Active FX Healing- Will the Scratch on my Face Leave a Scar?

Hello, my question is: I had Lumenis ActiveFX Fractional C02 Laser done 6 days ago and am noticing as my skin is fading from the overall redness, I am seeing areas/spots/lines that are very deep red in color. I have a couple that look like a scratch that are darker red.

I'm afraid I've scratch myself unconsciously and am worried about scarring; will this heal by itself or should I be concerned? I can't submit a picture but hope this description is enough. Thank you for your comments.

Doctor Answers 6

Don't worry about a little scratch but be aware that your skin is temporarily fragile

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At 6 days, the skin is generally at the end of the "peeling" phase because the tender new skin underneath has healed enough that it is ready to "release" the old skin. The treated skin is still very tender and should be treated as such. The treated skin can be fragile up to a few weeks after the Active FX treatment.

It is not uncommon for some people to accidentally nick themselves with their fingernails, etc. The little red areas should heal normally. You should be seeing your provider for follow-up care in any case. They will be able to evaluate your progress and make recommendations for the proper skin care products that will be best for your skin during this period of healing and regeneration.

It is also important that these type of ablative laser treatments be done by "core" physicians who specialize in skin procedures. For a list of Board Certified Plastic Surgeons contact the American Board of Plastic Surgeons or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Active Fx healing

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Red marks and lines can occur in the early stages of healing of Active Fx. This is generally not a problem and healing occurs normally. Check with your physician to make sure if redness persists.

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

Active FX healing

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After the skin is lasered, it can be easily damaged since much of the outer protective layer has been vaporized by the procedure.  If you do have scratch, continue the skin care.  Your doctor can prescribe other medications to help with itching to help prevent further scratching. If the scratching damages the deeper part of the skin, the marks may need further treatment.

Pradeep K. Sinha, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Post-FX skin care

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You essentially have two things going on.

First, you really need to make sure that you are not scratching the skin following FX laser resurfacing.  While you will probably heal just fine, if you injure the delicate new skin, you could increase the overall depth of injury and end up with long term scarring.   Also, if you are itching more than usual, you might have an issue with either a light fungal or bacterial infection.  These can be easily treated but if left untreated will delay your overall healing.

As for the redness, this may take up to a month to improve depending upon your skin type and the actual settings used for your treatment.

The best thing to do is to contact whomever actually treated you.  Have them take a look and see if everything looks alright.  Active FX resurfacing is a very safe technology but complications can occur.  If they are addressed early, they can be easily treated and your long term results will still be very nice.

I hope that helps!

Areas of redness and scratches should heal after Active FX and co2 laser resurfacing.

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Areas of redness and scratches should heal after Active FX and co2 laser resurfacing. But Scarring should be determined by your doctor.This could be scratches that you did while you were sleeping but could also be from the laser resurfacing itself.  I would continue your current cleaning regime.  Six days after your procedure you should still be healing and with fractional co2 resurfacing, your skin should be totally healed over.  If it were more traditional resurfacing your skin could still be healing over.  The areas that are red will take some time to resolve.  As some of the other authors have suggested sunscreen and sun avoidance are crucial during the first month and up to 6 months after the procedure.  The redness will take some time to resolve but not as long if you had the traditional resurfacing.  Some suggest steroids after your skin has healed over, but this could affect the healing and collagen production and most people would suggest against it.  Intense Pulse Light or the v beam, or any laser that concentrates light in the 585nm range, your doctor should be able to determine what is best, can help with some of this redness by attacking the vessels that are causing the redness.  Otherwise the healing will just take some time.  One thing that could be important to determine is if there is significant swelling, redness and tenderness that could indicate scarring.  This is something that your doctor should determine and in this situation, a high dose topical steroid could be needed to stem possible scarring. 

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Post-inflammatory redness after fractional CO2 laser resurfacing

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You are most likely experiencing post-inflammatory redness which is transient but may last more than a couple weeks. Adhere to strict daily sun protection. Combination of gentle formulation of vitamin C and greentea serum may be helpful to speed out resolution of post-treatment redness.

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