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.