I decided to do a series of Fraxel treatments about a year ago, and just had my fourth one today.
I wanted to post because I feel the root cause of many negative reviews is going to a sub-par doctor or clinic that doesn't manage the risks as easily and exhaustively as they can be managed. My first recommendation is to go to a Dermatologist who is helping you with your overall skin problems/plan. I worked with my Dr. for about 1 year before my skin was "ready" to undergo the fraxel treatments.
With each treatment I follow the same routine:
- start taking Valtrex 1 day prior to procedure in order to ward off cold sores
- take antibiotics that eliminate breakouts starting the day of treatment
- I am numbed for ~ 90 minutes and also take Vicodin and Valium.
These three things combined really make the pain managable as it's only for about 25 minutes. (it is still uncomfortable though, so I don't know how folks do it w/o drugs!)
My Dr. does "gentle waves" following the treatment, which helps with the healing and re-building of collegen. I also go back and do a quick gentle waves the next two days. In my estimation this shaves one day off the healing cycle when you're really red/swollen.
I ice non stop the first two days, sleep sitting up, and continue icing on the third day, too.
I drink TONS of water to help with the swelling (ever tried to get rid of bloating? Same premise)
~ 4x per day I apply NeoCutis restorative skin cream and obviously wash my face with mild soap (Obagi) and use 60 sunscreen (my derm office recommends Ti-Silc which works well)
Overall the results have been amazing. I had major scarring on my face from repeated bouts with cystic acne growing up (I'm currently 39). After the first 3 treatments people kept mentioning how great my skin looked, but they couldn't quite "place the difference". One person even said it looked like a got a face lift! My melasma improved as well, to the point that the gal who gives me facials was BLOWN AWAY when she saw me 2 weeks after a fraxel. I had my fourth today, and will have one more. My Dr. recommends doing them about 2 - 3 months apart. After 5 I will let things heal completely, and maybe do a touch up 1x/year or something.
I do my fraxels on a Wednesday morning and work from home the next two days. By Saturday evening I'm able to go out and no one can notice the difference.
My healing cycle is very predictable:
- red and immediately swollen day of, but not too bad - moon face red/swollen days 2, 3 (but not sooo bad -- my eyes never swelled shut, etc. I'm just unsightly)
- By fourth day a bit bronzed and swelling is significantly better. I did one where I didn't do Gentle Waves and if that's the case then I'm at this stage on day 5)
- 4th day I am able to run errands and go to social events - dry/sand paper feel for about a week. After about 4 - 5 days I use my Clarisonic which I think helps with the healing process.
If I do it on a Wed. by Monday I'm back in the office looking better than I did the previous week. After 2 weeks my skin feels normal again, and I'm able to get a full facial with peel 2 weeks later with no issues/discomfort.
Again, I think the most important aspect of doing Fraxel is treating it as one component of an overall plan with a trusted Dermatologist. I wanted to share my experience as the postings on this site freaked me out so bad I almost didn't go through with Fraxel, and that would have been SUCH a shame. I hope this review is helpful and wish everyone the best in working to fix issues that affect them in a negative way.