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.