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!

19 Comments

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?
I was embarrassed, but I kept in mind I couldn't be the only one they'd seen. I just looked them in the eye and said 'these are my scars, I want them gone'. No further comment was made. The doctor was very understanding and said that he's seen plenty of people with the same. Hmm, right now I'd say they are much less noticeable than they were. You can still see them, but I've only had one treatment. After the next couple I imagine the difference will be even more profound. I'm thinking it might even be possible I don't need to do the full set of five as originally planned.
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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.

23 Comments

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!
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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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!

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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.

2 Comments

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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