Backstory: I had pretty bad acne in college and took Accutane as a last resort. By that time, I had amassed some scarring. The scarring wasn't terrible, but it was in a very conspicuous place, right around my nose and mouth...my own personal the triangle of death as far as breakouts were concerned! There was worse scarring on my temples and the side of one of my cheeks. But it was the front and center stuff that bothered me the most.
I had four rounds of Fraxel in 2007 that didn't really do too much, and I also had my main scar area injected with restylane last year, which helped for a while.
The procedure: Ow. I had two 5 mg percosets and the usual face numbing, but this HURT. I'm pretty good with pain, I managed most of childbirth without meds, and delivered a 9 lb 7 oz. baby. But I actually cried a bit as I was being lasered! It was this crackling, needling feeling, and the smell (burning skin?) just added to it. My dermatologist was fabulous though, more about that later. And luckily it was quick, maybe 10, 15 minutes tops if I had to guess. I was a little bleary from the meds though.
The recovery: There was very little pain or discomfort afterwards other than feeling nauseous and out of it from the Percoset. Of course, I was extremely red and swollen and couldn't leave the house, which I expected, but in terms of facial pain, it was fine. Each day you get less and less red and swollen. On day 3, there was a big difference between morning and afternoon even, so recovery is quick. My regimen is simple: Cetaphil wash 4x a day, coat with Aquaphor after each washing. On the third day, I added Avene restorative creme to the mix. I took Benadryl to help me sleep and to ward off any itching. One word of advice: Be prepared for how you will look. You will look horribly burnt in the first two or three days.
Day Four: I had it done on Wednesday, it's Sunday morning. I was able to go out and get a coffee for the first time! I'm still pretty red, and peeling extensively on my lower cheeks and chin. My forehead and the apples of my cheeks are healed, relative to the rest of my face, and they look GREAT. I had a few tiny freckly spots scattered around that area, and they're gone. The skin just looks so young and luminous. I'm hoping when the peeling and redness subside the rest of my face will also look this good.
It's still too early to say for sure how it did on the scarring because of the swelling. From what I can see they are gone, but of course four days post-procedure is way too early to declare unilateral success.