I had Fraxel Laser treatment 2 years ago. My over-50 skin was dull with fine lines and several brown sun spots. I have olive skin, medium to large pores, tiny blonde facial hairs - have never had acne or troubled skin - do not burn in the sun (I tan) do not have wrinkles other than fine lines around eyes/mouth. I have never smoked,consume no alcohol. I have thick skin that does not respond to even the highest level of glycolic peels. I did not need to wear foundation at 53 as my skin tone was even and clear. I wanted a glowing "dewy" complexion again. I wanted the fine lines, the few spots to disappear.I chose my cosmetic dermatologist with care and happily paid the fee of $1100 a session. (A discount if you pre-purchased 4).
My Doctor was excellent - attentive, confident with the laser and I would still have her do the procedure if I were a candidate. After 2 sessions I realized-too late- I am NOT. Within 2 days of the Fraxel treatment (yes, my face was swollen like a pumpkin - red,juicy) I began to form bumps under the skin - like a cyst - but they were not acne - a washcloth accidentally removed the top layer of skin on the "cyst" and released clear fluid. A small,raw, jagged ulcer remained. It took at least a week for each to heal. (from the bottom up like a puncture wound) I returned to my doctor (after the follow up) as these cysts were not dissipating.After one healed it was replaced by another.I had NEVER had problem skin.
My dermatologist came into the examining room with 2 other doctors. (My intuition told me I was NOT the first case with a problem.) She didn't touch my face or examine it under magnification - (another indication I was not the first) and prescribed oral antibiotics. She insisted she had "never seen this before".PERIOD. After 6 months the ulcers were replaced with small cysts that had a facial hair emerge. Two years later I have not had a single WEEK without between 1-3 small cysts on my lower jaw. I have small pigmented "scars" as if I had had acne in my past. Diet changes have no effect.
My self diagnosis is that my hair follicles were damaged below the skin. I am 56 with a mild, continuous case of cystic acne ( there is absolutely nothing in the cysts but an emerging facial hair) For one year I had a dewy, glowing complexion that people commented on.(the lower jaw bumps covered with a concealer)My complexion has since returned to "real time" - a little dull with fine lines. Just like before - but I now have a legacy of cysts.
Had I known before that that would be the "trade off" for a year of dewy, younger skin I would NEVER have had the procedure. NEVER. I feel like Fraxel should conduct a study of cases like mine - and warn others. At least inform them of the risks - the PERMANENT risks if you prove to NOT be a good candidate.