Fraxel Dual- So Far So Good! - San Diego, CA

First Fraxel Dual 1927 done 2 days ago for age...

First Fraxel Dual 1927 done 2 days ago for age spots, freckles, and fine lines and while it is too early to tell, I wanted to share my experiences before I forget, step by step.

I am 32, fair skinned and noticed crows feet,freckles, and hyperpigmentation from years of sun damage and really wanted a fresh face. I have had microdermabrasion, chemical peels, Dysport for the wrinkles and none of that of course is more long term, so I wanted something more aggressive. For the price of the Dysport and just one microderm and one chemical peel, I could have one Fraxel session and supposedly have better results. So, I went for it!

I went to my dermatologist's office and signed up for the Fraxel. My session was two days ago. I had a numbing creame applied for one hour before the procedure and then the laser began. It was definitely NOT painless! The first pass over my face felt like tiny little needle pricks, which weren't so bad, but then as the procedure continued, it became very uncomfortable, like a blowtorch was being passed over my skin. There were a total of 8 passes and by the 5th one, I was really happy that it was almost over! I cannot imagine doing this without some kind of numbing cream. They blasted some cool air on my skin for about 10 minutes post procedure, which was great, but as soon as I stepped outside into the heat of the day and a hot car, WOW...I couldn't wait to get home to put some ice on my skin. Luckily, the pain went away over the next hour. I was definitely pink, but not swollen or anything and I slept comfortbaly. I was instructed to moisturize consistently, so I used the cream, Biafine, given to me by my dermatologist. It is an emollient, so it moisturizes, while providing beneficial healing ingredients and is commonly used for skin grafts, minor skin conditions, and inflammation caused by radiation. I have read elsewhere that Aquaphor is used and I used that at night to allow it to really soak in.

The next day, my cheeks were definitely red and almost dark like I had more freckles. My face felt very rough, like fine sandpaper. Looking up close, it looked as though my freckles were not solid. It looked as though they had been broken up into very tiny pieces, like small grains of pepper, as opposed to a solid brown freckle. It also looked like they were stuck on the surface of my skin, not deeper any more. It seems as though I could just scratch some of the freckle off, but of course I didn't do that.

I was able to apply liquid make-up on day 2 with a damp sponge, but I had to sponge it and lightly press it, rather than gently rub it on like I normally do. It did make a big difference and I was able to go out of the house without looking freakish, but I had to wear much more than usual for coverage and it just didn't feel comfortable.
I have off from work the whole week, so laying low is better I think. I would strongly suggest downtime rather than having to go into work after the procedure. My skin personally just looks a little weird and I can imagine people would stare.

I have not seen too much peeling yet, but it has only been 3 days and I was told day 3 and day 4 is when I should see peeling the most. Of course, everyone is different, but this is my experience so far. I am really looking forward to the next few days to see what there is to come. Stay tuned!!

UPDATE- Day 4 All I can say is "WOW!" It has...


All I can say is "WOW!" It has been 4 days now since my Fraxel Dual session and I have noticed a HUGE difference in my skin in such an amazing way. It seems like my skin changed literally every hour. Yesterday was Day 3 and it was the worst in that I just looked pretty terrible- my skin looked super dry despite lots of hydration and was still a little red. But, as I washed my face that night with Cetaphil, the dead skin sloughed off, revealing fresh, new skin WITH NO FRECKLES. I was amazed! I will admit, seeing that made me get a little aggressive with the washing and I noticed small, pinpoint areas of bleeding from too much rubbing, so don't do that. Just be patient. But, as I looked at my hands, I saw brown pieces of skin which were my freckles. I know, it sounds gross, but it made me realize that this truly does work.

So here is my regimen...rub a quarter sized amount of Cetaphil cleanser onto dry skin and gently massage with fingertips then wash with cool water (warm is ok too, but it might be a tad uncomfortable for new skin). I use Cetaphil anyway and usually use it on dry skin at night to take my makeup off and then rinse, so I know it is a good product. I then apply a thick layer of the Biafine cream given to me by my dermatologist, but Aquaphor will work well too. I don't care for the Aquaphor in the daytime because the feeling of the petrolatum base is annoying to me. A good moisturizer or Biafine for day and Aquaphor for night and SUNSCREEN if you're going out. I have Neutrogena Faces with 95 SPF. No kidding. And that's it!

All I can say is that I know some people had very bad experiences with Fraxel and that is a shame because if what I am seeing 4 days into it is just the beginning (the effects are supposed to be gradual over several weeks to months), then I am SOLD.

I will post again in another week or when I see different results.

It has been 5 months since my procedure and I...

It has been 5 months since my procedure and I think I would have to see both before and after pics of then and now to remind myself what I looked like before because I see myself every day and may have gotten used to my "new" face. Mind you, I only had one procedure and had decent skin before, so it's not like this was a huge miracle. How could it be? It was one time and most doctors recommend a package deal. I have a very good skin care regimen and credit my looking younger than I am to that, not necessarily to the Fraxel. I think in order to really be satisfied, you need to ask yourself why you are doing this. For me, I just wanted to be refreshed, get rid of some of the sun damage and freckles and not have to wait for several cycles of peels and microdermabrasion to give me what I wanted. Instant gratification for a fresher complexion was my driving point and I certainly got that. So, am I happy? Yes indeed. But, I probably would not do it again for several years because it truly was downright painful and the downtime for me was almost a week. I don't have the desire or time to go through it again. However, if my face truly was terribly damaged by sun and age spots, then I would have much more of an inclination to do this again because I did see enough of a difference after the first time to be a believer.
I think it is important though to understand that this won't fix everything. I have had Botox in the past and fillers for fine lines and had hoped that Fraxel would make it so I would never want that again, but muscles and movement of them create the wrinkles and unless you are using a paralytic agent like Botox to stop that movement, no amount of laser will get rid of those. I made the mistake of thinking almost too positively and thinking I would come out looking like a teenager and that was just not realistic.
So, if you want a pick-up and want to look fresh, then I say go for it, but be realistic in your expectations and understand that some people found Fraxel to be very bad, so take their opinions into consideration and weight the pros and cons.

Oh, one last thing before I forget..I spoke with a...

Oh, one last thing before I forget..I spoke with a dermatologist who recommended NOT using Aquaphor or any other petroleum based moisturizer, especially during the first day or two because it traps heat and can make your skin much more uncomfortable. Try the Biafine, which I LOVE though it is a prescription, or La Roche Posay Cicaplast, which is used specifically for post-peels and microdermabrasion. Also, Aquaphor can clog pores and unless you really scrub it off (which you wouldn't want to do after Fraxel), it can stay like a film on your skin and cause break-outs. You may already be miserable due to redness and peeling and pain, so do you really want to add insult to injury with Vaseline or Aquaphor? Now I know why my skin was so red and had pinpoint bleeding spots when I washed it. I felt like I had to be much more agressive because my skin felt more gross than it needed to. Just my opinion, but I think the Dermatologist obviously knows better.
La Jolla Laser Cosmetic Clinic

Schedule with Tami, the Nurse Practitioner and you will not regret it. She is knowledgeable, informative, really knows her stuff, and clearly is skilled and trained well. I am a Physician Assistant myself, having previously worked in Dermatology, but changed specialties long before Fraxel came out, so I understand the caution people may have about someone other than an actual doctor being the one to administer treatment, but I urge you to educate yourself before you assume a Nurse Practitioner or a Physician Assistant is not capable or not as good as a doctor. In fact, many more in-depth cases in Dermatology are seen by the doctor, whereas the cosmetic procedures are seen by Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. So, more often than not, the NP or PA is actually more skilled! Both doctors and nurses who work in laser have to attend classes, or have extensive training before they start treating patients. Just because a person does not have MD after his or her name does not make them any less capable.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
Was this review helpful? 1 other found this helpful

Comments (22)

Sort by

I've heard of more damage with the re:store than the re:pair.
  • Reply
I would love to know if erikab had restore or repair? I'm in NYC about to turn 40 and looking into this for the removal of sun freckles - too much spring skiiing and sun tanning - I'm hoping I can opt for restore instead of repair as repair is more $. I have contacted (3) fraxel dermatologists for consultations. I am so eager to do this.
  • Reply
I had the restore, as the repair was much more in depth and I just wanted a little pick-me-up and to look fresh, not overhaul my face. I only did one session and the freckles have come back, but I have no more broken blood vessels or little dark age spots. I am 34 and people always comment on how young I look, but I moisturize a lot and I get Botox here and there, so it's hard to say what exactly did the trick. I am happy I did it! I just wanted to get rid of a few layers.
  • Reply
I had fraxel done today. My dermatologist performed the procedure and I didn't read reviews until tonight because he was so casual about it. Now I am regretting having it done, nothing but nightmares on the web. However, not really red right now. He used 30 mj and only did a few spots on my face, not my whole face, by far. However if any adverse side effects occur I will be making them public, I did not have any huge issues before just a few brown pigment spots, and now I am worried about muscle, collagen loss, skin texture and cancer. Wish I had left well enough alone. Disappointed in my doctor for now explaining the side effects, and myself for not researching more thoroughly.
  • Reply
Anxious.... Fraxel has performed close to a million procedures. I think the odds are that you will be fine. I dud t even know Realself existed until I saw negative results. Most people have the procedure, it has the results expected do they move on. Stress and anxiety is the worse thing you could do when healing. Think positive thoughts and enjoy life. Best wishes!!
  • Reply
I meant to add that 30 is a very low setting. The safety studies have been at 40. You are going to be fine. Give it at least 6 months to see full healing.
  • Reply
I had a Fraxel-Repair done three days ago. Nothing happening that wasn't expected. Luckily, my doctor prescribed Acyclovir to guard againt cold be taken for 7 days (starting the day before the
procedure). So it looks like I've been spared the cold sore nightmare but after reading so many negative reports, I'm scared about ending up with a bad outcome. Like an idiot, I didn't read all the reports before having the Fraxel. If I had, I wouldn't have risked it. Oh well, wish me luck, please.
  • Reply
I think people fail to realize that these treatments turn out different on different skin types, what works for one may not be good for another, and also the person performing the treatment is in large part responsible for the end result. For example, I have rather sensitive skin and there is no way I would allow a doctor to convince me to sign up for a six treatment program without seeing the results of one or two sessions. I set the rules when it comes to what is done to my skin, I don't care about your special deal package promos, and I know my face better than anyone else.
  • Reply
I think people fail to realize that these treatments turn out different on different skin types, what works for one may not be good for another, and also the person performing the treatment is in large part responsible for the end result
  • Reply
Thanks for the update. I recently read that more than 800,000 Fraxels have been performed. I think the percentage is low for a bad outcome but it is there nonetheless. Special Susan please write a review as others may be looking for support from the same reaction.
  • Reply

These reviews after a few days are worthless. You must wait at least 8-12 months before you judge the final result. All of these short term reviews should be ignored. Once the swelling goes down you will see what you really have and in most cases, you will not be pleased!

  • Reply
Special Susan, these reviews may be "worthless" to you, but some people want to know what to expect from the start and know that the results may not be what they expected right off the bat. I personally don't care what people think 8-12 months later, I want to know what to expect from the second the laser starts, to days and even weeks after. It is personal preference. If people are really that interested in what to expect almost a year after the procedure, then let them search that- and quit hijacking my post.
  • Reply
The only aspect of this that is worthless is trying to judge your result before you have given it a chance to heal completely. After a year, many people report that their results that they thought were great are actually minimal or in some cases worse. In my case, I had an improvement, but it was done 6 times and part of my face has a different texture than the rest. Also, my skin is so sensitive, I can't be in the sun more than 1 minute even with lots of sun block on. I went to one of the best doctors to have this done. No one is hijacking your post. People might get the wrong idea and believe that they can judge their results like the way you are. You are in for a big surprise, dear!
  • Reply
Please update. Are you still happy with your results? Did it improve the crows feet/fine lines? Do you know your settings?

Thanks and Best wishes!!
  • Reply

So had my treatment of Fraxel my face is still very i had a really bad sunburn and feels tight.When i touch my face its a bit like sand paper and i can see the pigmentation coming out but i still have burning sensation when i have no cream on.If it wasent for the face cream it will be very uncomfortable! Im using a cream from the pharmacy that is very effective once u have it on called :cicaplast by La roche-Posay....20$.It makes a really shinny face but i aint going anywhere and with that cream the heat is gone and i can think about other things! Im just hoping i will see results soon!

  • Reply
Sorry for some typos, my computer tries to think for me.
  • Reply
I had my fraxel done 4 days ago, never read anything apart from adds, how stupid. now I am scared that I ruined my face. I am 50, you would think at least experienced in avoiding stupid decisions, alas not this. My face was horribly swollen for 3 days, red and now terrible cold sores developed. My glands are enlarged and huge area of about 5 cm on 2 cm around lips broke out in blisters. I never had bad skin, looked 40 ish rather than 50. Now I read that cold sores after fraxel will leave scars. Great %#€¥... The nurse on consultation never mentioned cold sores. My skin feels like plastic stickers. Never thought about myself vain, guess I am. So far I am not happy. Some say give it time to heal. Hope so. Really do. I had one treatment, they wanted me to pay for at least 3. I declined, said I want to see the effect after first. The attitude changed and my princess like treatment became less evident. 5th day and still quite a bit swollen, my eyes sunk into my face and my partner said you look older, thank him very much. He said if I will not go back to what I was before he will sue them.( he is a lawyer) LOL, but I am scared. Hope it will turn OK. Let you know. Sorry if this is not encouraging, but the experience was painful and unexpected or should I say undisclosed side effects happened to me. Well, am I old enough to find all pros and cons by myself before I made my decision? I am smart now. I thought for THAT price I should be informed well. Thanks for sharing.
  • Reply
Hi TrixA, what fraxel treatment did you do? Fraxel Dual or Fraxel Re-Pair? Good luck with the recovery!!
  • Reply
I had fraxel restore, that's all what I know. Today is Saturday, I had fraxel on Monday so it is 6day. My face is still bit swollen, reddish and with tiny bumps. It is bit better overall except cold sore area. This is terrible painful. I have to take paracetamol every few hours, because stinging and burning is bad. I do not think I have an infection because glands are swollen but not extremely bad. I avoided touching and applied cold sore cream with very clean fingers. I had to take Prednisone to get inflammation down but it only works for few hours. My general dr. said not to take steroids for more than 2 -3 days. So, what I am upset about is that although I got this for very big discount - living social vouchers, paid $400 for 1 St treatment only ( well , if all would be as they advocated, I would be thinking of using next 2 discounts of $100 each towards $1500 each treatment, but at this stage I am discouraged and pray to heal from the first one). I read that I could have a medication to stop cold sore appearing, but now one mention it to me on my pre consultation. Also after procedure I was told " that's all" and the nurse left me in the room with ice pack. She said put sunscreen after you finished. How would I know -when is finish. So I kept this icepack for few minutes and left. Did not put sunscreen as it was almost 6 pm winter time now, dark and my face was in agony, raw and swollen. No one let me out, I just left. That's it. Very disappointed. I do not want to name the practitioners but they rooms looked million dollars. Guess the discount voucher did it to me as they did not get enough money from me. I took photos om myself in a process, will try to up load. Not pretty images. One more thing, during the procedure the nurse never said anything, or explained. She put numbing gel on my face and left for more than 1 hour, which is OK, after I read how it is done on web sites, but during I never expected it and was bitt anxious what is going on. It all comes to me and my ignorance and trust in professionals, I do not know what. Being so stupid worries me most. So hope , pray to God it will all clear well , but if anybody is considering fraxel or other treatments, make informed choices. Do not trust providers as they want your money only and they do not care about you, do not even thing that they do. You might find the good ones, yes but it always comes to the real professionalism,which in my opinion, and my husband ( lawyer) it is only to cover their backs. After 6 days it is hard to see any improvement on my face, if I did not get this horrible cold sore, my opinion might be less bitter, but I believe I was not informed properly, and shame to admit did nothing to informed myself from different sources. I went for it happily stupid , believing in what they promising. I will not even tell you what is my profession as you would thing, right this one stupid woman, for what she is doing and how she acted. Again ,best advice, if you care, educate yourself before.
  • Reply
So, TrixA, How is did you heal?
  • Reply
Sounds like the office you went to was irresponsible for not helping you prevent cold sores and helping you with your after care at home. I had my first treatment a couple weeks ago without any complications and I am soooo happy with the results. Swelling, redness and peeling are all part of the process but well worth it a week later.
  • Reply

Hi erika, 

Very informative review, thanks for that. As for the peeling, other community members have mentioned it can take more like a week to see peeling so maybe that is what's happening with you. Please keep us updated and let us know the outcome. 

Thanks so much!


  • Reply