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Fraxel for Melasma -Estero, FL

I purchased a Groupon for a Fraxel treatment with...

I purchased a Groupon for a Fraxel treatment with the hopes that it might improve my melasma. I have had hyperpigmentation on my face since my mid-20's due to a severe sunburn. It has only gotten worse over the past 15 years due to sun exposure and age. I was a little nervous about having laser done on my face, but that soon disappeared. I was given a numbing cream to apply 2 hours ahead of time. I also took two Aleve in advance. I had a Visia skin analysis before we started. Scary! You do not want to see your face that close up. The Fraxel treatment lasted about 15 min. and felt slightly uncomfortable. I would describe it like a rubber band snapping on my skin and a hot sensation. There was a fan blowing which made it more bearable. Once it was over she applied a fantastic cream that was a mix of Obagi sunscreen and Oxygenetix foundation to protect me from the sun and lessen the redness. (On my wish list now!) Immediately after the procedure and the rest of the night my face felt like a had a bad sunburn.

24 hours later there is no more pain at all but my face feels a little tight. The texture is rough, kind of like sand paper. This morning I had some puffiness under my eyes but that seems to have disappeared by the end of the day. I have a very slight bit of scabbing in my chin area. I was able to go to work and didn't look bad at all.

I understand it can take awhile to see results so I will keep you updated.

Photos & Quick Update (3 days after)

Three days after my Fraxel treatment, my skin is very sensitive. I very lightly scratched my nose and small specks of blood appeared. I am still feeling tight, but no pain at all. I have some light scabbing over most of my face, but it is easily covered with make up. The melasma on my chin looks worse now, but I'm hoping that is only temporary (as I've read it can be). There doesn't appear to be any change yet to the rest of my melasma. I did notice that my pores already looked smaller on the apples of my cheeks. More so on one side than the other.

I don't have much change yet, but wanted to add "before" photos to my review.

One Week After

All of microscopic scabs have disappeared. I never did peel except for one tiny flake on my nose. I think there has been a subtle improvement already. My skin is slightly firmer. My pores look smaller. My skin texture is smoother. And most importantly there is a SLIGHT decrease in the color of my hyperpigmentation. My fiance said today, "Did you get some kind of new awesome makeup?" I told him I did not and he said, "Your skin looks good. You can barely see the dark spots." I was wearing my usual products! I will take "after" pictures next week. I don't think the changes will be very visible in a photo yet.

2 Weeks After

Earlier I thought there was subtle improvement to my skin but after looking at the before and after photos side by side, I see that it was probably wishful thinking. I don't see any difference in my melasma, pore size, or fine lines. I will have to say that it was not worth $200 and I'm disappointed in my results. I can't imagine there will be any improvement as time goes on, but if there is, I will update. I go to the spa tomorrow for a follow up visit.

Follow up with Visia Analysis

Today I had my follow up visit with Visia analysis. The super hi-def photo showed a little less than 10% reduction in my melasma hyperpigmentation spots. If you have never had a Visia analysis, I recommend it. It shows you precise before and after results with photographic proof and measurements you may not see with the naked eye. The provider recommended 4 more treatments. $500 each - buy 3, get 1 free for a total of $1500. I chose not to do it because that is too much money when the results are not guaranteed and the change was too subtle. I am going to start the Obagi NuDerm regimen tonight.
The Laser Lounge Spa

The Laser Lounge Spa was beautiful and relaxing. I arrived a little early but they still took me right in with no wait. The staff seems courteous and professional. My provider seemed competent and explained the procedure thoroughly both before and after the treatment. I will definitely go back.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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Comments (14)

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Hi Ladies, I'm not sure if you have heard of Cosmelan but its suppose to be amazing for Melasma.
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I haven't. Thank you. I will look into it. Still suffering. Nothing topical is working. Mine might be hormonal.
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Cosmelan is a system, you get the clinic to apply the mask and leave it on for many hours, and then you use the creams they give you in a kit. It appears to be 1 of the few things that actually gets rid of Melasma. The reviews I read were really good, the formula has been altered over the years and I think the most recent one is Cosmela 2, however I think the results are really amazing it was designed by a spanish doctor I believe and I've seen a real life before and after and I was shocked at the results.
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If you saw about 10% reduction with just 1 treatment and 4 are recommended, is it safe to say after 4 sessions you might see 40% reduction which would be pretty impressive?
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I think your results are actually really good. I see diminished melasma. I have the same problem so I'm hoping for similar results.
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Do you think this will work on African-American skin? I am really desperate!
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I totally understand your desperation! Don't you just hate melasma? I don't think Fraxel is solely for Caucasian skin but I didn't see much difference for the $$$ I paid for this treatment. If I didn't get the Groupon, one treatment is $500 and they recommend 4 treatments to see results. That's a lot of money for me with no guarantee. I'm about to start Obagi now. I just purchased the starter kit for $350 + $75 for the tretinoin cream. I will start using that tonight.
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Thank you Melonball. Please keep me posted on how it works. I can't spend another dime on product unless I know it is working.
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Thanks for sharing your story with us.  How many sessions did you purchase?  Definitely keep us posted on your healing process and results.

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I only purchased one session for $200. I wasn't ready to commit to it since I understand the results aren't predictable on melasma.
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Totally- Melasma is a tough cookie, what works for one person might not work for the next (I have it too).

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Exactly...my problem is I don't see many african-american women posting about it. So its hard to know what works on skin with darker melanin. Before the melasma... I would describe my skin as carmel. Now its just green/brownish if that makes sense.
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Ugh that sucks.  I looked at some Doctor Q&A to help you find some answers but I noticed you had commented on at least one so I'm guessing you already checked that out!  Have you seen a Dermatologist about it or had any luck with anything?  Keep us posted!

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I am trying something new now. I just started the Obagi NuDerm system. I thought about your comment and wanted to let you know that there is a photo in the brochure of an African American woman who had melasma and she looked so amazing in her after picture. You can see the same one if you go to the before/after photos on the official Obagi website. (Not sure if I can post links here, but you can easily find it on google.) I can't speak from experience on Obagi since I just started using it, but the stats look impressive in the brochure. I also agree with Jill about thinking about talking to a dermatologist. Sometimes health insurance will cover your visit if not the products. Obagi NuDerm has some products only available by prescription.
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