So you want your cake and eat it too? I agree that the more research you do the more confusing things become. It is even confusing for many cosmetic physicians.
If performed properly there should be no "skin burning off" while you are sitting around your house. As far as scaring everyone, that depends on the crowd that you hang out with.
I advise patients to take at least 6 to 7 days in the house with the curtains and blinds drawn (so to not scare the wits out of any small children or animals who might pass by...just kidding). It is a time to catch up on DVDs, and books.
When properly prepared for what to expect after the treatment, both patients, friends, and family are able to make it through those first few days. Then again, you may decide that it's just not your cup of tea.
Both Deep FX and Fraxel re:pair are excellent treatments to "fix sun damage, pigment, sagging skin, and the area between the nose and mouth", affectionately termed "Bar Code" lines. The treatment takes years off of your appearance, yet you look natural, rested, and healthy.
Skin types I to IV respond very well to the treatment. After your treatment you will need to use physical sun block, wear protective clothing (scary hats), and avoid excess sun exposure.
I am linking the BBC's Kate Spicer's treatment segment from her documentary "SuperBotoxMe" that aired in the UK last August. If you go to my web site you can view a daily video diary of Los Angeles television reporter Marta Waller. You will see her daily progress and have a much better idea of what to expect.
If you do decide to be treated, choose your physician most carefully, as "It's not the tool, but the craftsman" that will give you your optimal results.
Good luck and be well.