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Fraxel: Restore - Painful


WHY I DID IT: fine lines, smile wrinkles,...

WHY I DID IT: fine lines, smile wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, acne scars around chin area

WHERE I DID IT: i went to a {edited - provider info is shown above the review for registered users}, San Diego, CA because it had the best deal for one treatment. One treatment is all i can afford for now, so that is why i did not get a package, otherwise I would have.

THE PROCESS: i didn't have a consultation, i just bought the treatment and scheduled the appointment. I got there a half hour before I was supposed to be there and filled out a couple pages of paperwork about my skin and health. Then she put numbing gel on my face, i accidentally licked it and it wasn't too bad tasting but it numbed my tongue for a few minutes then went away, probably because of the wetness. I also had a cold so i had to blow my nose a few times which may or may not have wiped off some of the gel.

I took one vicodin an hour before the treatment because i had heard about how painful the procedure is. I am glad I took it, i felt a little out of it during the procedure, like in another world. The technician didn't really talk to me too much or ask me any questions so it was up to me to get the information. I asked her if i could pluck hair after treatment and she said that shouldn't be a problem, but didn't sound too confident about her answer. I told her that i wanted an aggressive treatment.

She started on my right jaw area and the pain was very tolerable, i still felt comfortable and actually kind of felt good. Then after a few passes she said my skin was reacting very well and wasn't even red, then asked if it was okay if she turned it up. I said yes. she ended up doing 8 passes with 18 energy, 8 density.... she said 20 was the highest it would go. She also had a wand that blew out cold air which felt delightful on my skin.

Now, it was hurting. At times i felt like I wouldn't be able to take it any more! But i kept telling myself how good i will look afterwards, afterall, "No pain, no gain."
The pain was uncomfortable at times and severe at times... but for me it is totally worth it, even if i end up not getting the results i am looking for out of one treatment.... because i am glad i tried it to see what it's like.

AFTER TREATMENT: It took me a few moments to open my eyes, they were swollen and watery. My face was pink. She gave me two small, round ice packs to take home with me. She applied what i think was petroleum jelly on my face and I asked her if it was sunscreen and she said no then gave me a dab of sunscreen to apply myself. I brought a scarf and a wide-brimmed hat with me to where while i walked to the car.

I could still feel the heat in my face when i got home and for maybe two hours after the treatment, but it wasn't too uncomfortable.... i just watched TV and forgot about it. I didn't use the ice packs the rest of the day. Before bed I washed my face with Cetaphil and luke warm water.... warm water was too hot to my face. I slept with my head raised on two pillows to help with the swelling on my face.

THE DAY AFTER: My face is still very swollen and pink. My skin feels dry, especially around the mouth area. I feel really good about the procedure and the healing process. I will keep posting as i keep healing. Please ask any questions or post any comments.

It has now been 7 days since i had the procedure...

It has now been 7 days since i had the procedure and overall my skin is look fantastic.  My only complaint now is around my nose area i have a rash... i took a picture of it but it didn't show well in the photograph.  I put some hydrocortisone on it this morning.  I am not worried because i am confident that it will go away.  Thus far, i am very pleased with Fraxel Restore.  My husband even commented on my skin, he said it looks more even (not as hyperpigmented).  I have been staying completely out of the sun this entire week and plan to next week too to ensure the best healing for my skin.  I've also been drinking lots of water and taking fish oil and vitamin c (when i remember to).

11/11/09- it now been about 13 days since my first...

11/11/09- it now been about 13 days since my first procedure and my skin looks absoultely fabulous, i am glowing and my naturally puffy eyes aren't as puffy anymore.  i feel so pretty.  The only thing i am concerned about now are my pitted acne scars on my chin and jawline.  It isn't as noticable in pictures as it is in the mirror but i am planning on having my second procedure next week and will be assertive in telling the nurse to crank up the energy to at least 70 joules in those areas because that is the only way the laser can help my scars' appearances.  I'll post more after the second procedure.

Thursday, November 19, 2009.  I just had my...

Thursday, November 19, 2009.  I just had my second treatment of Fraxel Restore with Nurse Shannon.  I am very pleased with the treatment process.  It was very different from the treatment i received from Doctor Kristen 3 weeks prior.  With Shannon I felt like i was at a spa and felt like a million bucks, whereas, with the doctor I felt like she was more robotic and not as easy to talk to. 

I told Shannon about the scars on my chin and jaw area and told her that i wanted an aggressive treatment.  She talked to me throughout the procedure to tell me what she was doing and afterwards i asked her to write down the settings that she had the machine on because she used different settings for different areas.  This is what she did:

10/8/6 around my eyes; 35/8/6 on my forehead and nose; 40/8/6 on the side of my face and my chin area; and 15/6/6 around my mouth.  She did a few extra passes on my scars and even did a few passes on my neck because i had a scar there.

this is what the numbers mean: x/y/z; x= mjoules; y= treatment level; z= density/pass

The pain was not as bad in some areas, the eyes were the worst!  I took 800 ibuprofen 90 minutes beforehand.  Shannon did a really good job keeping the cool air on the areas that needed it.

it is 45 minutes after my treatment and my face is still burning and is more red than after my first treatment, but i like it because i know that my skin is going to look so fabulous in a few months.  Nurse Shannon recommended that i use hydrocortisone about 5 times a day for the first few days and sleep with my head raised on a couple pillows.  I will write more about my progress at a later date.

I did a lot of reading about Fraxel:restore and...

I did a lot of reading about Fraxel:restore and decided to do one treatment (that's all I could afford) at a medi spa because they had the best deal. I have fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and acne scars that i wanted treated.

On 10/30/09 I had my appointment. They put numbing cream on my face for an hour and then wiped it off and lasered me. I told the technician that I wanted an aggressive treatment. After a series of passes, she asked me if she could turn the energy up because my skin was reacting very well and wasn't even red. I of course said yes because i want more bang for my buck. She also had a wand that blew out cold air that felt really good on my skin. She put it on 18 energy, 10 density and did 8 passes.

It is very painful, felt untolerable at times, but i told myself "no pain, no gain" and tried to focus on how great I would look afterwards. I took a vicodin an hour before treatment because I had read about how painful the treatment is. I am glad I did. Right now, (30 minutes after the treatment ended) my face still feels hot under my skin, but is very tolerable. My skin is slightly pink and my face is swollen. Right after the treatment it took me a few tries to open my eyes.... they were a little watery and obviously, swollen.

So far I am very pleased with the way my skin reacted and a little disappointed that the technician didn't put it on the highest settings.... but then, she said she didn't want to risk me getting hyperpigmentation... so .... i can live with that. I will post more in the future about how my skin is recovering. please ask me any questions.

It is now June 2010, about 6 months since i had 2...

it is now June 2010, about 6 months since i had 2 fraxel restore treatments. i dont see any results. i won't be doing anymore treatments.

Dr. Kristen, Nurse Shannon - All About Me Medi Spa

My first treatment with Doctor K, she wasn't extraordinary and although she did an okay job on my face.... I feel like I could have been better cared for because she missed a few spots on my face. She didn't spend a lot of time answering questions and telling me about the procedure... i didn't even have a consultation. For my second treatment I asked for Nurse Shannon because I had spoken to her on the phone and I liked her; I am so glad I did because my second treatment was fabulous. During the procedure Shannon told me what she was doing and was very personable. She treated me really well and was really nice and informative.

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Well I've been in the medical field a while and aggravating damaged tissue during the healing process could cause scaring so scratching/scraping is never a good idea. Although I was encouraged to wash my face twice daily and apply creams whenever I felt dryness. But after day 5 I had very minimal scabs or dry skin. About 7-18 days later my skin looked amazing; no makeup necessary. Although now it's been about a month and aside from my reduced freckles I have about the same texture/appearance as I did prior to the procedure. Back to the original question; brown scabs probably won't last more than a week but everyone heals differently. Good luck!
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Thanks for the reply. No I haven't scratched or picked at my face... it's just when I wash my face I have tons of flaking skin in the sink lol.I wash in the morning & night. I was very gentle washing until tuesday I had to wash harder cause i wore make up that day for work. I was applying moisturizer every 3 hours, but since tues. I just do it in the morning and then right before bed. I'm on day 6 and it has gotten better, just the brown scab things are still on parts of my face alot feel off. I just wish my skin was smoooth again soon! & that my skin would stop peeling.
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Hi All,
I'm a 29 year old woman and I just had my second Fraxel treatment Thursday (it's Saturday morning) and had a huge break in treatment between the two (first was in mid-August) because of school. Although I'm olive complexion, I'm very fair and I have some acne scars and pitting on my cheeks (mild) from cystic acne resulting from PCOS. I also freckle a ton so I wanted both treatment for my hyperpigmentation and the scars.

This was my experience with the first:

Day 1: I put on Clinique Medical probiotic cleanser and creams (it comes in a package) post-procedure. I had tons of swelling and immediately noticed tiny pinpricks all over my face minus my eye area (which had been incredibly swollen anyway).

Day 2: Still no pain but the swelling around my eyes was incredibly frightening despite sleeping sitting up on pillows and taking dyphenhydramine. I also applied moisturizer every couple of hours and ice packs. The pinprick scabs literally covered every inch of my face and made me look very brown.

Day 3 and 4: No pain but it felt like my mouth was cracking from how dry my skin was. I didn't start peeling much yet, but I did notice some white pustules forming around my nose that were too small to be blisters. I'm thinking it's just trapped sebum under the dried skin from my pores. I continued to moisturize with Clinique but added Aquaphor to the dry areas to encourage their sloughing.

Day 5 thru 7: Incredibly peely. I've never felt such itchiness in my life. Thank goodness I was on Summer break since there was no way I was going outside. I was told that I had an intense setting (she said that for my age I'd heal well), but I looked like a monster despite my icing and creams and the pustules/blisters lasted around 10 days.

Before this last procedure I took inventory of my skin. A few weeks after the first procedure I had noticed some freckling under my eyes despite my religious use of SPF60 and limiting sun exposure. I used IS serums to help diminish pigmentation and continued with my Retin-A 0.1% almost nightly. Although my acne breakouts were far less because of my special care to my skin, the acne scars were still noticeable, my pores were still large, and my freckles were even more pronounced.

The second treatment (as I said before) was this Thursday around noon. I always use Carla at Marina Plastic Surgery, and she's a doll. Young, friendly, and super sensitive to what we want/need while in her care. The first procedure required nerve blocks (3 if I remember correctly that she injected under my lips/gums) but this time I told her I wanted to look human for Xmas so she went lighter and they gave me Motrin and Tylenol about 35 minutes prior instead. Yet again, some of the most painful "scraping" feeling of my life. Eyes, lips, and hairline are the worst.

Immediately after, they gave me an ice pack (my eyes get super huge from this procedure) and applied sunscreen all over. This time they also put me in front of this machine that blinks like a strobe and is used to reduce redness. I immediately drove home, took a Tramadol and Benadryl and fell asleep for about 5 hours. I'm a huge baby when it comes to pain but I have yet to really experience anything other than discomfort, swelling, and severe tightness.

Day 2: serious edema around my eyes and general puffiness throughout my face. I'm using Cerave cream per the NP's orders which is OTC. It doesn't feel like it lasts very long but I'm not peeling yet so I hope it's at least doing something to promote healing. I'm very afraid I'll get those "blisters" again around my nose and I want to stay away from the Aquaphor and the Clinique creams so that my pores don't clog any more than they already are.

Day 3: I haven't had much energy to refill my ice packs for my eyes but they're not as bad today. Still no peeling but my normally fair/freckled skin is literally brown from the pin-prick scabbing. My skin feels like fine sandpaper and no matter what I do, I'm constantly thirsty (I'm guessing from the ibuprofen and benadryl I'm taking religiously to help with swelling and itchiness). I plan on taking GNC healthy skin vitamin packets (It has fish oils, vitamin E, etc) and being more consistent with my Cerave applications and ice.

Hope this helped!
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How long did it take for the tiny brown spots to go away? I just had Re;Store on friday & it's now tuesday & they are still all over my face... some have peeled off, but this makes it hard to apply make - up & I'm scared to wash my face cause I'm not sure if it's ok if they rub off while cleansing. I am overly dramatic & I thinking I just freaking out for no reason. My face feels like sandpaper its horrible :( Selling has gone down & redness. I didn't get the whiteheads break out but i got an under skin pimple on my temple ---> hurts! && I'm taking minocin since June 10'
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argh. doesn't sound too good. and i was told that fraxel DIDN'T HAVE any downtime, and would be the trick for fine lines. my partner and i want to get it together; we are 35 yet don't like what is going on in the under eye area. the doctor sounds ice cold. i would think for the money we pay for plastic surgery treatments (ie not from health insurance), the doctors should treat us like the CUSTOMERS we are and act friendly and kind. I am angry enough towards ice cold doctors in medical situations where insurance pays, but for when we pay out of pocket for a cosmetic procedure, it puts me over the edge even more when a doctor is cold and callous. It would be comparable to going to a luxury hotel and being treated by the employees in an arrogant manner. I don't know why these "M.D."'s think that their medical degree gives them the right to act cold and insensitive. I too have requested a nurse to do my procedures because the cold and snotty vibe of the doctor has put me off so much. There has been no difference between results of skin treatments with the icy doctor or the friendly nurse...except that I feel better during the appointment, feel like my concerns and pain are being addressed, and feel like I am being treated like a human being, not like a piece of CRAP.
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I am an easthetician(facialist) in Huntington NY and I had 3 Fractional treatments for acne scars on my cheeks(same fraxel technology, different company)almost 2 years ago as a practice for my boss..I didn't notice as much of a difference on the first 2 as I did on the 3rd. My husband didn't want me to have the 4th bacause they were getting more painfull each time .I now think I would have the 1 or 2 treatments more because I saw the best results after 6 months. My scars were not to bad, but now almost gone and other people noticed that my skin looked great, just didn't know why. So it is best to take pictures and then do all the treatments, wait 6 months and take another. My results was great
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Are you all still happy w/ your results? I am looking into fraxel restore for acne and large pores...in San Diego as well-?? I am thinking of buying a package of 3 but not sure-concerned about some of the stories I'm reading...
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I just completed my 2nd fraxel treatment. The 2nd treatment didn't seem quite as bad as my first, despite the doctor going up on the intensity. I took a pre-med this time to help with anxiety which I think helped. The skin surface looks better and the age spots are fading. I have not had the bad side effects that some others on this website have noted. I bought 4 treatments and have 2 more to go, so will know after all 4 are completed. According to the doctor, the effects continue to improve over the next year. I think the treatment feels like a hot curling iron on your face which is not very pleasant, but I have found it takes 3-5 days to totally look better and the first 24 hours my face actually looks healthier because it is fuller and just looks like a reddened tan face. I am going to continue and am hoping for good results. Hope this helps.
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BTW I had my fraxel done in Carlsbad at a clinic there. It was $2400 for 4 treatments. I also bought the hydrocortisone cream to use after the treatment and that helped quite a bit. If you are prone to break outs I would get the topical antibiotic cream they offer, as I had a lot of breakouts, which my doctor says is common when you stimulate the skin and pores. Hope this helps.
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I just had Fraxel done yesterday. I thought it was pretty painful despite the numbing for 1.5 hours pre treatment. It was barely tolerable at times but I made it to the end. I had not heard or read of any bad side effects with the treatment or I might have hesitated. Today my face is slightly puffy and red but looks pretty good. No problems with my eyes at all. I am hoping for good results but not looking forward to another painful treatment. I will pre-medicate next time for sure.
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You might have hesitated if you read about any bad side effects before your treatment, but you're going to have another? If I were you, I would AT LEAST wait to see if there's any damage already there. My face looked wonderful for the first 6 weeks and THEN the damage came. Don't regret it like many of us do. Why take the chance?
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Thank you for your comment. I did discuss a lot of my concerns with my doctor doing the fraxel treatments. I felt pretty comfortable with his responses and outcomes he states he has seen in his practice. I am now six weeks out and my skin looks good, so I don't see the damage. i would be interested in hearing about what damage you have experienced. My age is 51 and I have acne scarring and some brown spots which seem to be fading. I appreciate your comments.
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Do you still regret your fraxel treatment?
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Do you still regret having fraxel? What is your skin like now?
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I do not regret it as my skin still looks amazing since the procedure in 2009. I had to take a few more days off from work as my face looked like I had kissed the sun. You just need to know if they use a strong intesity you will have to go through at least 10 days of a visable changes.
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Gengen ~ Are you still happy with your results? Any concerns?
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Thank you so much for including your pictures. I had the procedure done yesterday at 9am and today my eyes are so swollen it was hard to get my contact lenses in this morning. My face does not hurt but I look so terrible with the swelling my husband was afraid. I have been putting the cream on religiously and I am looking forward to the swelling going down. I have to go to work on Tuesday so that is 5 days after treatment. I may have to call in sick if I still look bad. It is my hope that I too will have great results.
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I'm planning on having just under my eyes done on a tHursday and returning to work on Monday. Am I too optimistic? Sounds like you had a lot of swelling under your eyes. Were you happy with the results?
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You've had 3 re-stores and spent over $12,000? I'm happy you're pleased with your results!
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Hi there, I have had 3 re-stores but very little pain, just a little discomfort the nurse gave me valium, plus I took keflex to prevent any type of outbreaks of coldsores, etc. I also was given othe meds for pain. I'm sorry you experienced so much pain. I've been told for acne scarring, you need 4-6 treatments total to see some real results. Of course, I couldn't afford more treatments. I wasn't satisfied with my results after the first 3 restores, so my doc. opted to do a partial fraxel re-pair which is a one time procedure, the down time is longer but I'm hoping to see some better results. I'm debating now whether I want to spend another !,000 plus to have the remainder of my face done. I'm also considering collagen injections for the deeper scarring. Good luck w/ your procedures if you decide to continue with more. I've spent $4,000 and hoping to see the results I want soon, because I just money to keep putting into something that isn't going to provide the results I'm looking for. Keep me updated!
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who do you recommend to do Fraxel procedure in San Diego?
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The doctor I went to is in Encinitas, but seems very good. If you want I can send you the name of the spa, unless you are looking for san diego specifically..
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Not sure why these are not posting for me-I have only had Botox and Juvederm and plan to have some type of laser when I for sure quit smoking. Not sure what type yet my Doctor and I need to talk all about my options. Feel bad you were in pain but again, glad you are pleased with your results.
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I am so glad things worked out for you. I have to wonder if many of the horror stories you read on here are from people searching for the best deal and not the best doctor/provider. I think saving money on your grocery bill is wonderful-but on your face? Again-glad things worked out for you.
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thankyou... you are right, it would be smarter to look for the best doctor rather than the best deal... i guess i got lucky. i just really really wanted to have the procedure and i figured it couldn't be that difficult of a procedure to perform... so why not go for the bargain. did you have anything done?
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