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High Hopes for Results - Houston, TX

I am a 44 yr old caucasion woman with fair skin...

I am a 44 yr old caucasion woman with fair skin that freckels easily. I had my first dual Fraxel treatment 8 days ago. My goal is to erase old acne scars and improve pigmentation from birth control pills and sun damage. I had the treatment in a very well respected and qualified dermatology office - all board certified.

Day 1 -- A numbing gel was applied to my face 1 hour prior to treatment. I felt totally numb including my lips. I feel I have a fairly high pain tolerance but I have to admit this was one of the most painful procedures I have endured. The setting was low (do not know the exact setting) and it felt like intense heat passing over my face. I believe I had 4 passes across each section of my face taking about 15 minutes total. Towards the end I was not sure I was going to make it - I was coming off the table! I am not saying this to scare anyone - but maybe ask for a pain reliever if you are sensitive. I do believe my skin was more sensitive than usual because I had been using Retin A. I will not use my retin A at all during the treatment phase. After I received ice packs and cold air on my face and my face felt like a blow torch had passed over it for about an hour and a half then suddenly it was much much better. I was very pink/red and had lots of swelling around my chin and eyes. Sleep propped up on pilows.

Day 2 -- lots of swelling and ice packs. My skin felt leathery. I was glad I had nothing planned because I did not feel very energetic. My face was still hot and sensitive.

Day 3 --swelling down and starting to flake on my chin. Skin still feels leathery but I was out and about that day.

Day 4 -- I call this the ugly day. Peeling, still some swelling and the eruption of small whiteheads and red bumps on my chin. Also the beginning of a cold sore under my bottom lip. I was prone to these as a child.

Day 5 -- My skin is looking so much better - swelling gone with some pink remaining. Continue to see the whiteheads come to the surface and the cold sore is bothersome and red. I am putting Abreva on 5 times a day.

Day 6 -- If it wasn't for the chin breakout and coldsore I would be thrilled. My skin looks smooth and refined even though I have been warned 1 treatment shows little results and it takes up to 6 months for full improvement. I have spoken with my doctor and I will be taking Valtrex before and during my next treatment in a months time for prevention of cold sores. I am also applying a prescription cream to my chin. I am very hopeful to avoid the cold sore during my next treatment.

Day 8 --very little pink to my skin. My pores look smaller and my skin is more refined looking. Acne scars already reduced in appearance. Breakout is healing as is cold sore.

Bottom line is I will be having my second treatment in a month. If I can avoid the cold sore I will continue with my plan to have 4 treatments total. My acne scarring is considered moderate as is my pigmentation. There are lots of scary reviews here. I think it is important to compare apples to apples. I had dual - that is very different from some of the other types of treatments.

I had my second treatment 6 weeks after my first....

I had my second treatment 6 weeks after my first. I commented below before adding this update but my second treatment was completely different as far as my reaction. With the addition of 3 advil and 1 1/2 hours of numbing gel I felt very little pain.I experienced only moderate swelling around my eyes as opposed to the severe swelling of my entire face for 3 days during the first treatment. I had the red sunburned appearance for 3 days. I did not break out in coldsores due to taking Valtrex the day of and the day after the treatment. I did not break out all. Basically I tolerated the procedure so well and had such little swelling that I would not have known this was the same laser! My skin continues to improve in clarity and my pigmentation is reduced. My pores are much smaller and overall my skin seems smoother and even toned. I hope to post my before and after pics from the doctor after my last procedure. I plan on having #3 in two weeks. Right now they are recommending 4 sessions with maybe just a touch up here and there for session 5. My chin is rough and had some acne scars so she went 12 passes over that area instead of her usual 8 and I can see much improvement in texture and pore size. I know the intensity was increased during my second treatment but not sure of the actual setting. Basically the first treatment was hell but the second a breeze and I continue to see improvement as I was told would happen gradually over months out.
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Comments (10)

Where did u go?
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I too am from Houston don't listen to doctors they are out for your money, fraxel messed up my skin. Listen to me, people are melting away the fat and the dermis, it is a burn, results don't show until two years later.
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I agree, the damage on your face just gets worst and worst as time goes on. My face has.
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Edit that to mean I hope I do have the same positive experience as the second treatment!
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you may see some improvement but most of it before the one month mark is just swelling, if u plan on doing more treatments spreed them 3 months apart.

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I had my second treatment 5 weeks after my first and what a difference. I took Valtrex the day before and the day of the procedure and did not have any coldsores break out after. I kept the numbing gel on my face for 1 1/2 hours and took 3 advil and felt a huge reduction in pain. I was able to talk through the entire procedure and felt only very mild stinging. My face was much less swollen and actually back to normal within a day. The red sunburned look lasted for 3 days. I had absolutely no breakout this time. I continue to see a reduction in pigmentation and pore size almost daily. My next treatment is scheduled in 2 weeks. I am hopeful that I will not have the same positive experience.
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Hi, your (Day 1 experience) made me feel scared... hahaha... I'm about to do my first fraxel session for my acne scars :)
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You mentioned pigment change due to birth control pills - I didn't even know there was a link between the two, very interesting!

Did you go off Retin-A for a while before doing the fraxel, or did you use it right up to your appointment?

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A definite link for me between birth control pills and pigmentation. It is a fairly common side effect for many women. Obagi has helped a lot. I went off the Retin-A for about a week prior to my treatment. I think the Retin-A had a lot to do with my hyper sensitivity during the treatment.
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I am considering having this done and I'm 44 - i have hyperpigmentation from birth control and years of laying in the sun. I found a doctor in LA who has done over 3000 of these procedures but I was told you have to be off retina a for two weeks prior to the procedure.

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