Was Almost Frightened Off, but So Glad I Did the Fraxel Now!

Just to clear up pricing, the $450 was an inital...

Just to clear up pricing, the $450 was an inital payment and the total will work out to be about $2000US.

Firstly, I'm getting fraxel to treat hypopigmented (white) scarring on my arms which are, as I understand it, harder scars to get rid of. I had my first treatment 3 days ago and am very impressed with how well it was handled and how smoothly it all went.

The experience itself:
I went in 3 days ago to have it done. I took the day off work as I was anticipating pain and/or horror. I had this done by a doctor at a dermatology clinic, rather than by an esthetician.

To be truthful, the laser was very strong. Before the procedure, I was given a painkiller and anesthetic cream on the actual area to be lasered. This stuff was also extremely strong. To give a better idea, I also had injections of cortisone into the scarred area after the lasering was done. I could not feel the injections at all but I could still feel the laser, and pain from the laser, though it was mild bordering on moderate, though certainly not unbearable. Judging by that I'd say that without the numbing cream the laser would have been sheer agony. I do not recommend doing fraxel without the numbing cream, as the experience would be horrendous. The actual lasering only took a matter of minutes, it was over with quite quickly.

Afterwards, I was given after care information as well as moisturizer to use on the area. I had redness, just like a sunburn, but even after the numbing cream wore off, I barely felt anything. There was no swelling at all, still no swelling at all, and now, 3 days after, it looks like a slightly darkened, healing sunburn.

It's only been days, and the skin is still darkened and sandpapery, but I can already see some lessening in the appearance of the scarring. I'll post more updates after my second procedure, which is next month.

My overall advice? The doctor you see makes all the difference. I'd advise seeing a doctor and not a beautician. Don't be scared off by the negative experiences of others which, while valid, and I feel deeply for those people and am very sorry to hear about what happened to them, that does not mean a negative experience for everybody. I was so scared I almost canceled, and am extremely glad now that I didn't.

The next bit of advice - get the numbing cream. Don't do it without it, this is a very strong laser and without any painkillers, it will hurt. As it was, for me, the pain was bearable.

More updates to come once I can start to see more, and before my next treatment!

Ok, had procedure number two done a few days ago...

Ok, had procedure number two done a few days ago.

That, was painful. The first time it hurt but this time, more so. Not during the process, but afterward it seems like it's more tender than it was the first time, that's because the skin is newer and thus more tender this time around.

It's gotten to the point where it's dried out and is sandpapery, and looks like a bad sunburn. It's starting to itch so I'm guessing it's healing well. The improvements are still coming along, some of the scars are almost invisible now, but the worse ones are taking longer to lessen in appearance.

It's still early, I'll update once the swelling/redness/bronzing has gone.

Update - two years later. The side effects have...

Update - two years later.

The side effects have completely gone. Main side effects? Dark AND light patches on my skin (hyper and hypo pigmentation). The light patches were due to the cortisone. The darker reddish patches were from the laser itself.

So my scars, the reason for my treatment? The honest answers, now. Are they gone? No. Are they better? Absolutely. They have been reduced by about 50% so that in sine lighting you can't even see them, nor are they obvious anymore unless you know what you're looking for.

Before fraxel, I used to get people and their questions when they saw the scarring and were too naive or rude to bot ask the question. Since the fraxel, knock on wood, not one question, even one.

Was it worth it? Yes. Would I recommend it to everyone? No. I'm lucky enough to be of the right skin type for laser and so responded very well. I also know I was very lucky and not everyone will have the same experience. But if I could do it again, I'd do so in a heartbeat.

My next step from here, the rhinoplasty I've wanted since puberty! Looking forward to posting that experience :) Also extremely nervous!

Edit** meant to say was reduced by 60% not 50. And...

Edit** meant to say was reduced by 60% not 50. And some* lighting, not sine lighting, lol. Darn iPhones.
Dr Chris Kearney

Because my doctor was understanding, informed, and knew exactly what he was doing and told me exactly what to expect. Very impressed overall.

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
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Update time - had my fourth treatment - and while it was painful, I'm looking forward to the end. According to other people, they can see a difference however the main difference I can see is with makeup. The scars become almost invisible with concealer. Without, not so much, but still better. It seems to work better with about a 7 week difference between the treatments. Fashionup - yeah, that's about what happened to me. Scared of - I'm so sorry to hear it still isn't working for you. I'm thinking either my scars are less severe than yours, or they are older, of my skin responds well to laser. In any case, I'm very sorry to hear this has made it worse for you and I feel bad as I encouraged with my positive reviews - I'm thinking I'm lucky with the doctor I went to and with my skin response. But there still may be a change. If you like, if you want to give me your email address, I can show you the photos of how my progress has been - if that helps. Also, a lot of moisturizer and keeping your arms well our of the sun will fade the redness. It will take 2-3 months after you finish the treatments but it will go. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that it gets better.
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Lara- Thanks for the encouragement. Don't feel guilty about my results, you never told me to do this :) I knew the risks involved but was willing to take the chance. You never know, maybe it will improve over time. For now though, there is still a lot of redness surrounding the scars. I can't say just yet that Fraxel was worth the money. I still have 2 more treatments to go and am debating whether or not I should follow through. I'm so glad that Fraxel was the solution for you though! You must be elated!
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Awalk- I will look into what you mentioned. Thanks for the advice! Fashionup- They say you won't see anything after the first treatment, but then again I finished my 3rd treatment a month ago and see no difference! I don't know if I am going to continue with the last two treatments. I feel like I am spending a lot of money to highlight my scars even more with hyperpigmentation! I am trying to work on accepting that these scars will be a part of me the rest of my life, it doesn't mean that I will let anyone see them though.
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Got my first fraxel treatment about 3 weeks ago for my biggest scar on arm. It was tender and slightly red for the first week after treatment. Then for the second week after treatment the redness turned to tiny brown dots which disappeared in a few days. I can see no change to my scar it is still white and raised to the same degree before treatment. Am going back for another treatment in 2 weeks. Will post with my progress!
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Scared of fraxel If the Fraxel doesn't work for you or to help the process ask your doctor about aldara...It works on raised scars it's meant for warts and skin cancer but is an immune modifier it eats away atypical cells to be replaced with new ones...It works very well..... Also it sounds like the vinegar water soaks would be very helpful for you....They had a study at this years laser conferance that the vinegar water was good for what you are treating.... Good luck guys,,I wish you the best!!!!Hope your shopping for some new little shirts to show off your arms before summers over,,, Get the tazorac and use it every few days to continue the improvement...
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Ok, update time. Sorry, Scared of, I didn't see your last update the last time I posted! Good to hear procedure two went better. My own update - well, with the aid of creams, the skin's looking much better. With makeup you can't really see the scars anymore. Definite results now! Just really, really sensistive still. Fashionup - no problem. I'm glad to update on my progress so that anyone else with the same can know how I went. Awalk - I agree with Scared of and with yourself - I'd be very careful about any kind of laser on my face. This isn't bad because at least I can cover it!
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Hi awalk, I have seen many of your posts and your pictures, and I took all of your information into consideration. I decided to go ahead with the fraxel because it's my arms and not my face. I have scars on my arms that upset me very much so I decided to take a chance on the laser. I will never take that chance on my face though. Your posts had a very strong effect on me and I hope that your skin is becoming restored to a healthy state with time.
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Guys,,,, please go to Pub Med and search ...((infrared radiation skin damage))...or IR skin damage...This is an erbium laser and just like UV *10000...And has the same consequences..Just look for your self... If you want to see my pics and how deceiving it can be I will email some to you...I thought I was fine at first...Please be informed... This is not a rejuvenation treatment,,,,It's a 1540 nm infrared fractionated laser radiation treatment..And it can cause skin Cancer..They need to have warnings..And be extra careful of your eyes.. I wore eye shields but under my eyelid the white area looks like someone set a waffle iron on it...Both eyes...I recently noticed it trying to get an eyelash out,,,It's not visable unless I'm looking down.....Wear 2 eye shields if you have to or ask if the have the ones that sit on your eyeballs under the eyelids... If you are going to try it.. I'd like to suggest waiting 90 days before the 2 or 3rd treatments...The hyperpigmentation will for many most likely show up by then from what I have read... Good luck be informed and ask for any consent forms you need to sign ahead of time...Take them home, review them.......Can you live with the possible complications...Is there anything with less risk?. We get inspection for cars,homes ect..Inspect the doctors training..You test perfume to see if it works with your chemistry...Do a laser test patch and wait 90 days.. This is your FACE you can't buy a new one and you can't always get mistakes fixed......
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I'm sorry to hear that. :( If it helps it does take a long time and depends how deep the scarring is. Because a lot of mine was a bit more shallow, those went faster. Update: My third treatment, the settings were milder but the most painful yet and it still hurts a week and a half after. The area looks like it's been burned/scorched now but the scars are visibly improving still. I'll update more when it starts to look less...red. :(
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Thank you for posting so much info on your process! Am considering this laser and it is really helpful to see all of your comments lara and scared of fraxel.
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New update: I just had my second treatment today and overall I think it went much better. As for the persisting redness I have from the last treatment, they told me to use a prescription bleaching cream on it. They said even though I am light skinned, I have olive undertones and am more likely to have hyperpigmentation. I really hope I start to see some positive results!They actually gave me thorough aftercare instructions this time, so that's a start.
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My update: No visible flattening or reduced appearance of scars! They look exactly the same and sometimes I wonder if they are going to build more collagen and become bigger. I have a bumpy border all around the treated area from the laser and the treated skin is still pink which makes my white scars stand out more than before I had the treatment. I have another appointment of Friday and will ask the dermatologist if these side effects are to be expected. I hope this isn't permanent! I wish the scars would get more pigment in them and blend in with the rest of the skin, but I doubt I will see such results. That is great for you though! That must feel amazing to feel comfortable with your arms again! It sounds like it was the perfect treatment for you :)
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No Problem :) Any new development for you so far? Update time for me, the scars are improving further to the point that in some lighting you can't even see them, yay! (Dim lighting but still they used to be visible even then). There's only one problem I'm noticing, the skin is very, very fragile. Press against it too hard, or lean against something hard, pointy, and red almost bruise-ish marks appear and take a day or so to go. I have to treat the area like glass. :( Third treatment in two more days. I'm actually a bit scared as it gets more painful each time, though the improvements have been worth it. More updates to come.
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I have light skin and very pale arms where the scars are. My arms stay completely out of the sun. The bronzing is pretty much completely gone, but the skin if pink now which makes the white scars really stand out. I don't think cortisone will be needed because the one improvement I am seeing is flattening of the scars. My biggest scar flattened quite a bit, although it is still wide, white, and obvious. Hopefully my next treatment will bring more results. Who knows, maybe within the next few weeks they will start improving on their own. Thanks for all the advice and feedback :)
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What's your skin tone? Is your skin usually pale? Strange the bronzing's lasted until now, mine's completely gone and fading back to the normal color - the scars are also even better but I'm starting to think I'm very lucky to have skin that responds well to laser. Perhpas mention the cortisone as an option next time? It really does make a difference, but the area around the injected place might go pale. I hope it's looking better for you now. I'd say I can see about a 45% overall reduction in my scars so far, if it keeps on like this it might eventually be total. Are you keeping out of the sun?
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Well right now with my skin being bronze, the scars are much more prominent and I don't see any change. I think my thickest most raised scar did flatten slightly, but it's still wide and white and very noticable.
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Yeah, to help it heal. I've been putting the moisturizer on every day and the dryness is gone and it feels normal, though sensitive, underneath. Because it really dries the skin out, it helps to keep it healthy. How is it looking so far?
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My skin is all dried out, but not uncomfortable. Is it supposed to stay moist for a reason?
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Hmm, could just be because it's something he might not have done before. It's turned out well for me, but it might be a little risky. It did what was intended but my doctor didn't want to do it again this time because of what I told him about the light patches that appeared. I'd still be putting the lotion on, though, otherwise the skin can dry right out. I use Cetaphil for that, they gave me a good supply.
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I'm not doing anything to the treated area, not even lotion, just leaving it be. Right now it's a very slight sandpaper texture, no redness or soreness, and the scars still as visible as ever. I really hope the next few weeks bring some results. The doc didn't suggest cortisone for some reason, maybe they aren't raised enough?
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The cortisone would help if you have raised scars, as that seemed to very visibly flatten them. Only one risk, an that's that the injected areas seemed to be the ones that had the hypopigmented skin appearing around them, that I mentioned before. It's back to normal now, but it had me worried. I'm sure you'll start to see the difference around the same time I did. :) Just treat the area as you would treat glass.
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I did not get cortisone, just fraxel. So far I see no real improvement, but your detailed description of what will happen in the next few weeks gives me a lot of hope. Thanks! Keep us updated on your continued improvement!
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Just had my second! Ok, that was painful, more painful than the first. But it's getting better now. Scared of, no, I didn't see an improvement straight away. After the redness it'll dry out and go sandpapery, and then it will look to be improving. After that, the bronzing will peel and it will look more or less normal (ie as it did before). BUT, after this, the improvement starts to happen. I saw the more substantial improvements about 3 weeks after the treatment. Be very careful. That area will be tender as anything. I put the moisturizer on 3-4 times per day. Mine are starting to look better now that the pain has settled down - now to wait for the bronzing to flake. But don't worry. You'll see the results in a few weeks I'd say. Did you get the cortisone or just the fraxel?
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I'm so nervous about my appointment tomorrow, the embarrassment makes me feel so sick sometimes. I'm going anyway. I'm considering not doing a package of 5 after all just in case I won't need 5 treatments. Most of the scars are very fine anyway. If I decide on more treatments in the future, there is no time limit on when I can go back to finish up. Thanks for all yoru input, it's much appreciated!
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Just want to update that I had my first appointment about 2 hours ago. I'm very red, swollen, and tender, so I'm being careful not to let anything touch it. So far I see no improvement, but I know it's only the first treatment. Right now the surrounding skin is all red and swollen, and the scars are still white and raised, they actually stand out so much more against my red skin. Did you see results immediately after your treatment?
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