Fractional Laser Treatment for Enlarged Pores, Fine Lines and Sun Damage

I am 34 and just completed my first of 3...

I am 34 and just completed my first of 3 fractional laser treatments (same kind of laser as Fraxel, only Fraxel is the specific brand name) I decided to get the fractional laser treatments for the following issues: enlarged pores, redness, very mild acne scars/discoloration (mainly from picking) and fine lines around mouth/naso-labial folds.

The procedure feels very much like when you accidentally burn your wrist or arm on the side of a hot pan- the stinging and tightness afterwards is very uncomfortable but it dissipates within an hour or so and you are left with what feels like a moderate sunburn. If you are super pain sensitive (I am not) prepare yourself mentally, but don't take painkillers as they can thin the blood. Just think of every "zap" erasing all the things you don't like about your skin and that helps! My skin was red and then turned a bronze color and is a little tight feeling.

It's day 2 and I'm staying indoors to avoid the sun but feel fine appearing in public- the level of swelling/redness present depends not only on your skin type but on how deep of a laser treatment you are getting which accounts for the disparity I see on some of these reports regarding after-affects. Discuss with your provider in advance so you know what to expect.

I am not swollen at all but still bronze and was instructed not to touch my face or wash it and avoid all sun for 48 hours which has been tough! So far, my skin is tight and bronzed and I can't really see a difference although I know that is because the new skin has not yet formed and the old has not sloughed off. However, I am satisfied with my experience and think I will like the results. My provider said a couple weeks after the second treatment is when I really will notice the most change.

I think if you are looking for a quick fix than this is not the procedure for you- the results are gradual and you must be diligent with your after care guidelines. Will report back as things develop.


Updated on Nov 11, 2009
I had a profractional 1540 laser and while initially pleased, my skin keeps changing in subtle ways (sandpaper, bumps, acne, etc) that are causing me to question the safety of this procedure. That and some posts I have read about lasers using the same radiofrequencies and UV rays to burn your skin "in a controlled way". If its the same as sun damage, wouldnt we be damaging our skin and potentially causing cancer in the long run? Help, I'm confused and haven't heard a satisfactory response to these concerns

Updated on Dec 29, 2009

2 months ago, I decided to get a Fraxel Laser treatment and was told I'd need a series of 3 to get the results I wanted; my concerns were enlarged pores on my nose, improving skin texture and fine lines. About a month after the first treatment I noticed several things which made me decide to cancel the series. #1 My skin developed an "orange peel" effect; the pores became dilated not just on my nose but all over my entire face which was VERY ANNOYING seeing as how it was one of the things I went in to correct. Now whenever I put on powder or any make up my skin looks craggy. #2 My skin, normally oily, is now extremely dry and no amount of moisturizer helps #3) Reappearance of old scars. Scars from the chicken pox I had in childhood that I haven't sen in years re-appeared and have not gone away, not to mention in some parts, grid marks, which look like the print from gauze which were caused by the laser also remain, although aren't noticeable to anyone but me #4 VEINS NOW VERY PROMINENT IN FOREHEAD! Veins which prior to treatment I never knew I had are suddenly visible.

I would encourage people on here to do their research about fraxel and heed the counsel of some of the women on here who have had similar problems as mine and much, much worse before continuing with fraxel.

 March 31 I'm now 5 months out and...

 March 31

I'm now 5 months out and damage continues to worsen. Provider refuses to help me. Anyone who is thinking of doing this should know the potential benefits DO NOT outweigh the risks. Read the posts from Awalk, Dontdofraxel, Beann, Christine, Very Sad and many others. It just isn't worth the risk. Stick with peels, microderm, fillers- get a facelift if you have to. The damage from lasers is irreversible and the dangers unknown. Not worth it.

Does laser resurfacing destroy collagen in the long run? I have read some disturbing comments about lasers changing your cellular composition, causing long term collagen depletion, muscle sagging and even making you more prone to skin cancer as the lasers light burns your skin much like a sunburn would and exposes you to the same UV rays and radio frequencies that cause cancer. I'd like to hear a doctors opinion on this and what evidence we have that long term use of these treatments are safe.

Brooke at National Laser Institute

She was not informed and couldn't answer my questions when I had problems or advise me. No one from the institute returns my calls. I met with Kelly a tech who I thought would help me and she just denied that fraxel could have caused my damage despite never having seen me before. They refused to give my my settings for months. the staff is on the whole unprofessional, extremely rude, arrogant and negligent.

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Comments (6)

I am so sorry for what happened to you...the same thing happened to me too...tiny holes that connect and make lines on treated areas...when I pointed them out to my Dr he said he couln't see them but at the end contradicted himself and said that my skin will eventually heal and improve! He never mentioned this as a possible side-effect only hyper pigmentation in case of sun exposure and minimal results. I am now 8 weeks post fraxel one and only procedure and praying that my skin will eventulaly go back to normal...
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I had IPL done last summer. Worst experience. I didn't outright burn, but when I began healing a month later I started showing linear scars like cat scratches, my smooth skin turned like an orange peel, and I no longer have the same confidence I used to have. I went in for sun spots and overall keeping a youthful complexion. What a mistake. It hasn't gone away and I don't think it will. It's permanant scarring. Please don't do IPL or any form of laser. I did all my research before the treatments and never came across anything negative, I asked all the right questions, and then when I started noticing my drastic skin change I went back to search more, but this time tried random combinations like ipl and orange peel skin, ipl and fat loss, etc....and there it was. I can relate. I'm sorry to hear how all of us are going through this, but chins up, remember we can be in much more severe situations:(
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Are you still checking this site? Do you have any updates?
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Well i still have my brown spots in my face, and taking ipl, but is not working yet, i had taken laser resurfacing 1540 for my scars on face because of an accident, i cant tell yet if is worth it, but i think they have improve, the thing is that i treat it some of the old scars i had and become hyperpigmentated, so i dont know what to do, if anyone find something that help for pigmentation please let us all know!
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The thing that makes me really angry is that I searched and searched the internet before I had it done and almost everything is positive. It is very difficult to find these stories. The providers say "we've never had a single complaint" but have they really? I can understand taking people's money for a youth cream that doesn't work but permanently disfiguring people? That's beyond disgusting.
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Same here , I googled and googled and everything came up as positive , safe , mild etc. no negatives. I was sceptical and went for a consultation , asked specific questions about possible bad outcomes and risks, was told that there were none permanent, same song about not a single unhappy client. Only when I googled my own symptoms holes after fraxel etc, can if worm opened up. My stomach sank right there on the couch and I became almost hysterical because I knew that the laser had scarred me and I couldn't get my head around why I was lied it really was kick in the guts, specially after I made it clear my fear of scarring more, I wouldn't want to do anything that carries any risks. If she would have been honest my face would be fine. Instead she lied, and scarred me for life. I can't work, can't meet people. Can't plan a future because I cannot even look in the mirror where machine made holes are staring at me covering almost every inch of my face.
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