I wrote a review for another website after my first treatment a month ago. Here it is:
This is my first Fraxel treatment and today is my fourth day. So far, so good.
The procedure was definitely not painless, so make sure you apply the numbing cream ALL over your face all the way to the hairline and above your lips. My esthetician recommended that I apply another layer 30 minutes after I apply the first one, so I will follow her advice next time for sure! The pain is tolerable, like a bunch of rubber bands slapping your face, but hopefully the results will be worth it.
Right after my procedure, my face looked like I got a sunburn. Nothing too bad, but I felt weird walking back to my car like that. I felt like everyone was staring at me, hehe. After the first day, my skin was no longer red and it just became a bit swollen and had a healthy glow. My friend who knows nothing about skin even commented on its glow.
I have had acne for about 12 years, from age 12 to 24 (I'm 26 now). Toward the later years, I began having cystic acne that left scars all over my face. The only part that escaped scarring was my forehead. The worst parts of my face are my temples, which have all types of ice pick and rolling scars. I feel like I've been battling acne for all my life, so I really wanted to do something about it.
About 5 years ago, I had 4 treatments of photodynamic therapy. I think THINK it helped my skin, but it also left my face a few shades darker than the rest of my body. The PDT helped my acne a little, but nothing drastic and I don't know if it was worth the $1000+. I'm hoping Fraxel will be worth the money though. I'll post pictures and I'll also post updates as the days go on and when I get my next treatment.
I wrote a review for another website after my...
I wrote a review for another website after my first treatment a month ago. Here it is:
I had my second (of three) Fraxel treatments 5...
As for the procedure itself, it was painful, but bearable. I practically had no anesthesia on my face but I was able to bear it. However, my eyes watered involuntarily from the pain. According to my esthetician and other postings I've read, this is rare and most people are just slightly uncomfortable during the procedure. I just happened to have a poor reaction to the numbing cream.
During my last procedure, they didn't go too "deep" because I was in pain. So this second time, I wanted them to go all the way. However, I was in more pain this time than the first time! My esthetician and I didn't want to compromise the treatment because of the pain, so she went as deep as she could. I kept telling myself that the pain is temporary, but the results will last a long time. She focused on my problem areas and glossed over the rest of my face.
Overall, I am really happy I had Fraxel done. I've read other posts from people who have had a negative experience, and I feel really bad for those people. I've had similar incidents before and I know how outraged and helpless they may feel. However, many people have had positive experiences with Fraxel, so there is some good to the product. I don't think it's fair to make blanket statements saying Fraxel will ruin your face. After all, it has helped a lot of people. I think it is important to understand the risks and caveats of the procedure before going in.
Someone recommended that you take your time and research the office before getting Fraxel done. Though I think that is a great idea, I am ashamed to say that I did not do this. I looked on Yelp.com for Fraxel treatments, then called the different offices that popped up. In the the end, I chose the one that got the best reviews and had the best price. My office (in Beverly Hills) was having a special of 3 treatments for $1,500. That is a really good deal, especially for an office in Beverly Hills. I live in LA, and Beverly Hills is supposed to have the best doctors, so I thought why not.
I visited the office and the lady who administers Fraxel and I really liked them. My lady isn't an MD, but she's done this for years and she said she's never burned anyone. It might be important for some to have an MD administering your treatment, but I think having years of experience is also really important. I got a good and honest vibe from her, so I decided to proceed.
Though the procedure itself was really painful, I am happy I decided to have it done. This is my second treatment, fifth day, and my face looks pretty good. Here is a breakdown, day by day, for those who are interested:
Day 1: my face was RED and tight. On the way home, my face was burning, so I just aimed my air conditioner straight at my face. I didn't wash or put anything on my face for 2 days, according to my office's instructions. There was practically no pain, but my face felt very sensitive.
Day 2: this is the day of what I like to call "leather-face". My skin felt rough, like I was an old lady and I had been in the sun for decades. I wasn't as red as I was the day before, but you could tell there was something "off" about my face. I still looked sunburned. There was no pain at all, but my face just felt tight. There was no peeling. The good thing is that my face puffed up so much that ALL my scars were gone! It was amazing! So I had smooth, but red sun burned skin.
Day 3: my skin was still red and it turned bronzed looking. My face was darker than the rest of my body, which is my pet peeve. I still had leather-face, but no pain or peeling. I pretty much looked normal when I had makeup on, thank goodness. I did have the dark coffee grinds on my face, but nothing dramatic. My esthetician told me that the pigmentation on my face will "pepper" to the top, then flake off. So far, this seems to be the case.
Day 4: the coffee grinds are still there, but there isn't as much as the day before. The redness and bronzing went away and my skin pretty much looks normal. The puffiness that I had before has started to go away and I can see my scars returning (argh). However, I'm just glad my face is a normal color again. I also started to apply pure aloe vera gel to my face at night, right after cleansing. Then I apply moisturizing lotion on top of that.
Day 5: It's amazing how quickly my face changes from day to day. My skin is beginning to gain a healthy glow and the scars aren't as pronounced as they were before the treatment. I'm told this will go away though. My face is just slightly red, but it looks like a winter blush instead of a bad sun burn. Another thing I must mention is that I broke out slightly from the Fraxel. This didn't happen last time, but I read that it may happen to some people. It's nothing big, just 3 pimples on my upper lip (which is weird because I never break out there) and 1 pimple on my temple. It's not a big deal to me and if this is the worst of it, I'm not complaining. At night, I apply aloe vera gel and lotion. During the day, I apply lotion.
So far, everything has been going well. My recovery process has been less intense than other posters, so I'm not sure if this is normal. Maybe my lady didn't go too "deep" and that's why I was able to recover pretty well. I also want to mention that I am a dark-skinned Asian and I've fared pretty well. There were some concerns that my skin would get darker after treatment, but we stayed on the more gentle side because of the pain I was in, so there has been no hyper pigmentation yet. So far, so good. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my third treatment will turn out well and that a year from now, my skin will look great! I'll keep my review as undecided until I get all three treatments and see the outcome 6 months to a year out.
I must have had Restore (not Repair). I'm...
It’s been a month since my third (and last)...
My scars are still very visible, but they've gotten softer overall. In certain lighting, my scars disappear completely and my face looks as smooth as glass! This is completely shocking to me.
Of course, my rolling and ice pick scars are still visible in all other lighting. They’re especially bad in harsh lighting, so when I’m in that kind of lighting I feel extra self-conscious. A weird side effect of the Fraxel is that my scars have taken a different shape. It looks like the collagen underneath the scars changed position because some scars are deeper, while other scars are lighter. I’m not sure if that’s even medically possible, but that’s what it looks like from the outside. I’m not sure what kind of party is going on underneath my skin.
I also want to mention that I purchased hydroquinone from my Fraxel office and I’ve been using it on my hyperpigmentation. My face overall is darker than the rest of my body, so I use it sparingly on my entire face. I use it more often on my forehead and temples, which for some reason are darker than my cheeks. The hydroquinone has helped lighten my skin and I’m glad I no longer feel like a floating head.
I wish I could post pictures to show my progress, but I didn’t take high quality pictures before I started Fraxel, so it would be hard to do a comparison now. My doctor did take pictures of me before every Fraxel session and I’m going to see if they can send them to me.
I also want to mention that I’ve changed my diet recently and I’ve noticed a vast improvement in my skin. I eat more fruits and vegetables and I’ve cut back on sugar. Since then, any existing acne cleared up and I’ve only gotten one pimple in the past two weeks. My face also looks generally healthier and glowing, so this is a lifestyle change that I want to maintain for as long as possible. But sometimes dark chocolate truffles call to me and I can’t help myself! Everything in moderation though, right?
Overall, I’m glad I got Fraxel done. My face seems to be healing fine (fingers crossed!!) and my scars have improved. I’m going to wait 6 months (so June/July 2012) before I make any decisions about the outcome or any future treatments. I’m glad to say that I can now go out without any powder or foundation on my face… and that’s a liberating feeling!
Good luck to everyone out there!
Here's a quick breakdown of my progress, treatment...
After the first treatment, I didn't notice a vast improvement. That was expected, but it was still kind of a disappointment.
The second treatment resulted in a dramatic improvement in the depth and look of my scars. Even my Fraxel lady was surprised at how well my skin was doing.
The third treatment didn't produce very dramatic results, but more of a general smoothness of my skin.
The settings were bumped up each session, once we determined that my skin could handle it.
I was also told that I'll probably need 4-6 treatments, depending on my medical endpoint.
Anyways, this is just something to keep in mind for those of you who are deciding. Good luck!
It has been 6 months since my last Fraxel...
I still have deep ice pick scars that didn't go away with the Fraxel, but the rest of my face has gotten smoother and overall I look healthier. After reading reviews on this website I was hesitant to try it, but I'm so glad I did. I am still self conscious about my skin, but I feel a lot more confident than I used to.
For those of you wanting to try it, I think it's worth a shot to look into it and find a reputable office. Find someone who has administered many, many treatments and who knows what they're doing. Ask for referrals when you can. I've struggled with acne scarring all my adult life, and Fraxel has been the single most beneficial thing I've done for myself.
After 6 months, I can confidently change my rating from undecided to Worth It. For everyone out there, follow your intuition when making your decision about whether you should do it and what office to choose. All the best to you!