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Fraxel Re:store - Laguna Niguel, CA

I am 35 yrs old, with fair skin, freckles and...

I am 35 yrs old, with fair skin, freckles and strawberry blond hair (German/Irish background). I decided to get the Fraxel Re:store to help with crows feet and wrinkles around the eyes, and crepey skin/laxity under the eyes. I chose the Fraxel Re:store for the minimal downtime vs the Re:pair (and I thought I would save the stronger Re:pair for when I'm older). I got the "eye package" - which is 3 treatments to the area around the eyes and the upper and lower eyelids. I decided not to get the entire face at this time.

I was a bit nervous given some of the reviews on here, so asked many questions of my doctor. I know that I'm the "perfect candidate" of this laser based on my skin type, but still wanted some reassurance. I have also previously have a few IPL's - with good response in improving skin coloration/freckle removal - and looking back, I think those IPL's helped prepare me for the pain. After talking with the doctor/nurse, I was also told that not having my entire face done, just the eyes, meant that I'd also most likely have less overall pain (as it's less surface area, and the area around the mouth tends to be the most painful).

So day of procedure, I get there an hour before to have the numbing cream applied, and I take 2 Advil. Also, given that I got the "eye package" - I was told to take Prednisone (an anti-inflammatory). I'm usually not big on taking prescription pills, but they said they highly recommended it as the eyes/eyelids tend to have significant swelling (more so than the rest of the face), and they worry about they eyes swelling shut. So I took two Prednisone. I had also taken a small amount of Bromelain as well (a natural anti-inflammatory).

As for the procedure itself, I didn't think it was that bad. Again, having previously had IPL's I think I was somewhat more prepared for that rubber band/pricking/stinging feeling. What I will say to be prepared for though is the eye shields. Because of getting the upper eyelids done, they have to put in protective metal eye shields (like contact lenses). If you are at all claustrophobic, this may be difficult for you. I'm only slightly, but I will say it's kind of a freaky feeling to know your eyes are open and you can't see anything. I hate to akin it to a "buried alive" feeling - but that's how I felt. That, more than anything was the most uncomfortable part of the treatment as it got my pulse racing.

The good news is that they do the eyelid treatment first, and as soon as they're done they take the eye shields out - thankfully! Then they continue on with the rest of the surrounding eye area. The nurse and assistant who did my treatment were very nice and talked throughout - obviously trying to distract me from the pain. Though personally, I thought the treatment pain, while unpleasant, was definitely bearable. They did 4 passes with the laser.

When the treatment was over, they applied Biotine cream and gave me lots of other moisturizer/cleanser samples. They also recommended that I purchase Neosalus, a prescription cream that is a non-steroidal cream meant to help with the itchy/flakiness, especially the several days post procedure. Neosalus is typically prescribed for eczema/dermatitis.

So I get home and have the typical post-treatment pain (on a scale of 1-10 I would say a 2-3). I ice the eyes for 10 minutes every 2 hours, and am surprised that there really wasn't much redness/swelling. After three hours, any pain completely subsides and I actually felt fine. I continue to apply the Biotine several times.

Next morning (today), I wake up and definitely can see more swelling. Still not much redness, but definitely swelling. I tried to sleep with 2 pillows (as recommended), but that was uncomfortable so ended up with my normal one pillow. I think some of the swelling may have been due to that.

We'll see how this progresses, but wanted to get my first review in now, before I forgot any important facts. I'll update my review as the days go on.

Today is day 3. There was still some swelling when...

Today is day 3. There was still some swelling when I first woke up, but it seems to decrease as the day goes on. Still red and the skin is definitely flaking. Thankfully I took today off work, as it would be really difficult to cover with makeup, particularly as the redness is only around the eyes, not the whole face. I attached some new pics, and realized the flash from the camera was making my face look better than reality. You can see the difference.
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MaLG - Sorry so long in response. I wasn't certain on the answer and needed to confirm with the office so it was just the 1550 laser that was used. Since you have mentioned the dual, I have done more researching and it sounds appealing to me based on some results. I might want to consider:)
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Thanks so much for posting your experience! So you did not have the Fraxel Dual laser, correct? You had the 1550 that penetrates deep into the skin layers? The Dual has the 1927 laser as well and I'm wondering if you used that one? Thanks!
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I just posted some new pics, as it's now been 6 weeks post procedure. You can see for yourself if you think it's worth it. Not much difference if you ask me. I also made a note on the pics where I'm smiling with makeup on, regarding Botox. The Botox obviously helps reduce the "scrunching" under the eye, so I didn't want anyone to assume any improvements were only from the Fraxel.
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I'm not sure of the exact settings (I'll ask next time I'm there), but she did say it was "the highest setting." And yes, they did do the actual eyeball. This is why I needed the metal shields (similar to a contact lens) in my eye.

I've looked at my "before" and "after" photos, and while I think it did reduce some of the pigmentation/freckles around the eye, I'm not seeing any significant tightening/wrinkle reduction yet. One other point to note - for me, it did cause some residual swelling under the eye. This took several weeks to go away, which I was not happy about. And I'm going on week 6 this week, and there is still some really mild redness. No one would probably notice it but me, but I can still tell, particularly on the bridge of my nose and the tops of my cheeks (where the most redness/blistering was in the after shots). I'm hoping this will continue to diminish over time.

So my opinion to date is mixed. No significant results, no huge drawbacks (other than downtime). I think I want to let it go a few more weeks before any more conclusions. But I did decide not to do my 2nd and 3rd at this time. They recommend 4-5 weeks between procedures, but given that it took me 2-3 weeks for the redness to go down (not 3-5 days!), there was no way I was going to have another procedure before I felt I was properly healed.

I've read all the reviews on this site as well as others, and I do think it works for some and not for others. There are many variables at play, including your skin type, how you heal, the exact equipment, the skill of the doctor/nurse, etc. Depending on the mix of those variables, I believe that's why the reviews are mixed.

I'll keep updating as time goes, and try to get some recent pics up soon.
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Can you put up a current After pic please? Thanks!
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When they did your upper lids, they actually did the lid over the eyeball? and not just the upper eye area? Just curious bc I had the upper eye area done (below the brow but above the lid) and didn't know we could do over the eyeball. Look forward to seeing your results:)
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Bless your heart for posting such a detailed review and for including your photos. I also have the same coloring as you and it's so amazingly helpful to get your firsthand account. I hope it turns out spectacular (and that you post the photos)!
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Hi. Do you know your settings? Best wishes!!
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It's been a little over two weeks since the treatment, and it definitely took the redness much longer to go down than I thought. For me, that 1-3 was baloney - it was definitely a solid two weeks. Although I do believe I had the highest setting possible. I think it's still too early to see any significant results, but I'll update my pics soon. I can say that I did see lots of the little freckles on my eyelids are now gone, but I'd like to let it go a couple more weeks before making any conclusions.
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Thanks so much for sharing! I have exactly your coloration -- fair and freckled -- and would love to see the final results, and hear how you now feel about the procedure.
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Hi SoCal, 

Very detailed review you provided for the community, which is awesome. I'm glad you posted now so you wouldn't forget, we'd love to know how things progress. Even in your pictures where you are puffy it doesn't look that bad at all. Can't wait to hear more. :) 

Thanks so much,

-Britt

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