Fraxel: Pros and Cons - Vancouver, BC

I suffered from severe acne through my 20s, mostly...

I suffered from severe acne through my 20s, mostly due to long work hours. At the age of 26 I finally had enough and jumped on the Accutane train. I was prescribed to take it for 5 months, but out of laziness I only took 4 months worth of the product. Scared that I'd need a second round, I'm proud to say that over 6 years later I still only needed one!

Anyway, once the acne was gone, it was time to treat the scarring on my cheeks and temples that I often hide behind my hair. I had red marks left over that would take months, if not a full year. I now have had fraxel x5 times, generally 1-2x a year, but none in the past 1.5 years.

Fraxel has it's pros and cons. As many other reviews, you sit with numbing cream for the first 45 mins. After my first initial Fraxel, I now ask the nurse to crank up the settings to get my full money's worth. Even they are shocked at the pain threshold I have! The whole experience is 15-20 mins. They do x2 passes for me. The first is relatively painless, with cool air. The second pass feels like tiny elastics constantly snapping on your face and can make me jump with pain! This is mostly since the numbing meds are wearing off.

When you're done, your skin has tiny dots. I almost compare the look of clear medical tape with the tiny holes in it. Ice on and off for at least an hour and have someone drive you home.

The first day or two, you skin is very red, like a minor sunburn. It doesn't hurt, just moisturize carefully. Don't exfoliate! By day 4 it will start to exfoliate naturally, don't be alarmed and don't force it. It will itch like mad! My bf would have to stop me from itching my face in my sleep.

1.5 weeks later you skin is glowing, smooth and plump. That is my favorite time! It appears that all scarring is gone and your skin is lush. But don't be fooled. 4-6 weeks later the scarring will reappear and improvements will be subtle.

My red marks went away and Fraxel helps help some fine lines, for a while. The sessions have slowly chipped away at my scarring, but it will never go away completely without fillers.

I may continue Fraxel once every few years as maintenance, but don't expect miracles or major changes. Everyone's skin is different, so I'd say mine is on the extreme end as far as small results. I don't have pics, but my derm does and they have said the same thing :)

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Comments (10)

Where did you get your fraxel done ? Ive been trying to find which places are best to get it done. Thanks
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Hey! I haven't gone this year at all, but I go to see Dr Rivers. (Vancouverskin.com). You may require a referral from your fam doctor. His wait times can be quite long (3-6 months) for the initial appointment, depending in the procedure, but appointments can be booked faster after that, should there be openings. Hope this helps! :)
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Thanks! I have some shallow indented scars that looks so red/pink which make them look like acne but theyre actually scars. Im hoping fraxel would clear them up. But you said fraxel didnt totally make them disappear? And i thought only one session is needed and that's it? Like you need to do a series of treatments before seeing results? Also how much did it cost you for the treatment? I hope you dont mind me asking bunch of questions. Thanks again
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Of course not! No worries! My red marks from acne scarring were mostly gone after the first treatment. But the pock marks are still somewhat there (and they weren't super deep). I paid ~$500 per session (had 5 sessions). But there is a type of fraxel that is more invasive. I believe you'll have actual scabbing but you may get a greater "bang for your buck". I have thinner skin, so this wasn't an option for me. The doc should be showing you before and after examples and determine which option is best for you. I believe the more invasive one is $1500 (but that was from like 3 yrs ago and I only treated the scarred areas, not the entire face).
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I see. So what treatment you think is the best for the pockmark scars? And how much is the consultation fee for dr rivers?
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It really depends on your skin type :) I've had some friends who had deep scars and fillers were the way to go. He's incredibly well educated. I found he did not try to up-sale me and was honest. I had no consult fee since I initially went for acne treatment (6 months of accutane, over 6 yrs ago). I believe it's $25-$50. The kind of fraxel I had you won't see drastic results, hence the short down time. It's a bit deceiving at first since the minimal swelling will make it look like your skin has become plump (youthful) and flawless. But once the swelling resides you will still see some scarring (at least my skin). But I was happy enough with it to go multiple times and probably will continue again in the new year :)
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I also wanted to note that fraxel is partly about new collagen growth (not sure entirely how much I believe that). But your skin does continue to improve months later :)
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Thanks a lot! :) Im planning to get it done soon. Sucks having acne and acne scars but im really hoping i would have great results from it
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Hey Kimmers! I really didn't find the pain that bad! Plus it's over in a short period of time. My friend's skin had better results at a lower setting in one session, vs 3 that I had, same place. It really depends on how your skin reacts I think :)
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Thank you for sharing your review.  I am not sure I could handle the pain personally.  Sounds intense and with minimal short term results.

 

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