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Fraxel Re:store Worth It for Acne Scars and Melasma

I decided to do a series of Fraxel treatments...

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.

I had my 5th fraxel five days ago and am amazed by...

I had my 5th fraxel five days ago and am amazed by the results. I thought my skin texture (scarring) and melasma improved significantly after the 4th, but there is such a noticible improvement after my fifth, and I know it will significantly improve from here. I realize I still have some swelling, but compared to this point last time my skin looks incredible.

I advise folks to stick with it -- it totally works!! Again, find a great Dr. (I highly recommend mine if you're in the SF Bay Area).

Best of luck!

San Francisco Dermatologist

Conservative approach; excellent risk management/mitigation; approaches as part of overall skin program; understands how skin issues affect self esteem

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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I have been doing Fraxel treatments almost a year now. I have deep acne scarring. I see a plastic surgeon for this procedure. The settings that I am on is depth 8 intensity 50 the higher up you go on both the deeper the laser goes into skin. This is my 6th treatment and my scarring has decreased about 45%. My doctor indicates she will be able to diminish the scars about 75%. I am okay with that. great results so far.
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Hi C. Nova, Doctor information appears above the review. You must be signed in to view, which requires free registration for an account.
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What is the name of your doctor? For those of us in SF area this would be helpful.
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Kimberly I agree if you are having positive results I would finish your treatments...This doesn't work for everyone.... The only thing I would suggest is to do a spot treatment on a scarred area before doing the whole face.... Or if you buy a package to take one of the sessions and divide it for deep scars only and use it to spot treat in between sessions to see how your skin reacts to the next setting up before you do it to your whole face...... You get double or triple the treatment on the scars and reduce the risk of a reaction to the next level on your whole face...... Good luck My intent is not to discourage people with acne scarring to avoid treatment only to find the best doctor and laser for your skin type... I never realized how debilitating it can be until after my complications I now have indentions ect...and am desperate to have them fixed,,,But not desperate enough to not ask the right questions and go to the absolute best I can find in the U.S it's worth the time and trouble compared to a bad outcome... Make sure you talk to the doctor not a consulting nurse ect who may work on commision or get bonuses. A patch test is important when trying lasers... The latest thing is not always best... There is something to be said for tested tried and true....Known effects are better than the unknown.... You must ask the doctor how many he has done you don't want to be his 1st or even 10th patient... If you have stretch marks or a scar on your body try it there first Before you subject your whole face.... I would invest in a bottle of TNS recovery serum...And the Revale coffee berry night cream for day...Checl them out on line or ask your doc.... It can cut healing in half and has growth factors.especialy with the aquapher over it
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All I can say is I've only seen positive changes ... if you've seen positive results after 3 I'd continue or consult with your Dr.
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OY! I just had my 3rd one. And this site is scarring me. I dont want my face to disfigure. Were all doing this to make it better, right? You people are making me feel better. Is there anyone that had it done 1 or 2 yrs ago, that still looks good? Im scared of the long term effects. The manufacuter's 3 yr study showed no major down falls. But, I see different on this site?????
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Gentle Waves is a light-emitting device which uses a series of lights to project light under the skin and cause a chemical reaction to enhance collagen production. It doesn't hurt at all -- you just close your eyes and they put flashing panels up to your face for a few minutes. You need to do without sunscreen, FYI. I guess it's the collagen production that it helps. It is so easy it's hard to believe it helps, but it does for me. My Dr.'s office charges $75 / treatment. I do one right after Fraxel and then two more, one a day the next two days.
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Leah D -- I actually don't know my exact settings, just that they are using the settings for deep acne scars.
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What are "Gentle Waves"???? Please describe and explain. Thanks!
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Your review is most consistent with my personal experience. I had my first treatmen 3 weeks ago and going for second in 3 more weeks. I am doing this for mainly acne scars. I already see about 20 percent improvement in scar depth overall. I am curios what settings are being used on you?
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I don't go out much the first couple of days. For example I put on 60 in the AM, after a gentle waves I had this afternoon. When I'm going out more (e.g. Saturday I should be able to go out and about and looking like I haven't gained 30 lbs) I put on a couple times in the day; more if I'm going to hike or something like that. I also wear a hat or visor unless I'm going somewhere that isn't an option. I hope this helps -- Fraxel has only helped with my discoloration, but I am diligent about sunscreen and use a good one -- TiSilc.
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Do you apply sunscreen every 2 hours to your face? I've only done 1 treatment, but I'm hearing that people are getting discolouration even when they apply sunscreen. This really scares me.
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