I am a 39 y/o female who had the Fraxel Re:Pair procedure 3 days ago, and while I would not recommend it for those with low pain tolerance (like myself!), it already appears the results are worth the intense pain. When I first arrived for my appointment, I was given one 10mg Valium and one Lortab. My nurse applied a numbing gel (with an infuser), which stayed on for just over an hour, then my dermatologist applied approx. 20 shots of a local nerve block. He began the laser treatment on my upper eyelids (where no nerve block could be applied, of course), and the pain was incredibly intense. The lower eye area (also no nerve block here) was worse, but I was assured the areas which had received nerve block shots would be less painful.
While they were indeed, the pain was still considerable, and I had to request a moment to 'catch my breath & grit my teeth' on several occasions. The doc made 4 passes (two horizontal and two vertical) over each facial area, and the pain seemed to intensify with each successive pass. By the time my face was finished, I told him I had changed my mind about the neck area, but he convinced me to at least let him make two passes over each neck area. He lowered the laser intensity setting for my neck (from 40 to 30; my eyes were at 20, I believe he said), and it was still barely tolerable, IMO.
I was a bit shocked when they had me look in the mirror after they dried my face & applied the Aquaphor, but at least after seeing the immediate result (redness, swelling, oozing, bleeding, eyes swollen nearly shut), I felt I had justification for all my in-procedure whining. *g*
For the first three days, I have applied the vinegar soaks every 2-3 hours (setting my alarm clock to do those during the night), followed by a thick coating of Aquaphor. I am also taking Arnica tablets to lessen swelling, and applying bags of frozen peas to my entire face a few times per day. I have, of course, experienced much discomfort, but no real "pain" to speak of. The vinegar soaks do sting like mad, but the stinging subsides quickly.
I had numerous facial acne scars, a high-forehead (touching my hairline) scar from a forehead lift (5 years ago), an under-chin scar from a chin implant (6 years ago), the beginnings of crows feet at my outer eye corners, and crepey (not 'creepy'! *lol*) undereye skin from an overzealous lower bleph about 8 years ago. The forehead/hairline scar has already disappeared (though I did lose some hair in the front where he made contact with the laser), the chin implant scar is 100% gone, and all but 3 of my acne scars (the 3 deepes/largest ones) have filled in nicely. My upper and lower eyes are still considerably swollen, so it's difficult to say how those will turn out; based on the early results to my other areas of concern, though, I'm cautiously optimistic.
Besides the eye-area swelling, my face is still a deep purplish-red, but given the ablation level of this procedure, I suppose that's to be expected. I was told I could expect things to 'tone down' to the equivalent of a 'bad sunburn' within 5-7 days. *fingers crossed*