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About 3-4 years ago I went to my dermatologist...

About 3-4 years ago I went to my dermatologist asking about ways to reduce my acne scarring. He had referred me to another dermatologist who had experience with laser treatments. In my consultation, he suggested I do Fraxel treatments due to my ethnicity (asian with dark skin). I did not like this clinic very much because of the long wait times and how rushed the doctor seemed to be. He spent less than 10 minutes with me and the rest of the time was a technician answering my questions. I was not very keen on the treatment once I found out the doctor doesn't even perform the procedure, the technicians did.

So fast forward to now, I moved to Vancouver and met with a new dermatologist, Dr. Vincent Ho at The Lions Laser Skin Centre. He also suggested Fraxel but was much more patient, he went through all the details of the procedure with me and was very honest; 3-4 treatments would be required for a 50% improvement. After much research on this site and others, I decided to go ahead with it even though the reviews for the procedure varied greatly.

Dr. Ho suggested I take a tylenol 1 hour before the procedure and to come to the appointment 30mins earlier to apply Maxilene (a numbing cream). When I got there they had no Maxilene left but told me not to worry because they also use a nerve block which is administered using a needle and poking all over the areas to be treated. This was already relatively painful because of all the spots he had to inject it in.

After leaving the nerve block to work for about 20 mins, Dr. Ho returned to start the procedure. There were some areas where I could feel very little from the lasers but most of the areas I could feel quite severe pain. The discomfort was definitely not minimal as the pamphlet had said. I don't know if the numbing cream would have helped but if I go for another treatment I will definitely go and purchase the Maxilene from a pharmacy myself and apply it.

Once the procedure was done the treated areas felt very hot and they gave me ice for it. I had little to no bleeding following the procedure. The nurse said the areas would feel hot for the rest of the day and to apply ice to it but once I got home my face felt fine so I did not use any ice.

This review is mostly for me to log how the treatment is working out but I also hope to help others in deciding whether or not they would like to go through with it. Feel free to ask me any questions.

Day 0, 2 hours after the treatment:
I had a little bleeding in 2 small areas. The holes produced by the laser can be easily seen.

Day 1:
Scabs were starting to form where the holes were.

Day 2:
More scabs forming

Scabs falling off and reduced redness

Sorry about the focus in some of the pictures, it's hard taking selfies lol

Day 3:
2-3 pimples popped up, not sure if it's due to the treatment or maybe I would have gotten them anyways. A small amount of scabs are falling off when applying the ointment.

Day 4:
About 50% of the scabs have fallen off

Day 5:
About 2/3 of the scabs have fallen off. The grid pattern of holes is fairly visible in certain areas where the scabs are gone; skin looks quite textured. Redness has been greatly reduced.

Scabs all gone

Day 6:
Scabs about 90% gone. For the past few days I have been getting lots of whiteheads where the holes were made. I squeezed many out and read afterwards that I probably shouldn't have done so...

Day 7:
No pictures, but 95% of scabs gone. Just a few left in odd places.

Day 8:
No more scabs! Skin still slightly red. There's a space between two sections the Dr. treated and from there I can definitely see the difference in skin colour

Still slightly pink

Forgot to mention that on Day 7 I began to use Cetaphil cleanser, Cetaphil daily facial moisturizer with SPF 15 during the day, and the antibacterial ointment (from the clinic) before bed.

Day 15:
Still a little bit pink in the treated areas

A little over 1 month

Haven't been able to update for while due to school work but here's some new pictures.

I wish I was able to take some macro shots of my face before the procedure but I did not have the proper lens for my camera. Also, those pictures weren't even that good; so when I am comparing them to seeing my face in mirror, it's hard to quantify any improvements.

There are 2 cystic acne scars, one on each cheek, that I've always paid attention to since they were quite large and deep. Based on memory, I'm pretty sure these 2 scars have improved; they seem slightly shallower but the biggest improvement I'd say is that the edges of the scars have smoothed out and are less defined.

But I can definitely still see the grid pattern of holes on my face.
Dr. Vincent Ho

Patient, very willing to answer any and all questions. Honest with how much he thought the procedure would help, was not just trying to sell his services.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 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
5 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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Comments (24)

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Hi Jeff, did the grid holes ever dissapear?
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Hello jeff, would you please tell us how is your face now? I think it has been 6months right now. I really hope to hear from because im about do a fraxel laser treatment for my acne scarse. Do you recommend me to so ? thanks.
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Thanks for your review! You only had one treatment done? From I understand aren't you suppose to do at least 4 treatment for actual results? I read somewhere that the first treatment doesn't really do anything.. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks! :)
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From what I read on the acne.org, you cannot really know the outcome until the micro-swilling comes down, which can take between 2 and 6 months. Can you keep us updated by posting more pics at later times?
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BTW was that a Fraxel restore or Fraxel repair?
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The doctor never referred to it as either of those terms but based on what people say the difference between restore and repair are, I would say this was Fraxel restore because he recommended multiple treatments and it was not a CO2 laser.
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I am going to get this done some time next year for fine lines around my mouth and chin area. Jeff, thanks for sharing your story and pictures. I can see the improvement in your skin compared to your before pics. You look great! :)
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Hi Jeff, I have also done this. I did it 3 days ago and my skin was very itching on the 2nd/yesterday and today(3rd day) the scabs fell off when I washed my face, probably because i wasnt gently when rubbing my face. Now the area is red and I can see the new skin, which is not impressive. Like no change, just red. Please let me know if u experienced the same. Thanks
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Hi, yes you need to be very careful with your face while the scabs are still present. Well I believe this procedure is supposed to improve collagen production over time. So you should expect to see results over several months, not immediately. Or at least that is what I'm hoping for; because like you, I have not noticed much improvement over the past 3 weeks.
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Everything is looking great! I can't thank you enough, you sure keep your review updated and so detailed! Love it!


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I am thinking of having a few treatments and your review has been very helpful to me! Are you noticing any changes like smaller pores or tighter skin? Thanks!
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For now there doesn't seem to be much noticeable difference but this treatment is supposed to produce results several months afterwards. So I'll continue to update my review in the next few months and let you know.
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Wow Jeff continue with these treatments, they seem to be great.
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My skin definitely looks much better when you compare it to right after the treatment; but for now, I'm not so sure that my scarring has been reduced.
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Thanks for the update, you are healing very well! Why were you not supposed to squeeze the white heads?

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Not sure but that's what many doctors' responses were to those questions. However, I did notice that when treated areas were squeezed too hard a bit of blood came out of the holes and stayed red for a day or two.
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It should be right below the update title and above the text where I go through each day
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Again, thank you so very much for your detailed review with photos, that is so wonderful of you to take the time to do that!! It's sure a great way for your to document your progress isn't it :) It looks to be healing well...keep us posted. 

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Great review, thank you so much for taking the time to detail it so well! Hopefully your next treatment will not be as painful as you will have the numbing cream, it will be interesting to hear how much it helps. When do you go for your next treatment?

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I will see how this first treatment turns out after 6 months and then decide if it's worth doing again.
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Hi Jeff, How is YOUR skin going now? Your skin looking really red after treatment. Have you been noticing good results ?
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I have just updated my review, please take a look at the pictures.
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Hi Jeff, I don't know if the pictures are shown yet but I can't find them in the review :(
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