Worked for Me - but There is Down Time!!

I am having fraxel done for mild to moderate acne...

I am having fraxel done for mild to moderate acne scarring on my cheeks. I am 47 and have a medium complexion. I do not scar severely. I had a birth mark the was the size of a dime removed from my stomach 2 years ago and there is just a faint hyperpigmented line where that birth mark was removed. I also do not have sensitive skin - I can use different types of soaps and lotions and I do not get rashes. But, I do have very oily skin.

I went to the best dermatologist to have this procedure done - even though it cost more- and I strongly recommend you pick someone who is meticulous because this your face! I am not sure why people on this site seem to be having such different experiences but I think picking an experienced clinic will help. I also think people who scar easily or have sensitive skin might have more problems. You should probably talk over those concerns with your provider.

I found the procedure uncomfortable but not intolerable. It felt like little needle pricks but every so often one was more like a jab! I think my pain tolerance is about middle of the road.

The first three days, I really was not presentable. My face was quite swollen. I had the procedure on a Monday. On Wed., when I woke up my eyes where almost swollen shut! I looked like a shar-pei puppy! My face was very red and my chin had a big dark brown abrasion on it. Today, Fri I felt ok about getting into the car and going through a drive-thru. Tomorrow, Sat. I have to go to work.

The mid section of my face looks the most "normal" only slightly pink and all the swelling now gone. My upper forehead has red dots - esp. by my temples and the brown blotch on my chin partly flaked off. The mild-mod crows feet I had are almost gone and the fine lines under my eyes are completely gone. The mild pitting acne scars on my cheeks are 30% diminished. They say the full results can not be seen for three months so I am anticipating further improvements. I was told by the dermatologist not to come back for a month.

I really think I will need 5 days of down time for the next session but with the holidays coming up, I will not be able to get that much down time until Jan. 09. I will come back on to this site and will use the same title to give you an update in about a week. Also, I will answer questions -clb


Updated: October 9, 2008

This is an update from my first reveiw. It as been 10 days since my treatment. The redness has mostly subsided. I am a little red on my forehead and nose. On day 5 I started noticing breakouts. The nurse warned me I might break out and I knew I would with my very oily skin. I broke out around my lips mostly and along my hairline by my temples. I also had a few on the bridge of my nose. By now, they have mostly cleared up.

I have to say my face does look better, my skin tone is more even. The hyperpigmentation on my forehead is All Gone. The fine wrinles around my eyes turned out to be 50% better. The mild-mod acne scars are about 30% less noticable. I have some prominent laugh lines at my nasolabial folds and forehead. I was told I would have to do botox to get rid of those.

The procedure, itself wasn't so bad for me. It was the down time that was hardest for me. I think I had more swelling and redness and severe blotching then most. I do not know when I can have that much down time again. But, it is amazing you can get these results and 10 days later, be largely healed.  I will find out more details about the type of laser and settings.

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Hi,tuyetvy. I do not have my pics, I will get them from my dermatologist next week.
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Hi texas-tea. I have moderate/shallow acne scarring on my cheeks. I will have a consultation with an MD for fraxel next week. Can you show me your before and after pix so I know what to expect. I have heard mix reviews on fraxel so I'm not really sure if I want to go with it or not. Money is a factor for me too. Thanks
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Hi, I'm so pleased to read your great results with the Fraxel Treatment! I just had my first treatment almost a week ago. Aside from the swelling, which has subsided, my skin did appear smoother at first but now I've broken out in tiny bumps which I was warned about. I hope that doesn't last long. I was told I'd need at least 4 maybe 5 treatments. Of course, if I can get maximal results in 4 I'd prefer that. I just hope all the money I'm spending will be worth it in the end!
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Hi Fitness Lady, I am happy to hear you are embarking on this treatment. I think it definitely helped my skin's appearence and I feel more confident. I broke out with mod-severe acne from age 14 til 34 and I always had and uneven skin tone that got worse with sun damage and hormones. This is the best my skin has looked since age 15. Really. The mild/mod scarring on my cheeks are now quite mild and I do not think they stand out. I thought about having treatments done just to my cheeks but I hate to spend money on such a mild amount of scarring and taking up 5 days a month to heal. I will revisit this idea about 8 months from now and see how I feel. I will be having restylene and botox done for the first time later this month so look for my reveiws on this procedure. I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and for sharing their experiences. It really helped me to move forward on this experience. I thought about doing this for a few years but didn't until I found this site. I will come try to up load photos soon. I will come back onto this site every few weeks to answer questions for 3 months or so. THANKs again, everyone.
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My dermatologist told me not to take ANY MEDICINES that would reduce inflamation, as the inflamation is NECESSARY to create the healing response. You are undoing the whole procedure when you take anti inflamatories.
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Hi Naffy, this is the first time I have heard taking anti-inflamatories would effect results. I will ask my dermatologist if she believes this is true.
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Hi there. You wrote last on the 5th. How ar eyou doing after your 2nd treatment. Are the results worth it? I am going in Monday and after readng everyone's reviews I am petrified. I have acne scars on my cheeks and I just want the [ain to be worth the results or vsice versa. Please keep me posted.
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Hi Annette and all others. I hope this comment gets to you Annette before you go for your treatment on Mon. 11-24. In short, I do think the Fraxel is worth the cost and down time. Now, that I have 2 treatments down and see how I respond, I am not scared to get this done. After my second treatment, I wrote too soon that my recovery was shortened. In fact, the next morning, after my second treatment, I was as red and swollen has I was after the first treatment. That lasted about 5 days. Here is some things I did to help heal and hopefully improve the results. I hope they are of value to you: 1. I bought ice packs at my local pharmacy, wrapped each in a face cloth and put them on my face. When one was on my face, the other one was in the frig. They cost about 5 bucks each. 2. I took Advil and benadryl to decrease the inflammation as much as possible. I took the recommended doses on the package. 3. I rented all sorts of movies and read interesting books to pass the time for the first 3 days when I really felt I couldn't go out in public. 4. For the last 2 momths, I have been taking extra vit.c, zinc and fish oil supplements. As well as a multi-vit. These should help with cell repair and hopefully maximize the results of my treatments. 5. My dermatologist gave me cetaphil cleanser and lotion. I like both these products and will keep using them after my final treatments. My 3rd and final treatment is scheduled for the first week in Jan. 2009. I will come back here with comments about 2 weeks after completing the treatment.I am going to try to get the before and after photos and load them onto this site for folks to see. I would say there is a 30% improvement in the acne scars, a 70% improvement in the even tone of my skin and a 50% improvement in the fine wrinkles. I came into this thinking a 30% improvement in my skin would be worth the cost and the down time. So I am satisfied. Good Luck Annette! Tell me how you do!I am adding my last comment on Fraxel. I completed my 3rd and last treatment. The 3rd tx. went the same as a first two with the exception that the pain of the treatment was worse then the first two treatments. I would rate the pain a 6 out of ten on the pain scale, with severe, worst pain rated a ten. The first two treatments were like a two out of ten at worst. I could handle it but it was definitely worse. The healing was about the same. The scars on my face are about 50% improved. The wrinkles about 40% and the smoothness, skin tone about 80% improved. I have been happy with the results but of course, I wish I could have had better results with facial acne scars. I have thought about having a 4th treatment but the cost and down time limits me from doing a 4th treatment. I asked my dermatologist why different people seem to be having such different results. She mentioned that there are different generations of lasers out there and some lasers work better then others. Also, different people have different genetics and repair collagen in different ways.
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Hi Everyone. I went and had my second Fraxel treatment today. The laser that was used is a Reliant brand. The treatment was called SR1500. The dermatologist said it was the newest generation laser on the market. Like before, a nurse put a thick, clear gel/cream that was a mixture of lidocaine and tetracaine. This was on my face for about 1 and 1/2 hours since they were running late on the schedule. That was ok with me because my face was really numb when they started. They used the same settings that they used the first time but they did increase the settings for going over my cheeks - that is where most of my acne scarring is located. The dermatologist did my forehead first. Then my right cheek then my left. She then did my chin, the nose and finally 2 passes with the laser under my eyes. For all the other areas, she did 4 passes, 2 horizontal and 2 vertical. The first pass I could hardly feel discomfort but with each pass, the discomfort becomes more intense. I have to say, this time, the procedure was more uncomfortable. I would rate it mildly painful compared to the first time that was uncomfortable. I do not know why there was this change.The first time, it was more like a slight prickly pin sensation for the most part. This time it was a more like an electric needle sticking me. I wonder if this is what is feels like to get a tatoo. I could tolerate it.The assistant kept blowing cold air on my face, following laser. This helped. However, when they turned up the settings for my cheeks, I could only tolerate it for the first three passes. i had them turn it down for the third. Oddly, enough, even though it was more painful, when I got home and got a good look at myself, I am not as red, blotchy or swollen as I was the first time. I took 3 Advils before the procedure-hoping this will decrease the swelling and inflamation. Perhaps this is working! I will blog more in a few days.
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sounds like you had fraxel repair !
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It could have been fraxel repair. I do not know, I am getting confused by all the terminology. When I go for my next treatment, I will get details so I can help others. I really appreciate this site. It as really helped me.
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