Hi all! I'd like to share my experience with the Fraxel laser, to add to all the other stories. I'm a 26 year old Australian girl with extremely light skin (I swear I glow in the dark!). Since puberty I've suffered from acne and the aftermath, scarring. I was so sick of looking in the mirror and hating what I saw. The acne scars had to go. My self esteem was rock bottom and my social life non-existant. Fraxel has changed that.
I first went to a clinic after researching them thoroughly in 2008. I had a crappy job then which didn't allow for much time off but I did manage one treatment that year. I then wondered whether I should continue the treatments after getting a new, flexible job that allowed for time off without distruptions as I figured I'd need longer downtime than most. I went back to the same clinic three times in 2010. March, June, September. I spaced the treatments three months apart so that I could see for myself the results over a longer period, and to decide if I really wanted to keep going back. For me the downtime was two weeks each treatment as my Dr. encouraged me to do the heavier treatments.
I had my full face done each time. On the pain scale I'd say it was uncomfortable and every now and then I would really feel the burn on sensitive areas but it was made bearable by the reassurance of the nurse performing the treatment and the fact that it didn't take long until it was finished. I left the clinic each time with pigment/vitamin B serum and post laser lotion and instructions on how to care for my skin in the coming weeks. I live four hours from Sydney so they were also kind enough to give me a follow up call to see how I was going after each treatment. I was impressed.
After the three in 2010 my skin was so much better. The post-laser redness in my skin lingered for a long, long time however. Maybe because I'm so fair skinned it was more noticible, I'm not sure. But it was easy to cover with makeup and the improvement to my scars was so good that I didn't care that I was left a little red. My doctor reassured me that it would fade. I had no treatments in 2011 as I wanted to let my skin settle a bit so I could gauge whether I wanted to go back for more, and to let my purse recover! A friend put me on to a local beautician who I reluctantly saw to get my nails done. After my visit my views on beauticians changed and I found myself going back to her often. I told her about my skin story and by this time my active acne was still present (mostly under my jawline where I didn't have Fraxel). She put me on to the Obagi acne skin care system and wow... it took months for it to kick in but I am happy to report that my acne is under control. Amazing product.
I also went through numerous derms and peels as they were recommended and loved every one. So 2011 was Fraxel free but still great. While I am so happy with the transition in my skin the past two years I'm not 100% content yet. Friends and family think I'm crazy and I look fine but, as you would all know, it's about what I see when I look in the mirror that counts. This year I have plans for more Fraxel. As I type this I am sitting here post-Fraxel by four days. My skin is red, coarse and just starting to flake. I'm still swollen and I have a ton of milia (little white pimples) to battle but I know that will all settle down. For me it's a journey that I'm not at the end of.
What I really want to stress to anyone thinking about Fraxel is to do your homework! Research the clinic and the costing. Don't pay $500 for a treatment that other clinics are offering at $1500. It's not worth it. Find a clinic with an excellent reputation and you will know why they charge so much more. Cheap is not your friend when it comes to Fraxel. In terms of downtime, if you want real results I believe you're looking at longer downtime. For me it's two weeks off work for each treatment. The first 5 days I look like a monster. But after 10 days I can pop makeup on and face the world again. Also, don't be scared by the horror stories. Instead, listen to the positive stories and educate yourself. Pick your Dr and clinic carefully. If you're in the Sydney area or can travel there I recommend my clinic. Good luck to everyone thinking of undertaking the procedure! It's tough, but stick it out and you'll see results.