Fraxel Dual - Daily Progress - Atlanta, GA

I had my first Fraxel Dual laser performed...

I had my first Fraxel Dual laser performed yesterday by my dermatologist. I am 41 years old and have been plagued by acne my whole adult life. I had tried topical creams and antibiotics, but finally was prescribed spironolactin, as it appears that my acne is hormone-related. The spironolactin at 100mg per day has finally gotten my acne under control, but I have been left with slight indentation scarring in my cheeks and darker pigment from both where the acne was and from general aging. The texture of my skin is uneven and I have large pores, particularly on my cheeks. My goal is to smooth out the scars caused by the acne, reduce pore size, and improve overall texture and color. I also have fairly dep nasolabial folds, but realize that the Fraxel will not improve this and I will likely need to get a filler to see improvement in this area.

I decided to get the package of 3 treatments spaced about a month apart as recommended by my dermatologist.

Just having the first done yesterday, I am not sure what the overall results will be but wanted to post by daily progress with photos for those considering the Fraxel Dual and how the procedure went while it is still fresh in my mind.

The procedure itself was about what I expected. I arrived at the dermatologist's office approximately an hour before my procedure and was slathered up with lidocaine/benzocaine numbing cream. Sat for an hour and then it was removed with alcohol. Goggles were placed over my eyes and the procedure was done. My doctor started with the passes with the 1550 laser. She had the laser set at 50 for most of my face. The first couple of passes in each area felt like nothing more than someone rubbing a pencil eraser on my face but the 3rd was uncomfortable and the 4th was a bit painful - nothing I couldn't stand. There was an area on my nose that the numbing cream must have missed because that one spot hurt from the get-go - like someone snapping a rubber band on it. Lesson learned - make certain the numbing cream is EVERYWHERE. After the 4 passes with the 1550, the 1927 was used for pigment. This was less painful than the other, but still uncomfortable. She was a little more aggressive on my left side as I had more pigment issues there.

After the procedure I was given ice packs and told to put them on my face 10 minutes of every hour for the rest of the day, which I did faithfully. Also totake a benadryl when I got home.The swelling is not nearly as bad as what I expected after seeing pictures of others who have had it done, whether due to the ice or the benadryl.

The first day it was red in all areas except the eye area where she did not laser. Looks like I was out in the sun with sunglasses on and got a little burned. There are a couple of places where the swelling is worse than others, namely on my cheekbone and near the naolabial fold on the left side, which makes that fold look deeper. The pigment of the spots on my face has gotten much darker. The pain afterwards was not bad at all. I slept elevated last night.

Today, the red has turned to bronze, and my skin feels like sandpaper. I have done only mild washing with Cetaphil and moisturizer with Cerave. It is difficult to tell at this point what the results will be (I'm almost worried that because there's no dramatic reaction by my skin like bright red, swelling that I won't see enough improvement) but I will post photos daily.

The photo from last night shows the darkening of the pigment and the swelling in certain places, making my cheeks look sunken in.

Today's picture (day after procedure) shows the bronze-y tint my skin now has with the darker pigmentation and you can see some of the laser dots. The swelling has also gone down some so I don't have that "sunken cheeks" look anymore.

Anyway, I will try to be faithful about posting pictures and updates regularly, as I thought it might be helpful to see daily progress following Fraxel Dual.

I am now on Day 4 of my first procedure and most...

I am now on Day 4 of my first procedure and most of the dead skin has sloughed off. I probably rubbed a little too hard in the shower in anticipation of returning to work today and putting on foundation, because I had some pinpoint bleeding in a few spots. Around my mouth looks like road rash and I have had a few whiteheads that have cropped up in the chin/mouth area. My face is super itchy - taking benadryl has helped, but since I had to return to work today I couldn't take the benadryl (for fear of falling asleep at my desk). I am washing with Cetaphil and using Neutrogena oil-free moisturizer for sensitive skin - the road rash area and few pinpoint bleeding spots I am also putting antibiotic cream. The one dark sunspot on my left cheek was the last to come off today. It is hard to tell at this point how much improvement has been made with the scarring, but the darker spots have mostly been removed.

Today is Day #6 and I finally almost looked normal...

Today is Day #6 and I finally almost looked normal with just tinted moisturizer on when I went to work. I still have some areas that are scaly and red, but they are getting better. The little whiteheads I got on my chin have all gone away except one stubborn one. A couple of my friends commented that my face looks smoother and brighter....I do notice the brightness, but to me it is only slightly smoother - but this is only Fraxel #1 in a series of 3, so I may ask my doctor to go up a little higher intensity on my cheeks. The pictures I am posting from today, I have no makeup on or tinted moisturizer - they were taken right after I washed my face and patted on some Eucerin (so a little shiny).

Well, it has been one week since my first Fraxel....

Well, it has been one week since my first Fraxel. I will say that I am mostly happy with my face, but there are a couple things I will ask my Dermatologist to do at Fraxel #2. First, I'm not entirely happy with the dark spot removal on my left side. I will ask her to make several passes with the 1927 laser on my left cheek. Second, she didn't go up high enough on my cheeks to touch the very fine lines below my eyes - just about 1/4 inch higher than where she went with the laser. That you can't really see in the photos. I still have a whitehead or 2 on my chin, and a raw spot on my left side near my temple.

Overall, my face looks brighter and slightly smoother - though I also think I will ask her to run it over the scars on my cheeks at a little higher intensity next time. Still hard to say it was worth $2,500 for 3 treatments - I believe I will leave my rating as "not sure" until I see what I feel is $2,500 worth of improvement. Still considering a Radiesse filler for my nasolabial folds, as I lost over 20 pounds in the last year and a half and I'm just not getting that face fat back :)

OK, so I am about a month past my first Fraxel...

OK, so I am about a month past my first Fraxel treatment, my next is scheduled for the day after tomorrow. I wanted to post pictures of the differences between pre-Fraxel and one month after first treatment. Sorry the lighting is different in the pictures so it may be hard for you to see much difference. If I had to rate Fraxel after only doing 1 treatment I would say it isn't worth the $2500 I spent - I do see a bit of difference, mostly the color is more even. My skin is smoother in spots, though there is still obvious acne scarring where there was before (may be slightly smoother).

The first Fraxel got rid of some of the age spots, though not all. I am hoping that I will see a bigger difference after Fraxel #2 and Fraxel #3, which is scheduled to be my last. I am going to ask her to up the intensity a bit at this next one on Friday as I would like to see more of a difference. She is also going to be doing my neck for free (not sure what Fraxel will do for it) at this next treatment.

So, here are my one month post-Fraxel #1 before and after pictures (before is top row, as I said the lighting is different so you may not be able to tell which is which!). Will post pics after I get Fraxel #2 done on Friday.

Well, I had my second Fraxel treatment done today....

Well, I had my second Fraxel treatment done today. The assistant who numbed my face did a better job with coverage than the first, as I didn't feel I had any spots that weren't numbed. This treatment seemed to hurt less than the first, even though she went up from 50 to 60 intensity with the laser in all areas except for my forehead, on which she used 20-25. She also did my neck today, which I did not have done the first time - it wasn't all that bad on the neck.

I did ask her to prescribe some Doxycycline to help stave off some of the breakouts I had after Fraxel #1, and she also prescribed arithromycin gel which she said will not irritate my face. She said additionally that I can do a white vinegar soak once a day prior to applying moisturizer.

New pics show face approximately 1 hour after Fraxel #2.

Finally rating the procedure as "worth it". ...

Finally rating the procedure as "worth it". Posting pictures of myself 5 days post Fraxel #2. I see much more significant difference after this Fraxel than after the first. You can see (hopefully) that the color is much more even and the skin appears smoother, though still a bit pink. Taking the antibiotics really helped my face not to break out so badly, and the vinegar wash helped remove some of the dead skin without tearing up my face. I am starting to see the difference I was looking for!

Well, have to update my opinion to "not sure"...

Well, have to update my opinion to "not sure" again. 2 weeks past Fraxel #2, my skin seems worse than before I started. The pigmentation is much better, but the unevenness of the texture of my skin where my scars are seems more pronounced. I have posted a closeup picture of each side today - and this is WITH foundation on. My neck, however, is smooth as a baby's bottom.

Yesterday I had my 3rd (and likely last) Fraxel....

Yesterday I had my 3rd (and likely last) Fraxel. The doctor upped the intensity to 70 on my cheeks where the scars are and made (it seemed like) a lot of passes in those areas. Dropped the intensity for my forehead and neck. I decided for my last treatment that I would invest in Bio-cream by Neocutis, as I was sold (suckered?) by the before and after pics of scars after using the cream. So using the hydraulis product and biocream for my post-treatment routine rather than the drug store stuff. We'll see if that makes any difference! The procedure this time wasn't bad, until she got to the area between my nose and mouth. That HURT! I don't think she made as many passes in that area as she was planning to, due to my whimpering like a small child :).

This morning I woke up more swollen than the other 2 times - I could actually see my cheeks if I looked down! A few hours into the day and the swelling went down. New pictures are of the day before my 3rd treatment and the day after. From the last 2 times, my expectations are that my skin will be ok to wear makeup in about 5 days. Wish my skin would just stay swollen- it looks so much better :)

My skin is looking pretty good today, with the...

My skin is looking pretty good today, with the exception of a big pimple on my chin. I still have dryness/flaking, particularly around my mouth but I was able to put tinted moisturizer on today. I really like the BioCream I've been using, my skin feels really good and my skin is smoother - though it usually starts looking a little worse the second week. Pics posted.

Ok, so I am now 1 month past my 3rd and final...

Ok, so I am now 1 month past my 3rd and final fraxel treatment. I am leaving my opinion of "worth it" as NOT SURE. My skin definitely has some improvement, but it is more the brightness and color than it is the smoothing of the acne scarring, and I probably could have achieved that same result with a less expensive laser.

The texture of my skin is better, pores - particularly on my chin and forehead - are smaller, and I seem to be experiencing fewer breakouts.

So, has my skin improved overall? YES. Was it worth $2500? I would say for me, NO. For those with money to burn, maybe YES.

I just posted pictures of my final results. I have no makeup or even tinted moisturizer on in these pictures. You can see for yourself in comparing the pictures from my before that the overall appearance is brighter and more even toned, but there is not significant acne scar improvement.

It is now 2 months post Fraxel #3. WAS IT WORTH...

It is now 2 months post Fraxel #3. WAS IT WORTH IT? Well, while there was initially some improvement in evenness of color, there was NOT significant acne scar improvement after 3 treatments...and now my skin has some spots of hypopigmentation (see latest pics) and the darkest age spot I had located near my left temple, which disappeared after the treatments, has started to reappear. I have slathered on SPF daily and avoided the sun like the plague.

Latest pic shows arrows pointing to examples of the hypopigmentation, and the reappearing age spot is circled. Not the best quality picture, but you can see the imperfections.

So for $2500, not worth it to me. A lot of money spent, and though my skin is a bit different now, not noticeably better overall.

6 Months After 3rd Fraxel Treatment - Not Happy With Results

Ok, several of you have messaged me asking to post new pictures. Now that I am officially 6 months post-3rd fraxel treatment, I have posted new pics...and can officially say that the $2500 I spent on Fraxel was $2500 down the drain.

To make it short and sweet, I now have awful pigmentation issues that I did not have prior to Fraxel. I am religious about wearing SPF 25+ sunscreen daily, so this is not an effect of being careless with sun exposure. I know that hyperpigmentation issues can be more easily fixed, but the hypopigmentation is harder to treat (can remove color but difficult to add color).

The updated pictures are WITH foundation on...so you can imagine that it is worse without. See for yourself and decide if you want to chance this happening to your skin.
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