I had my first fraxel treatment three days ago. Prior to the treatment, I almost canceled my appointment after reading so many horror stories on this website. I'm glad I didn't!
The treatment was not as painful as I feared. I would describe it as uncomfortable/ mildly painful. (A numbing cream was spread on my face prior to the treatment)
After the treatment, I felt very little pain (really like a sunburn). I didn't look bad either, just red and a little swollen. Throughout the evening I used ice packs on my face. The next morning, same thing: my face was slightly swollen and a little red. Same thing on day 2.
Now three days later, my face is starting to look bronze and the swelling is basically gone. My skin feels very dry and is peeling a little but I can already see that there is an improvement in the tone. I didn't have to go to work these past three days as I took a few days off but seriously I could have gone if I had to as my face never looked that bad.