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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!


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



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.

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 tmes
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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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So sorry Janey it's hell and I know what you go through. Our skins seem to have very similar texture. I'm very disheartened and I have been looking into something I swore I would never do, dermabrasion with recell perhaps, not game yet. I wish you strength and courage , it's tough road we are on but not alone xx
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what doctor did gave you the fraxel treatment?
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Also I think your skin is very pretty. I think you like many women see microscopic things others don't see. I'm not saying it's not there; I'm just saying it doesn't look bad and it's not obvious from the pictures I see on here.
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Have you tried Kinerase or zinc? Skin cancer runs in my family as well and at young ages. I had fraxel at a young age as well and very aggressive. Kinerase is a very healing cream and is different from other creams. It was invented for burn patients. I know zinc sounds silly but I had lots of texture problems etc. and it really helped even out my hormones. I take a food based zinc that can be taken on an empty stomache. Also vitamin D3 lots of it. I take 4 a day. If you live in the north most of the population is vitamin D deficient.
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I may have missed it but what % did you use? I ask because when I've had the peels I wait 3 weeks between them. Was yours a peel or pads? Get well soon! Sorry you had such a bad reaction.
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It was a 10% glycolic acid cream or something like that. Not even a peel! I even washed it off after a few minutes to make sure I didn't get a bad reaction like last time. That time I just got red skin and pimples. This time it was a full on rash with milia on my chin and under my nose. I had bumpy hives under my eyes which went away after 1 night. It's still dry, creepy and rough and I have more wrinkles and open pores on my cheeks. It's been almost a few days one I hope this is going away. Everything is burning my skin. Just using honey and lots of emu oil and hoping for the best.
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Weirdly the only place I don't have problem is my nose, which is where I had the fraxel but everywhere is sensitive.
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I've been on these boards going on 7 yrs from my Erbium damage done in 07. I went in for a few scars that today I would gladly take back. I was red for months, broken blood vessles, dent from fat loss, more scars, larger pores. I was & am depressed. I went to so ,many doctor to help, none wanted to touch me. I found one Laser specialist. He tried smoothbeam, affirm, perfecta, fraxel dual then i had 3 more fraxels since he was the top doc in the country & I thought it would help. It didn't do any more damage but it didn't do any miracles either. I lost 30lbs from stress, went on meds for anxiety & meds to sleep that's how bad it's been since the first laser damage happen to me. Last month I tried to fill the dent with juvederm & he put a little under my eye & now I have a puffy eye for the last month. I'm a mess. Now I'm sticking to needling, it's safe & to me does just as good as the fraxels without the heat. I can not tell you not to go but I'm just warning you. If you do go tell them not to use high settings. Mine did & destroyed my life. I don't go anywhere becasue of how I feel with my scars. I've tried all kinds of natural products & store bought products. Obagi & retin a is too strong for me now. I tried peels but gave them up since I find an exfloiate that is just as good as peels called aqua cure. It's on you tube. It takes tons of dead skin cells off your face, they roll off in balls. I would never want anyone to go through what I am. If your worried about a few dark spots just use lemon & a good foundation. I thought I was going to be one of the lucky ones but it turned out horribly wrong. Don't take the risk esp if it's for minor things that make up can cover.
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Hello Sats, Your honesty and willingness to admit what
is really going on for you is incredibly brave, thank you for sharing - as you can see there are many like minded people here who have experienced similar
feelings and being able to help support eachother through this outlet helps. 

Thanks again for taking the time to share. I wish I could say something to make you feel better, I feel for you and the others going through this. I myself don't have perfect skin, in fact very far from it. I suffer with deep rolling cystic acne scars and I have just grown to live with them. Many time I look in the mirror and I pull my skin back (as it smooths out the scars) and I wish I had porcelain/perfect  skin - but I don't. You just have to find a way to move forward and look at the good things in you life. I hope you find the strength within yourself to put this behind you somehow and start to enjoy life again - it's waiting for you. Please take good care. 

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Thanks Eva, I try to be strong but after so many year of living with this damage it's takes a toll on you. Relationships are ruined because you don't want to be seen, you depend on your family to get things for you, you miss events & family functions. Nerves are shot. If it happen on a spot that could be covered I wouldn't feel like this but when it's on your face you can't hide it & make up doesn't do a thing except making it look worse. I only wish I could get out of this depression. After having so many treatments to help & they don't it gets to you. I hope to have my life back some day. Taking meds for anxiety only makes things worse because you get addicted & they don't do any good anyway when you look in the mirror. I have such compasion for people who are dealing with this. One day your fine then the next your ruined & you can't do a thing about it. That's why I write as much as I can to try to make people think about one little procedure that can change your life. All I wanted were a few scars gone. Not my life. Thanks for the encouragement.
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awww, gosh I feel for you...I really do. I know, being on your face is hard. I hear you on how one event, self decision, can really change your life, I have a review on this site Blackberry11 different situation, similar reaction. I was a mess for a year....I still hate my decision and wish I could go back and change it, but I have accepted that I can't and working towards resolving it. We all have things happen to us in life, and we can't control the outcome of our decisions that we make...you went in with good intentions....from there it is out of your hands but you can control how you handle the situation you are in. I don't want to sound like I am preaching to you, and I do realize fully that being on your face how much harder that would be. I have a movie I want you to watch - please watch it, It was my first step towards healing...this movie will especially touch you -trust me. It's called "Happy"  I will send you the link to you PM, share with your RealSelf friends...I am telling you this movie was amazing. Please take care of yourself and keep in touch. 
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I would love to chat more about your decision to do derm abrasion. I am an esthetician in NY. Dermabrasion is extreme. Can you post or send photos? You can find me on facebook Carrie Kaplan Skincare or search my for my blog also Carrie Kaplan Skincare.
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Not sure if this was for me as I mentioned dermabrasion but go to my review there are pictures there that show my laser damage, as well as my profile picture
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Thanks for posting .... I think you need to concentrate on treating your conditions. which to me look "treatable" if in a gentle fashion. If you would like to discuss off line - send me direct message.
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Janey44- I would love to see a few more photos? Is that possible? I am sorry to hear about your experience with Fraxel. There are probably other less "invasive" and harsh solutions for your concerns that you can try - the key is to gradually change the texture and appearance of your skin. Baby steps, really. There are so many products out there over the counter that can be very confusing to the consumer. Knowing your skin type and conditions and what ingredients work best for them is also a good start. Finding a Skincare professional with your best interest at heart is next. And trusting them! Start slow, maybe a facial with them, and then move on from there to maybe a light series of peels. Gradually increase the strength over time. There are sensitive peels out there for every skin type and condition. Give it time and put a skin care plan in place that works into your lifestyle, budget and be realistic. Change doesnt happen over night but it can happen! Doing your research is a good start! Good luck!!
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I will try to get some better pictures and post them later. Thank you!
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I have extremely sensitive sink and breakout with all moisturisers even gels. I was my face with Clinique foam wash and I have to make sure I get off all dirt. I then use a natural gel first aid products that works wonders on many different skin ailments. It's called "Nature's First Aid" it's a bit expensive but worth and lasts a long time even when purchasing their smallest bottle. I hope this may help in some way. Good Luck! M
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Just curious seilatan, do you mean Natures Aid? I use that, and it's wonderful!
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I read your post before looking at the picture. With the tone and language you use I was expecting to see a deformed nose, but you look fine. You look like a normal person who happens to have large pores. I'm 40 and have always had large pores and nothing I've tried from diet to moisturizers to pore minimizers to Peels/Retinols have ever done much for me. I've just accepted that I have large pores, I moisturize daily, I use retinol once a month, and I always wear make-up when I leave the house, but I don't worry about it. No one is perfect and this is just one of the undesirable things people can have and thank God I (and you) don't have a serious burn or birth defect or the like. I suggest that you don't allow yourself to look at your face in the mirror other than for putting on make-up and moisturizer. If you don't allow yourself to obsess you'll be much happier. If you can't help yourself, you might want to talk to a therapist. I had to do this in my 20s and I learned a lot about how to be happy with what I have...which is a lot...and how to not focus/worry about minor imperfections.
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It's difficult to capture the texture issues that I'm taking about and they are ore evident in the first picture, as you can see the lumpy texture. They are even more evident in person, especially in day light. I am aware of my large pores, don't obsess about them and didn't even seek to treat them with the laser as many do. My treatment was for scars. You can see the icepick scar at the end of my nose, but my main focus was an indented scar between my eyes, it's not pictured. Basically, my skin is mess. I try not to obsess about it, but the last few years have seen a lot of negative changes and this is just the icing on the cake. I hate what I see in the mirror and admittedly it's not just he fraxel damage, its also the rapid aging of my skin. I have been seeing a therapist but am too ashamed to even bring it up to him as he's been less than sympathetic when I brought up feeling huge when I put on 50lbs during my first pregnancy. He also has pretty bad skin. I know how I look isn't the end of the world, and I try not to let it be. Perhaps I've been a bit dramatic in my tone, but as I said, the damage is not apparent in the pictures, part of the reason I hesitated posting them in the first place. I also feel it's important to post our experiences on here, good or bad for others to judge. If you think my skin looks fine, that's your perception. If you had seen the changes I have after fraxel for your self you might think differently.
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I also want to thank you for out post because it did make me feel better (and a little worse if that makes sense lol). Focusing on what we do have is important. Maybe I wouldn't be as hung up on this if other areas of my life were going a little better, but I'm a busy stressed out working mom and that exacerbates any situation. Since this is a forum for discussion of plastic surgery outcomes I was trying to discuss the unsatisfactory outcome of this procedure, and it was unsatisfactory and unpleasant. I may not be deformed, but my skin definitely does not look better, and in fact looks worse. No matter how I handle the situation or feel about it I've been ripped off and I'd like to prevent others from going through that if possible.
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I don't think you should hold back on sharing your feelings about your skin with your therapist, in fact reading that he also has bad skin- he may have more of an insight on how to help you. I saw a therapist about my acne scars...I have ice pick as well on my cheeks from cystic acne...I thought she was going to think I was over reacting and that at my age I should have just accepted them...but I hadn't at the time. I was balling my head off explaining to her how I felt about them. She asked me many questions such as: "How do they make you feel?" I told her it's like when you buy a perfect wooden table and then over the next few years it has all kinds of scraps and gauges in it and it doesn't look as good. She then asked  "What do you think others think when they see you?" and I explained to her, when I was done...she said (and I will never forget this, it was my first step to healing) she said something like."Well Eva, you know that wooden table may have some scratches and gauges in it over the years, but it's imperfections only add to it's history and make it more beautiful and some people go looking for that that wooden table, not the perfect one" It hit me like a load of bricks...I will never forget that session...I know you may feel like you did this to yourself because you ha the laser treatment, I felt the same...I blamed myself for not eating right (if only I had become vegan sooner as that is when my acne stopped) I blamed myself for poking at my face when I had a breakout...all kinds of blame towards myself...and even some towards my mom for not seeing I had a skin problem and helping me earlier on...but in the end what's done it done, I don't love my skin, but I don't hate it anymore either, I have accepted it. I know it's hard,  it's your face, but you would be surprised at what a beautiful smile and a positive happy spirit can do for your appearance. Take care : ) 
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