How Long Does Redness Around the Eyes Last After Active FX?

I had the Active FX done around my eyes 26 days ago. It is still quite red. There is no scabbing or peeling anymore, just redness. One eye seems to be healing properly, but the other is still VERY red. It looks almost like I'm recovering from a black eye. I also noticed that the skin feels different, rougher on the red part. My application of hydrocortisone 1% seemed to have made it worse. Why is this happening?

Doctor Answers 9

Prolonged Redness with Active FX

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With Active FX, 5-10 days with redness and then the pink or amber color can last up thru 6-8 weeks.... There are a few variables that could leave redness prolonged such as:   your ethnicity, sun exposure, excess exercise, chemicals that irritate the skin, excess rubbing of the area,  after care or after care products can all play a factor.

Clermont Plastic Surgeon

You need to see your doctor for persistent redness after 4 weeks

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ACTIVE FX resurfacing is a very safe technology but complications can occur.  As Dr. Maas pointed out, redness usually subsides within a few weeks.  And so the fact that you have persistent redness this far out is concerning and may suggest that you have something else going on.

Your best plan of action is to call your doctor and have he/she evaluate you to determine a course of treatment.

I hope this helps!

C02 tradeoff

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The tradeoff with C02 laser is thermal contraction (a good thing) for persisting redness (a bad thing). 

This can last several weeks and as impart due to revascularization due to thermal damage and possibly in your case due to irritation and inflammation resulting from your compromised skin barrier. I would recommend eliminating anything in contact with your skin such as fragrance, fabric softner, detergent with fragrance etc..

It is also possible that the hydrocortisone cream vehicle which has alcohol and water in it can be exacerbating.

I would request desonide ointment but not cream.

Dr. Malouf

Peter J. Malouf, DO
Fort Worth Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Prolonged redness can occur with laser resurfacing

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Prolonged redness can occur with laser resurfacing.  Although with Active Fx this should be much less common.  If there is some tenderness, itching, and the redness is persisting and it begins to become more raised, you could be developing some scarring.  High dose steroids would be helpful in this case.  Contact dermatitis can occur if you are starting some creams that could be irritating your skin at this crucial stage. I would then consider holding off on those topicals and stay with some gentler products.  The other possibility is that the doctor was more aggressive around your eyes which could lead to prolonged redness which is common after traditional resurfacing.  I would see your doctor to have him figure out this. He will know his settings to determine what is going on with the setting of your physical exam.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Persistent Redness after Active FX

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Redness after any ablative fractional laser treatment (including Active FX) is normal- up to a certain point. Normally it is subsiding after a few days with only a moderated "pinkness" to the skin in a week. Most patients can resume normal activities at that time, but you need to realize the skin will be sensitive at least until the color is 100% back to normal. During this sensitive period, almost anything such as skin products with fragrance or color, soaps, sunlight, etc. can "aggravate" the skin. This can lead to more, prolonged redness. If the redness (or inflammation) persists too long, the skin can start to react by thickening, and this can require aggressive treatment (this is very rare with Active FX though) .  Best to report to your doctor your concerns so they can take appropriate measures.

One other point- when the eyes are treated by themselves, even a little redness can be very noticable next to the untreated skin.

Roy A. David, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon

Persistent redness after Active Fx could be a problem.

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Redness after an Active Fx is normal and usually lasts a couple of weeks.  When redness lasts longer than that it is called "persistent erythema" and could indicate a potential scar.  It also could simply be that you are allergic to the hydrocortisone cream.    It would be best to stop the cream and have your physician evaluate the area.  

Susan Van Dyke, MD
Paradise Valley Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Redness after Active Fx, Deep Fx, or Total Fx

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Post-inflammatory redness after Fractional CO2 laser is quite common and is a normal part of wound healing. However, if the redness does not subside signficantly in a couple weeks, you should see an experienced board certified dermatologist who needs to rule out allergic contact dermatitis or infection and may consider low dose antibiotics to bring about anti-inflammatory effect.

William Ting, MD
Bay Area Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Active FX redness around eyes should resolve in weeks

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In our experience, the skin is healed by 5 days and patients can use make up to camouflage any redness. The redness should be gone in a few weeks. If you're having persistent redness at a month, you should see your surgeon promptly to rule out possible contact dermatitis, infection, or scarring. These need to be treated to prevent permanent damage.

Corey S. Maas, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Redness after FX laser treatment

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The Active FX usually has minimal redness and is usually gone within a few weeks.  The Total or Deep FX may take longer for the redness to clear. Are you using any products or soap that may be irritating the area? You should see your doctor, it is possible you may have an underlying infection on that side.

Janet M. Neigel, MD
Florham Park Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.