Hoping for Healing After Fraxel Restore Treatment - Albany, NY

I had Fraxel Restore about 6 weeks ago with a...

I had Fraxel Restore about 6 weeks ago with a board certified plastic surgeon. I'll be staight with you. I have terrible skin. Enlarged pores on my cheeks, forehead, chin and nose, bad texture and discoloration from sun damage and and unhealthy lifestyle. During my first pregnancy I developed a few moles that really bothered me. I had the one between my eyes removed and 2 years later after I lost the weight from my second pregnancy it spread out leaving a long indented mark. I also had a huge ice pick scar next to it and one on the end of my nose. So basically I was already a mess before I attempted Fraxel.
Since the worst of the scaring was on my nose the doctor decided to just do the treatment on my entire nose to keep the texture consistent (should have been my first clue not to do this!) My second clue was when I asked him about adverse after effects he said he could "make a wound, but couldn't control how it would heal". I'm so stupid, I thought he was talking about surgical excision of the icepick scar.
I had the fraxel treatment, the procedure went ok. It didn't really hurt, but I was pretty worried about a couple of things. First, I asked the doctor if he was just going to use a high setting on the scars and a low setting on the non-scarred areas. He said "no, I'm going to use a high setting everywhere because we have to keep it uniform". Second, after the procedure my face looked way worse than a sun burn. All over I had a white sandpaper texture. It was so dry that I couldn't scrub off the ink he had marked the treatment area with.
The next day I woke up very swollen. My skin was so dry it cracked and bled in one place. I was told to just put sunblock and moisturizer on it, and stay out of the sun. Everything looked ok, although in the meantime I had found some scary reviews on here and was secretly freaking out.
About 4 weeks after treatment I noticed that the pores on my nose were looking larger and turning into little vertical slits. A week or so later the skin on my nose seemed to crinkle up and start to look like prune. I should also mention that my skin has never gone back to the same color and has a sort of pinkish brown hue that makes the texture look even worse.
I'm going back to see my doctor next week and I'm hoping he has some answers for me.
I went to sever doctors for consultations and tried to be careful when picking out one to do my treatment. I'm feeling very jaded now and wish I had never done this!
Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated!

8 weeks...

After reflecting on what could have happened to cause my bad outcome I wonder if I had use a better moisturizer it would have helped. I think my treatment was unusually strong and I should have been advised to use something stronger like they do after repair. Anyway, little if any improvement.

9 weeks

Seems to be looking worse today. I went grocery shopping and caught my reflection in some mirrors, my skin looked so lumpy and porus even from feet away. I'm so depressed.

No improvement

Looking bad again for the last few days. I was doing a no dairy/ no gluten thing until thanksgiving and then fell off the wagon. I wonder if that's what it could be. I'm going dairy free again and I'll see if that will help. If it doesn't work I'll drop gluten again too. I've been using psoria gold ultra sensitive 2 x daily for a month (3-4 times daily the first week). It never really looks good, but some days the pores look smaller and crepeyness is less noticable. Moisturizer helps with this too. I'm still freakishly deformed. I'm going to a new derm next friday. I don't have much hope for him because he has a laser in his office, but it's worth a shot. I figure his close by and takes my insurance, maybe because he has a laser he'll know something (ha-ha!). I make my self laugh. Anyway, I'll just try all the local derms until I've worked through them all and have to go out of the area. I've got nothing but time. If they're unpleasant I'll make another appointment and bring my 3 year old and 18 month old and let them trash their office. At least I still have a sense of humor!

Today

The texture was really noticeable in the light of the car. Not a great pic.

Talked to a new dermatologist

Talked to a new dermatologist. He has a fraxel machine in his office, but he said he would not have used it on me. I am too young, and it wouldn't have helped the scar I was trying to treat anyway. He looked at my skin and agreed I had texture issue, but not just where the laser damaged my nose. He said that if I had normal skin there was no way I would have had skin cancer at 27. He said my skin was genetically different and I had to take special precautions, like wearing a floppy hat anytime I went outside. Sunscreen would not be enough. He said the texture issues were most likely due to stress on my body because of pregnancy, and maybe the fraxel didn't help. He introduced me to the aesthetician who he worked with. They suggested some 15% glycolic acid, maybe a peel down the line and the aesthetician said I had some dark pigment that would benefit from IPL (NOPE..... NOPE!!). I may try the glycolic acid, but at 10%, it's only safe for breastfeeding up to 10%, and since I still am, I'm not going above that. I can't find much information on glycolic acid and the risks, but I imagine they are much like retina A, as it does the same thing. He said he doesn't prescibe Retina A in the winter in the northeast, it too drying. If anyone has any infor on glycolic acid please comment or drop me a message. Thanks.

Picture of the damage

3 months post

3 months post and still no changes since the initial damage that showed up at around 4 weeks. Still weirdly dry looking skin, enlarged pores with fissures around them forming into lines and wrinkles all over my nose. I tried emu oil beginning a few weeks ago, it seems to be breaking me out. I took a brief break from it over Christmas and tried the glycolic acid cream 10%. This seemed to make the pores and wrinked more prominent. In retrospect it may have just cleared the pores of sebum and made them seem deeper. I don't know and I'm afraide to try it again. Maybe in a few months after I let the skin heal longer. Still using psoria gold sensitive 2x a day and cerave lotion. I wash with cetaphil cleanser. Tried raw honey the other day and it seemed ok, it smells nice at least. Made my baby laugh to see me put honey on my face. She's the one with the sweet face I told her!

Permenant damage

I'm pretty sure this texture isn't going anywhere. I'm ready to give up with the crazy creams and what not and just let it be. I have to learn to accept it. Problem is that in some lights it's almost invisible then boom. I look in the mirror in my car and it slaps me in the face. It's so ugly I can't stand to look at it.

New pic

This is the best I could do with my crappy cell camera but here are more pics

Pic

More

Very depressed

I tried the glycolic acid again and this time had a full blown allergic reaction. I used it once on a Saturday and then again on Tuesday and by Wednesday my face was broken out in hives and looked burnt. Pores were larger and I have a shiny orangepeel texture even worse then the normal condition of my skin. I'm very depressed and fear that I'm going to accidentally kill someone at work by giving them he wrong meds or my children will get hurt because I'm not paying attention. If only I'd never stepped into a plastic surgeons office in the first place. I'm going to try some antidepressants. I'm still breastfeeding but I can't live like this. It's so terrible.

Update

I was unable to sign on for a while and started another account where I posted a review on my plastic surgeons page. I'm glad I finally did it people have to know the risks of these procedures.
I tried to go on antidepressants but I had allergic reactions to 2 of them! I seem to get skin reactions from everything now!! It's crazy. I've taken both these meds in the past.
I'm done breastfeeding as my daughter is 2 and eating lots of food now. Life is stressful however and my hopes for gaining some normacy when my hormones went back to normal and started antidepressants are dashed due to these allergic reactions.
Skin is about the same, maybe slightly worse. I don't know. I try not to look in the mirror.
I'm hearing lots of buzz about accutane on here but I'm hesitant to try such a strong med. If I can't even take Zoloft I can't imagine what accutane would do to me if I reacted to it.
I'm going to try a long term spot test of some retinol if I can get it. I see a nurse at my derms office this week. Wish me luck!

Picture

Depressed again

Such ups and downs with this. Looking worse the last few weeks. I'm still not sure if it's something I did or just the natural progression of the damage. So depressed.

I wish someone could tell me what's going on with my skin

Made theirs take of looking at my skin in harsh light after I washed it and noticed the laser hole/pores looking deeper/bigger. I don't know if it's something I put on my skin or if the damage is just getting worse, the lighting or what.

Oops

Made the mistake* should be the first line lol so tired!
None

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
1 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
1 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
1 out of 5 stars Payment process
1 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Your skin looks pretty good to me. I think you have had some changes r/t pregnancy and hormones. You look to have fair, type 1 skin. I have similar skin, much am much older ( I assume). I too, get very little positive effects from lasers. I prefer peels, and good products. You mentioned that your lifestyle is not super healthy. Tell me what you mean by that. Nutrition, exercise, and choices made daily have more effect on your skin than any procedure. Honestly, you are really pretty, and may be a bit too self critical. But, who isn't, right? I think the derm who did fraxel on you was a twit. Btw, never use retin-a while pregnant or breastfeeding. Glycolic acid is very different. Not even close. It's best used as a wash (10 %), not a lotion for fair, sensitive skin. Down the road, when you are not breastfeeding, consider a TCA peel. It will do what lasers are supposed to, but don't.
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I used to be unhealthy pre kids but not anymore. I got myself together because I wanted to get pregnant. I used to smoke, drink, be lazy and eat bad food. I live as healthy as possible now. I agree the doctor who did my fraxel was a twit!! I'm using retin a now because I'm done breastfeeding. I'm only using it on my nose but it doesn't seem to be doing much good. I still have major orangepeel texture. Trying dermapen next. I will update in a few months!
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Sorry to hear other dermo's couldn't help but prescribe some glycolic creams etc. I am allergic to everything and have to use cetaphil on face and eucerine cream at night. I can empathize about allergies,i am allergic to everything such as Meds,food,grass,dogs,dairy,etc and even plastic so i can't live in a bubble. I used panoxyl for cystic acne on chin 4% peroxide and i was itching like crazy and had to stop plus it has sulfate in it and glycolic aci,what a nitemare! Those 3 ingredients do not work on my sensitive skin. I think you can just use simple stuff as i do or even oatmeal bar form aveeno on face,the best is all natural oats and just use it with water. Nothing else. See a great Dermo. wish you lived in California so my dermo could help you. they can suggest what to do to minimize and tighten pores. Sorry for your troubles. I wish you well
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Check out this link. It explains why you have the textural damage to your skin. ***removed link***
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Yes I've read this. Thank you. Restore was not supposed to be ablative however, we are still trying to figure out how such a "mild" procedure left us with so much damage.
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I wish you lived in Naples Florida !!! Your skin is not that bad !! You did not need fraxel in my opinion ; there is a peel called the VI peel that would help very much with your congestion, enlarged pores and eleven pigmentation and tone. You are never going to have porcelain skin but you can get it to where it looks more smooth and even. You have also jumped around quite a bit with products that are meant to be used in a very specific way . Glycolic acid is a strong exfoliant that literally dissolves everything in its path so you probably experienced a slight burn . Also consider other ingredients in the glycolic cream. Sometimes there are fragrances, botanicals and other acids in there that may not agree with you. It is also very important that you treat the whole body, meaning...... Everything you do , take medicinally , eat , etc., affects your skin. It is the largest organ in your body. A good medical esthetician would really be able to put you on a good home regime and monitor your home care for you so your not jumping around between treatment products . Pregnancy and childbirth has so many different effects on a woman's body and some of the most difficult can be all of the hormonal imbalances. This could have been the root cause of your skin changes and probably should have been the first to be addressed . I believe in diagnosing and then treating the problem....not the symptom.
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I agree I'm sure hormones played a part in my skin condition over all but I was just treating scars on my nose, 3 to be exact that should have been treated by spot treatments only. The ice pick scar shouldn't have been treated at all. I've jumped around with treatments because my skin has reacted baldly to everything I've tried. Recently I tried retin a but it made my pores look more stretched out, but shallower. Any theories on this? I assume from your post you're an esthetician in Florida. Is it supposed to make things look worse in this regard before they look better?
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Hi, Janey44: I got the same texture issues you have from one IPL tx. I think settings that are too aggressive are the cause, along w/ perhaps machine malfunction and the fact that the science on this is not well understood. I feel for your depression, the awful bumpy, hole-y texture and dry appearance has really gotten me down as well. While it's only a temporary fix, and as acne-prones we have to walk a tightrope between moisturizing enough and ending up w/ worse acne, I have found that using water-attracting/holding moisturizers helps the appearance somewhat. And I never needed moisturizer before IPL! Cerave Cream in a tub helps (if your skin can tolerate it, if not maybe the lighter day and nighttime lotions). I am also liking Paula's Choice Hydralight spf30 moisturizer, and I just tried and liked La Roche Posay Dry-touch Gel-creme spf50+ (have to order from overseas) as it seems to "prime" and blur the holes w/o making my face look oily and shiny. The Dr. who did the IPL suggested my longterm RetinA use thinned my skin and contributed to my bad IPL outcome and advised me to stop RetinA (tretinoin), but 2 other doctors I consulted w/ said phooey, tretinoin is good for your skin and can thicken it, just don't over do it. From what I've read, some people do well w/ tretinoin, and for others it is too irritating. I'd say the key is find a moisturizer you can use w/o breaking out, be sure to use ss, and anything that reduces irritation, do it. Anything that makes your face dry or irritated, don't do it. I can't believe that doctors are giving treatments that make skin look worse and passing it off as an improvement. I am really upset and am gathering all my info to make an adverse event report to the FDA. I can't beleive I paid good $ to ruin my face. The only consolation I can offer is that I think w/ time the texture will soften a bit. Be happy you don't also have burn marks, broken blood vessels, and unexplained chronic bleeding from the face, which is what I ended up w/.
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Hi IPLissues. I feel the same way you do and I'm sorry this happened to you. It is def about money. I filed an FDA adverse event report close to a year ago. I had a VBeam for broken capillaries on my face. The laser did nothing but make the caps look worse and a whole lot of other nasty stuff to go along with it. And they'll never admit to doing damage. There was a poster here in Real Self with the name Fighting Mad I think. She hasn't posted in over a year on here but I messaged her and she responded. Her posts are very interesting and she seems to know what she speaks about. She didn't say what she does but it has something to do with laser victims. She said she's dealt with literally thousands of laser damaged people. Thousands. It's very disturbing. This stuff goes on all the time. Only a small percentage of victims come forward. They know what these machines can do when stuff goes wrong. But it's not their face and they want that money. If duly can find her posts give them a read. Your not alone. Take care
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Wow I read about your bleeding issues and that is freaky. I do have broken caps unfortunately. They don't bother me too much. The wavy burn like texture and the holes distract me too much. I live cerave lotion I use it 2 x a day and garnier bb cream and sometimes smashbox primer which softens the texture a bit. One of my biggest problems is the tiny laser holes seem to get clogged leaving my skin with this really unnatural texture which is impossible to hide since it's only on my nose and the light hits it just right and it's all you see when you look at me. I have a rather unfortunate nose anyway. I'm thinking of just getting a nose job (when I have the money) and calling it a day. That way the texture will be less noticeable because the angles will not be reflecting overhead light so directly. I also have a deviated septum it wouldn't hurt to fix. I need to wait a few years to make sure my skin is in good enough shape to do it. My retin a experiment seems to be a fail as the area I'm putting it on looks more porus and rough.
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Sorry to hear you are feeling so down, are you reconsidering another acne treatment?
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I probably won't do it because acne isn't the thing that bothers me it's the ice pick scars all over the end of my nose. I don't even care about the texture problems on the rest oft face.
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Hey there, how did you appointment go this week with your dermatologist? Will you be trying the Retinol? Sorry this has been a struggle for you, try to stay positive and keep your head held high. 
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It was weird. They did give me something, I can't remover the name of it. Starts with a T. It's like retin A but gentle. They also gave me some clinamycin (spelling?) pads and cleanser. Don't know if I should use those. She also scheduled me for an acne "treatment" but I'm going to cancel it because I'm scared!
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Hi Janey44, were you given Tretinoin? It's basically the same thing. 
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Yup that's what it is. They want me to use it 3 x a week for 2 weeks then daily. Not sure if I should trust them! I certainly don't want to make things worse.
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PS - Also take it easy with other people's advice especially when they advice you to use whatever laser, peels, medicines and chemical peels. What works for some might not work for everyone, and if you try t use everything that someone on the internet or some doctor says is good, what might happen is you'll end up in a worse state due to overtreating your skin. If it's traumatized by laser what it needs is to RELAX.
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You don't at all look so bad in the pics! I say leave it, only use VERY mild ecological stuff on your skin, no acids, no peels, no laser, no clinic treatments! Let your skin relax and take it easy for a while. If you stare too much in the miror you will see things other people don't see. Also if you do too much you will make it worse. I had skin issues post laser too and the biggest problem is not the laser, it's the settings - NEVER start with high settings, low at first and see how your skin reacts!
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My son used Accutane at 19, and his skin today as a 37 year old is like a baby's skin. I was afraid to let him use it as a younger teen, because of the scarey side effects, so I made him wait until I felt he was finished growing, and he was an adult and could weigh the side effects on his own. It was pretty miraculous. He was extremely sun sensitive throughout the treatment, and if he scratched his face or neck in his sleep he would awake with claw marks. It wasn't comfortable, and he said it made him tired, but he pushed through it. He never had another breakout, and it completely erased the scars he had. This was his experience, hope this helps.
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Hi kathi5981, so glad to hear Accutane worked for your son!! Would love it if he would write a review about his experience, or you are welcome to write one on his behalf. 

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Good for you for posting a review! I hope that helps with closure. I still have yet to write the doctor who caused my laser damage and it's been 4 years. Talk about denial. Well I plan to this year to help with closure and to move on to healing myself by being the best I can be & hopefully to find some improvement. Keep us updated. I posted replies to your comment on your page. Been crazy busy.
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Hi Janey! Hope you are getting better, remember it is a slooooow process stay gentle and healthy and try stop stressing , crappy advice as I can't stop stressing myself lol, but I read increased oxygen take negates what stress does to your body so try and get some exercise somewhere daily , I heal so slowly anyway cuts and abrasions stay behind for weeks and months , and I realised my intense anxiety and panic 24/7 has not done any favours for me. How are you getting on? I look at your pics and it's very similar to my damage, but mine is more pronounced and deeper looking.its hard to take accurate picture of the holes and laser texture but if that how your skin is then I think you have very good chances of healing in time! No chemicals no makeup if you can, my skin behaves so much better now when I stopped washing it with cleansers, it's not oily or grubby at all. I wish I would have realised that earlier in my life(: please let us know how you are coping wishing you all the best.
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It's been 2 months since your last update. Anything new? My heart hurts for you and everyone who is here looking for answers. It has been 4 years this month. My skin looks much, much better...not 100% but close to 85% to 90%. The cobblestone look has faded. I've used Retin A which helped but I also had 2 TCA peels spaced months apart which made the most improvement. I went to the peel expert Dr Brody in Atlanta. He doesn't have many lasers. In fact the ones on the office are mostly used by his partners. I use fillers for volume and I just started Latisse on the hypo pigmented spots. One friend I've made here did absolutely nothing and her issues resolved around 18 months. Please don't let this interfere with your family. Hang in there...big hug!!
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Thank you FSRB and Mandy I'm doing ok. My skin still looks pretty bad. They did recover from the glycolic acid but not from the original damage. Because my skin is very sensitive my derm does not recommend any harsh peels. I may try a long trial of weak retin a as a spot test to see how my skin reacts to it, but for now I'm sticking to gental cleansers, moisturizers and emu oil. I'm researching needling and calling around about consults but I'll keep that on the back burner until more time has passed. Rushing is what got me in this mess.
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