I am 42, with generally great, super-pale skin. Just a few fine lines, and some mottling due to melasma (on cheeks, and temple), plus some very minor redness on my chin and nose, and a couple scars. Fraxel Re:Store was presented as some great Fix-All way to address these concerns. I paid 3 grand for a package of 4.
I am not paranoid--I use Botox and a little Juvederm, and happily microderm and glycolic peel my face. Plus I had rhinoplasty and lip implants (don't to those--I'm like the only person on earth who had a good experience with them. In fact, most doctors won't do them anymore.). I mention these so you know I'm NOT against cosmetic procedures as a rule. But Fraxel is, in my mind, a TOTAL turkey.
My doctor is a good guy, and his assistant, who did the Re:Store treatment, appears competent. But this equipment has me spooked. In fact, four months after starting Fraxel (bought a package of 4, of which I have done 3), I can honestly advise: DON'T BOTHER. It doesn't help dermal melasma (from birth control pills) in any meaningful way. Or with my facial scarring.
I swelled up like a pink pumpkin after treatment, and really looked weird for about a week, especially under the eyes. I am grateful for that, because in some way, I think it indicates that I still have good circulation/healing in my face...I've always bruised/swollen easily anyway, and I'm hoping this means my body is good at recovery because I am now *seriously* afraid of the long-term negative effects of this largely time-untested treatment.
The treatment was extremely painful for me, even after an hour of numbing cream. I squirmed the whole time and had to take multiple breaks during the 8 passes over various parts of my face. The air hose, blowing cold air, was only helpful in distracting me from the pain. Unlike some here, I didn't smell any burning or see any red dots on my face after--either of which would have stopped me in my tracks!!!
After reading the horror stories here, I am going to forego the last treatment and ask for reliable glycolic peels instead. I am wary of the long-term effects. So far, the only bad effect I can see is extreme dryness/brownish redness under my eyes, right on on the ridge of my cheekbones. That only showed up two weeks ago, and I'm hoping it's temporary. I had the last Fraxel in, I think, early January.
Yep, I wear physical block sunscreen, don't ever allow direct sun on my face, and moisturize religiously--but still, no real change in the dark spots, and now this mystery crap under my eyes. Which I plan to treat as if it were a burn, because I believe on some cellular level it is. (I will be doing acupuncture treatment to the face, to restore blood flow, as well as using topical herbal burn remedy by Blue Poppy).
I have not seen any laser scars or dot/track marks on my face, yet. No new wrinkles or scary skin laxity, yet. But I am on the lookout. My pores do appear somewhat smaller, and it def. temporarily improved fine lines--which didn't bother me to begin with. Didn't do SQUAT for the piercing scars on my face, or the scar on my chin from a childhood accident, and it was of no use whatsoever for the melasma.
In fact, one wee red capillary on the side of my nose looks bigger. Gee, thanks Fraxel--that's awesome!
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't get any of the nightmare long-term damage that people report here. I don't care about the lack of improvement at this point. If I escape with no permanent damage, I'll consider that victory enough!!!!