Happy with the Results, Happy with the Experience

I'm 44 and have had a few consultations for...

I'm 44 and have had a few consultations for various procedures in reference to my acne scarring. Until Fraxel, I didn't have any hope that what was underneath my skin wasn't worse than the pits that were already on the top of my face. I have used Retin-A (sporadically) for the last few years.

When I went to my dermatologist I was given information on Fraxel just over a year ago and advised that I probably (needed 4 treatments. I scheduled the first fraxel in May 2007--he advised that he would not do them closer than 1 month apart. Lidocaine was applied to my skin and I waited for an hour while it took effect. They then removed the Lidocaine and applied a blue gel and then the laser treatment was used. Protective goggles were put on my eyes and my biggest fear was not being able to see what was going on during the procedure--but I told my doctor and he talked during the whole process which eased my anxiety. My cheeks were the most painful part of the experience because they had the most scarring and required the most passes with the laser, however, it really wasn't that bad. He wouldn't go beyond what I could tolerate and simply wouldn't make more passes on my skin.

I washed off the blue dye with cold water and a sponge and it removed almost all of it immediately. I was given ice packs in the office and then drove home and applied ice packs again until the next day. It was as painful a recovery as a bad sunburn but didnt last as long. I didn't have any pain after the following day. The skin bronzed but then became normal in appearance within a few days. The temporary swelling filled in all of my scars and wrinkles but that subsided to reveal the actual results.

I immediately found that the skin texture and pore size was much improved and the skin coloring was improved immediately. I then had my 2nd treatment in June (1 month later) and had less pain, less swelling but no big results. I had the 3rd treatment in August--by this time, I was already noticing more permanent results from the prior laser treatments (that took about 2-3 months for the collagen production to become noticeable). It is now December--my third treatment was almost 4 months ago and I am very pleased with the results so far. I would like to have the next treatment soon but, in my opinion, I should have spread each treatment out for 2-3 months to give the skin a chance to have the Collagen increase and then the next one, rather than having them closer together when the Collagen itself hasn't had a chance to catch up.

I only need to wear powder and sunscreen now 99% of the time when I've worn foundation since I was a teen and a special "pore minimizer" makeup for the last few years to try to camaflouge the pits from the acne. You can see some of the scars but they are nowhere near as deep, there aren't as many and I can see the new skin growth coming in from the bottom up. Except for an occasional pimple, my skin cleared up immediately (I went in with acne and came out without it!? Don't know how!).

I don't think there's anything out there right now that would have worked better for me. I'm fair skinned, had acne pitting and had some sundamage and discoloration. The new laser tip doesn't require the blue dye and the machine can now go deeper than it did because of a change in FDA approval. Maybe it was my doctor because I read some bad reviews here..but I'm extremely happy with it and will have at least one more treatment and live with the results which is so much better than living without any hope of any improvement or worse scarring than before. Worth it for me--and I hope if you're considering this you take into account what results you expect, your skin type, etc. My doctor was already my dermatologist who got the laser (and had already been trained on it). Best wishes to you all...I know how horrible scarring can be to live with.
++++++++++++++++++++UPDATE++++++++++++++++++
Update: I haven't had my last treatment yet but expect to make the last appointment soon.

I was recently contacted so I logged back into this site to respond. I am surprised (and saddened) to see that only 54% felt this treatment was worth it and wish I could understand why as my results have been so positive in comparison.

I've been free from wearing corrective pore-filling makeup for almost a year now and some deep wrinkles between my eyes and at the side of my mouth have even smoothed out(because of the collagen production). My skin is not perfect but its easier to live with the remaining scars I have now (which are smaller and shallower) then it was to live with some of the deep pits I used to have. For me, this treatment has been life altering. My intention was to get relief from the scarring but I've found that the collagen that was produced from this treatment has given me a more youthful overall appearance.

I'm still grateful for the treatment and for this doctor and staff.

UPDATED: I haven't had my last Fraxel treatment...

UPDATED:

I haven't had my last Fraxel treatment to date.  I'm not sure how much it is per treatment anymore--my last review was for prices quoted in 2006 which was approx. $3000 for 4 treatments back then. 

Yes, I'm still very happy I had this treatment.  I had a lot of acne scarring with deep pitting and hard edges on the scars so makeup with fillers was the only option before.  The scarring is there in some places where it disappeared in others but I have not had my 4th treatment yet.  The only problem has been some slight darkening of the skin on my upper cheekbones which may or may not be related to the laser but, I think,  the result of sun damage (I haven't had the doctor look at it yet).  I don't usually wear makeup, even powder, but when I do I can wear just a touch of foundation and it evens the skin tone.  (It's sure better than trying to cover pits which took me a long time each morning.)  The other advantage is collagen because my skin is more youthful than it's been in a long time. 

My dermatologist recommended this treatment during one of my usual office visits and I had the procedure in his office.  I may see if I can obtain photos to update later.

Henry Ford Hospital-Dermatology, W. Bloomfield

Yes--he was not only gentle with the laser, he was calming when my eyes were covered and I was afraid.

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