This doctor’s office had a groupon type offer for a full face, so I took advantage of this offer. For $200 it was worth it. After reading all these reviews, do not commit to multiple sessions, even if you get a discount. Fraxel may not work for you and it appears the risks increase with the more times you have this procedure and the increased strength of the settings and number passes on your face. Do not get this procedures back to back. Wait for x number of months to wait and see your results the first time around.
Since I had a CO2 laser about 10 years back I was afraid of having demarcations around my face. My doctor started me off with an 8% custom made hydroquinone cream from a local pharmacy to help with redness and blotchiness 10 days before the procedure. Procedure was held on a Thursday morning and I went back to work with a puffy face, and yes the puffiness (around the eyes) was the only thing noticeable to my peers.
Although I met with a board certified doctor who recommended my settings, a RN did my procedure. The doctor was there the entire time. I can echo the sentiments of most other people in this forum, 45 minutes for the emla cream to take effect, the doctor came in and blocked my face, and away we went. My settings varied and the number of passes too. Six passes on the forehead and chin areas (I believe at a setting of about 45-50) and eight passes on the cheeks due to acne scarring, with 6 passes at a lower setting around the eyes. Even with the emla and the blocks, the pain around the hairline and chin was excoriating.
It’s been about 10 days and the worst part of this whole ordeal was the extreme swelling around the eyes which lasted for four days before settling. The next two days my skin peeled very finely. I had a light redness, but not bad at all from the get go. Today I only have just a few spots which really are red, scaly and tight. So far I cannot see the acne scaring on the cheeks, but I am told I still need a few more weeks to see the effect of the treatment. So far I do not see hyper pigmentation, laser lines, orange peel skin or acne, or anything else. Having a previous CO2 laser my skin is very sensitive and I was extremely worried.
The only guidance I can provide if I had to do it all over again….buy burn gel and put it on your face the first day only. Honestly, I just did not see the redness and I had 8 passes at a moderate level. I learned this from my CO2 laser days. Everyone heals differently, but I would not have my eyes done again. The swelling is not worth it. I did buy aquaphor for my eyes only. Drink lots of water and apply cold compresses. You are MIA for the entire weekend.
Makeup does not cover swelling! In order to keep breakouts down, see if your doctor can provide you with RX of minocycline for a few weeks before and after along with a hydroquinone. I had only a few breakouts but they were manageable.
Most important, when you do meet with the doctor, make sure you ask what the recommended settings will be. Will they be aggressive and how many passes etc. You don’t want to be saddled with large bills and no improvement at lower levels. I asked three times and emphasized that I would like to see improvement the first time around. The doctor is trying to make money and uses the sales pitch, “you will see more improvement the more times you do this”. But at what risk? It’s unknown. Don’t commit to more until you assess the process first.