My Experience of Fraxel Repair - Great Britain

Previous CO2 in 1990s for bad acne scarring around...

Previous CO2 in 1990s for bad acne scarring around chin and upper lip. Prolonged erythema (almost a year) followed by some patchy hypopigmentation. Have v pale skin so overall much better than pre-laser.

In recent years, marked deterioration in the condition of skin on my face and neck, leaving me looking much older than my 50 years. Heard and read about Fraxel. Discussed history with dermatologist and decided to have face, eyes and neck treated.

Very detailed account (feel free to skip through...

Very detailed account (feel free to skip through it) of my Fraxel repair aftermath written as I experienced it. I had the forehead and some PDL on veins done two weeks ahead of the rest of the face, eyes and neck.

Btw, for me Fraxel Repair was done at high settings and the treatment was painful but just about tolerable. I had local anaesthetic cream plus blocks injected in several places for each procedure. The islands of numbness from the blocks gave transitory and much needed relief from the sometimes intense burning of the laser passes. I did not need to ask for treatment to be paused during either session. I wouldn't want to go through it again, though.

PART ONE (FIRST TIME - FOREHEAD ONLY)

Day One - First night after Fraxel repair and PDL (Cynergy)

Comfortable, no pain. Skin oozing, washed and started vinegar soaks upon arrival home (1730), then around 2000, 2300, 0300, 0700

Overnight, took no chances on the swelling, and slept propped high on half a dozen pillows. However, my lack of a mattress means that my posterior is now more than a little sore today LOL

Day ‘Two’
Got up around 10am next morning. Could see slight swelling on forehead and cheeks.

Washes during the day at 1100, 1330, 1630, 1930, 2230. Probably taking best part of an hour to prepare for each of them, do the cleanse, leave the vinegar soaks on for about ten mins and then wipe off and aquaphor up. Later in the day, much less oozing - no more blood in it - and bits of skin coming away easily towards the temples. Resisted the urge to scrub :-)

I hadn’t realised that ‘keeping upright’ meant no bending down at all, no lowering of head below other parts of the body! My naivety became apparent during this second day. By mid afternoon, it became apparent that oedema associated with the forehead treatment was impressive. Swollen pads extending from bridge of nose diagonally out onto cheeks. Eyes hooded by oedema above and looking sunken due to oedema from nose and cheeks.

Used cool packs on forehead and cheeks during evening to ease swelling. No real sensation of heat in the skin, though.

Will see what the morning brings.

Intend to get up just once during the night to wash with the vinegar soaks. At this point, skin seems clear, no infections present, redness gradually becoming more uniform. Some bruising on temple and forehead from local anaethetic injections now beginning to disappear into the rest of the redness.

In the main part of the face, apart from the oedema, some flushing to the cheeks, a small number of pinpoint spots but otherwise fine. Inside one nostril, the skin pad at the entrance is slightly swollen.

Day ‘Three’

Slept better. Did washes at 4.30am, back to bed at 0530. Up around 9am.

Skin is darkening - sort of burnt biscuit red now, fewer pinpricks visible, bruising to temples more apparent. Swelling around eyes and into nose and cheeks continued to grow a little through the day. Used ice pack late pm, which probably didn’t make much difference, but I felt better for having tried. I look more like Miss Piggy than I ever have before :-)
The vascular laser marks are no more than half a dozen in number. There may be some contribution to the general swelling in the cheeks from the Cynergy laser but I can detect no swelling in the chin area. Therefore, I suspect that the swelling is almost entirely down to the fraxel - lovely!

Have decided to stop the antivirals at this point. I have never had cold sores and the worst of the skin trauma should now be over. Will take my chances on not getting shingles.....

Vinegar wash at 1530, another at 2030. Will do a final one at 0030 and then to bed. Area just starting to feel a little itchy, so adding an antihistamine into the mix. Conscious now also of the reason for the antifungal, having read more of the reviews and medical comments of others. Hope eyes will start to improve tomorrow.

Day ‘Four’

Woke at 0630ish, got up and did the vinegar washes. Looks like swelling is starting to abate. Will see how it is later in the day. Skin now looking like the top layer is soon to slough away.

A shower at 1145. Cautious, though, because I don’t have baby shampoo and was concerned about mine irritating the delicate skin. Managed to wash hair and body. Returned to living room to find aquaphor virtually intact on forehead. Did the vinegar soaks then.

Next lot at 1700. Feeling like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Still incredulous that it would be possible to wear make up by Friday. We will see.

Vinegar wash at 2300. Temptation strong now to wipe at the whiter rough surface skin. All petroleum jellied up for the night. Maybe the ‘new’ skin will come through tomorrow.

Took another antihistamine tonight. Intend to go without tomorrow night.

Swelling definitely decreasing. Still there but down a quarter from the peak yesterday.


Day ‘Five’

Swelling continued to decrease through the day. Cheeks still noticeably swollen, on right more than left. No sign of peeling, though white and rough skin surface evident during the vinegar soaks.

Used the alternative cream for the first time this evening. After 45 mins, it began to feel tight. I put a layer of the aquaphor over the top and all was well. ‘Maintenance’ much more straightforward now. Almost forgetting how strange I look.

The PDL marks are still there. Definite improvement round the entrance to the nose. Jury out on whether there will be any real difference in the cheeks.

No anti histamine tonight. Stopped taking the Valtrex yesterday. Still taking the antibiotic and the anti-fungal.

Am about to run out of the non woven swabs. May use face cloths instead if needed.

Day ‘Six’

Slept lower last night with fewer pillows and my bottom has now recovered from the shock of pressure all night on the first post op :-) Had a shower and dressed. Baby shampoo does not help my hair, sadly. Will have to risk my own stronger potion next time.

Did three loads of laundry and managed to meet only one person. Went to bins twice and avoided people.

Dead top layer of skin began to come away during afternoon cleaning. I may have rubbed a little at it on the right side. Hope that all will be well. Still using the aquaphor as a barrier cream.

Swelling? A little in the cheeks and eyelids. Probably not really noticeable to anyone who wasn’t subjecting me to scrutiny. The redness, on the other hand, is quite apparent. Not the deep darker red I remember from the 1998 peel; not yet, anyway.

Have been able to do a day’s work yesterday and today here at home without any real problem. Just happy that I haven’t had to go to meet anyone!

Day ‘Seven’

Friday today and I went to work at lunchtime with a layer of mineral makeup over the redness on my forehead.

Cheeks remain a little puffy and I can still tell that the upper eye lids have fluid in them but others may not notice particularly so long as I keep moving! LOL

Suppose that the biggest change is where the PDL was used. Now the nose and cheek marks are fading well. Will have my second shower of the day and see how I get on with removing the make up from my new skin.

Day ‘Eight

Well, today is the one week anniversary of my treatment.

Cheeks look normal, upper lids are the only place where there probably is a tiny bit of fluid but nobody else would know. Last dregs of the ‘old’ skin round the hairline came away today.

Bought cetaphil cleanser today plus some more antihistamines. I used four last week, so need to make sure that I have a supply for next week also. Got a couple of ee shirts twith wide necks, too, since I will certainly need them for next week’s process.

So, only the redness to go...

Day ‘Nine’

Have used dishwashing liquid on my hair today - read a tip on a dermatologist’s website - and it got rid of the vaseline which had weighed down my locks all week. The other shampoo didn’t touch it at all but this worked a treat.

Now for chat about the forehead itself:•
tone: mixed, though definitely better than it was before. Can see the track lines from the device. More noticeable horizontally at the top of the forehead but slightly visible under scrutiny in different places. Clear to see where the treatment stopped and where one patch may have been done more times than another.
•itching: yes, I have a little of that. Occasional pinpoint burning, too. No evidence of anything amiss. Forehead feels warm, if I pause to think about it, and a little tight. All seems to be expected and nothing which causes me a problem
•texture: that is good, very good at this time, though I recall from the CO2 that residual low level swelling meant that it looked a little less good a year later, so am prepared for that. We will see.


Two months later:
some of the previous textural legacy of teenage acne re-emerged. Softer and less obvious than before. Frown lines have not returned at this point, neither have forehead lines. I still have pinkness but not to the extent that it is a problem.

Rest of face and neck were done in PART TWO of my Fraxel journey.

Very detailed account (feel free to skip through...

Very detailed account (feel free to skip through it) of my Fraxel repair aftermath written as I experienced it. I had the forehead and some PDL on veins done two weeks ahead of the rest of the face, eyes and neck.

PART ONE (FIRST TIME - FOREHEAD ONLY)

Day One - First night after Fraxel repair and PDL (Cynergy)

Comfortable, no pain. Skin oozing, washeD upon arrival home (1730), then around 2000, 2300, 0300, 0700

Overnight, took no chances on the swelling, and slept propped high on half a dozen pillows. However, my lack of a mattress means that my posterior is now more than a little sore today LOL

Day ‘Two’
Got up around 10am next morning. Could see slight swelling on forehead and cheeks.

Washes during the day at 1100, 1330, 1630, 1930, 2230. Probably taking best part of an hour to prepare for each of them, do the cleanse, leave the vinegar soaks on for about ten mins and then wipe off and vaseline up. Later in the day, much less oozing - no more blood in it - and bits of skin coming away easily towards the temples. Resisted the urge to scrub :-)

I hadn’t realised that ‘keeping upright’ meant no bending down at all, no lowering of head below other parts of the body! My naivety became apparent during this second day. By mid afternoon, it became apparent that oedema associated with the forehead treatment was impressive. Swollen pads extending from bridge of nose diagonally out onto cheeks. Eyes hooded by oedema above and looking sunken due to oedema from nose and cheeks.

Used cool packs on forehead and cheeks during evening to ease swelling. No real sensation of heat in the skin, though.

Will see what the morning brings.

Intend to get up just once during the night to wash with the vinegar soaks. At this point, skin seems clear, no infections present, redness gradually becoming more uniform. Some bruising on temple and forehead from local anaethetic injections now beginning to disappear into the rest of the redness.

In the main part of the face, apart from the oedema, some flushing to the cheeks, a small number of pinpoint spots but otherwise fine. Inside one nostril, the skin pad at the entrance is slightly swollen.

Day ‘Three’

Slept better. Did washes at 4.30am, back to bed at 0530. Up around 9am.

Skin is darkening - sort of burnt biscuit red now, fewer pinpricks visible, bruising to temples more apparent. Swelling around eyes and into nose and cheeks continued to grow a little through the day. Used ice pack late pm, which probably didn’t make much difference, but I felt better for having tried. I look more like Miss Piggy than I ever have before :-)
The vascular laser marks are no more than half a dozen in number. There may be some contribution to the general swelling in the cheeks from the Cynergy laser but I can detect no swelling in the chin area. Therefore, I suspect that the swelling is almost entirely down to the fraxel - lovely!

Have decided to stop the antivirals at this point. I have never had cold sores and the worst of the skin trauma should now be over. Will take my chances on not getting shingles.....

Blood pressure seemed fine today, though I felt tense a couple of times. Will continue to take tablets until the next Fraxel treatment, in light of this experience. Need to make appt with doctor.

Vinegar wash at 1530, another at 2030. Will do a final one at 0030 and then to bed. Area just starting to feel a little itchy, so adding an antihistamine into the mix. Conscious now also of the reason for the antifungal, having read more of the reviews and medical comments of others. Hope eyes will start to improve tomorrow.

Day ‘Four’

Woke at 0630ish, got up and did the vinegar washes. Looks like swelling is starting to abate. Will see how it is later in the day. Skin now looking like the top layer is soon to slough away.

A shower at 1145. Cautious, though, because I don’t have baby shampoo and was concerned about mine irritating the delicate skin. Managed to wash hair and body. Returned to living room to find aquaphor virtually intact on forehead. Did the vinegar soaks then.

Next lot at 1700. Feeling like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Still incredulous that it would be possible to wear make up by Friday. We will see.

Vinegar wash at 2300. Temptation strong now to wipe at the whiter rough surface skin. All petroleum jellied up for the night. Maybe the ‘new’ skin will come through tomorrow.

Took another antihistamine tonight. Intend to go without tomorrow night.

Swelling definitely decreasing. Still there but down a quarter from the peak yesterday.


Day ‘Five’

Swelling continued to decrease through the day. Cheeks still noticeably swollen, on right more than left. No sign of peeling, though white and rough skin surface evident during the vinegar soaks.

Used the alternative cream for the first time this evening. After 45 mins, it began to feel tight. I put a layer of the aquaphor over the top and all was well. ‘Maintenance’ much more straightforward now. Almost forgetting how strange I look.

The PDL marks are still there. Definite improvement round the entrance to the nose. Jury out on whether there will be any real difference in the cheeks.

No anti histamine tonight. Stopped taking the Valtrex yesterday. Still taking the antibiotic and the anti-fungal.

Am about to run out of the non woven swabs. May use face cloths instead if needed.

Day ‘Six’

Slept lower last night with fewer pillows and my bottom has now recovered from the shock of pressure all night on the first post op :-) Had a shower and dressed. Baby shampoo does not help my hair, sadly. Will have to risk my own stronger potion next time.

Did three loads of laundry and managed to meet only one person. Went to bins twice and avoided people.

Dead top layer of skin began to come away during afternoon cleaning. I may have rubbed a little at it on the right side. Hope that all will be well. Still using the aquaphor as a barrier cream.

Swelling? A little in the cheeks and eyelids. Probably not really noticeable to anyone who wasn’t subjecting me to scrutiny. The redness, on the other hand, is quite apparent. Not the deep darker red I remember from the 1998 peel; not yet, anyway.

Have been able to do a day’s work yesterday and today here at home without any real problem. Just happy that I haven’t had to go to meet anyone!

Day ‘Seven’

Friday today and I went to work at lunchtime with a layer of mineral makeup over the redness on my forehead.

Cheeks remain a little puffy and I can still tell that the upper eye lids have fluid in them but others may not notice particularly so long as I keep moving! LOL

Suppose that the biggest change is where the PDL was used. Now the nose and cheek marks are fading well. Will have my second shower of the day and see how I get on with removing the make up from my new skin.

Day ‘Eight

Well, today is the one week anniversary of my treatment.

Cheeks look normal, upper lids are the only place where there probably is a tiny bit of fluid but nobody else would know. Last dregs of the ‘old’ skin round the hairline came away today.

Bought cetaphil cleanser today plus some more antihistamines. I used four last week, so need to make sure that I have a supply for next week also. Got a couple of ee shirts twith wide necks, too, since I will certainly need them for next week’s process.

So, only the redness to go...

Day ‘Nine’

Have used dishwashing liquid on my hair today - read a tip on a dermatologist’s website - and it got rid of the vaseline which had weighed down my locks all week. The other shampoo didn’t touch it at all but this worked a treat.

Now for chat about the forehead itself:•tone: mixed, though definitely better than it was before. Can see the track lines from the device. More noticeable horizontally at the top of the forehead but slightly visible under scrutiny in different places. Clear to see where the treatment stopped and where one patch may have been done more times than another.
•itching: yes, I have a little of that. Occasional pinpoint burning, too. No evidence of anything amiss. Forehead feels warm, if I pause to think about it, and a little tight. All seems to be expected and nothing which causes me a problem
•texture: that is good, very good at this time, though I recall from the CO2 that residual low level swelling meant that it looked a little less good a year later, so am prepared for that. We will see.


Two months later:
some of the previous textural legacy of teenage acne re-emerged. Softer and less obvious than before. Frown lines have not returned at this point, neither have forehead lines. I still have pinkness but not to the extent that it is a problem.

Rest of face and neck were done in PART TWO of my Fraxel journey.
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