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!