened. I went in for my fouth a few days ago. Just get a good doctor who can also manage expectations. I should also point out, my doctor prior to treatment was way more pessimistic than need be. She described 70 percent reduction of scarring, but after three treatments it's already down at LEAST 90 percent.
  • Reply
Can you tell me who your doctor was? Thanks!
  • Reply
I agree. Can you tell me who your dermatologist was? Sounds like a pretty good dermatologist to me. Editor note You must be contacted privately to receive the information you requested. This requires free registration for an account.
  • Reply
I would report that doctor to the state, and to his Board if he's certified. No receipt? That's a red flag to me. I had a dermo do a cash-above-the-insurance charge thing to me (for another kind of treatment), and when I got dunned by his medical group for supposedly unpaid bills, I found out that there was no record of the surplus payments. This guy sounds like a complete charletan. Other red flags (that I experienced with my dermo, too) -- he has his underlings talk to you, and avoids your calls or visits. He has them try to work out a deal (bribe?). Can you tell us what kind of acne scarring you had? Was it deep or shallow? From cysts? Or was it the "ice pick" scarring? Are you positive it was Fraxel tht was used (and not another "brand")? Did it hurt?
  • Reply
Hi, my advice to you is to contact any attorney. A good attorney will be able to, at least, get your money back for you.
  • Reply
How soon after fraxel tx can you have microdermabrasion. Im two weeks out and my skin looks terrible...bunch of white bumps, splotchy looking etc.
  • Reply
The white bumps are called "millia" - they can appear sometimes after the skin has had a trauma, like after the heat of the fraxel laser. I had the same thing happen. Your dermatologist can remove them for you very easily with a small needle - no scars.
  • Reply
And what kind of scarring did you have? Fraxel has great ability to help people but if it's in the wrong hands like your Dr.'s it will cause harm. I would see a lawyer (a lawyer that won't get paid anything if he/she loses but gets a small percentage if he/she does).
  • Reply
who was the dr? Editor note: you must join RealSelf so you can be contacted privately with doctor recommendations and feedback. This requires free registration for an account. When registering you must opt-in to receiving private contacts (a check box).
  • Reply