Fraxel Laser Vs. Fractional Laser?

I have an appointment for a treatment for my face with the fractional laser (for fine lines,etc). Can someone tell me what the difference is between the Fraxel and fractional? What is the downtime after 1 treatment with the fractional (will I have a red face for a long time?) and can someone share his/hers experiences with me because this laser is very new in Holland, so there are less reviews about it. Hope to hear from you. Thanks, Gaby

Doctor Answers 9

Fraxel Laser Vs. Fractional Laser?

Fraxel is a brand of fractional lasers — and there are 3 kinds of Fraxel lasers — one non-ablative (Fraxel reStore) and one ablative (Fraxel rePair). Both, as noted, are fractional lasers. The Fraxel brand has done well and there are many exceptional non-ablative fractional lasers and many exceptional ablative fractional lasers. Non-ablative fractional lasers usually need 4-6 visits at monthly intervals to give the same results that usually one ablative fractional laser needs. Downtimes vary — from 1-2 days with non-ablative fractional lasers to 5-10 days with ablative fractional lasers, depending on how aggressive one is. So there is no real difference — we just need to know the terms.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Fraxel is the name of one of the first fractionated...

Hi Gaby,

Fraxel is the name of one of the first fractionated lasers manufactured by Reliant Tech. in Mt. View, CA. Fractionated means that a fraction percentage of the skin is treated in any one session. There are not many "fractonated" lasers that have followed in Fraxel's steps. Find out the specific laser that you are being treated with and then we can answer your question more precisely. In the meantime, your treating physician should answer your questions. Be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Fraxel versus fractional laser

Fraxel is a brand , like Pepsi. IT has a diet and full strength as well as several other lasers all called Fraxel then followed by a name like repair or restore. They are different lasers altogether and have very different results and indications. The only thing in common is that they use fractionated treatment pulses. The term fractionated indicates that a fraction of the skin is treated per session and this is done in columns of laser pulses rather than full resurfacing or treatment of the entire skin area. Your dermatologist should be able to explain the differences and pros and cons of the different laser types and fractionated versus full treatment. Some laser practitioners only have one brand or one type which is fine as long as the type of laser is the one you need.

Shawn Allen, MD
Boulder Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Fraxel is a brand name of a fractional laser

Fraxel is the brand name of the first fractional lasers that was available. Since then, other fractional lasers have become available. Fractional lasers are in general ablative, which means that they vaporize skin on the surface, removing the top-most layers of the skin. However, fractional lasers differ from other ablative lasers, in that they ablate the tissue only in small areas, leaving the surrounding areas uninjured.

The different types of fractional resurfacing use different wavelengths of laser light to treat the skin. They are all similar. Really the major difference is between practitioners. Some people are more aggressive, using higher settings and multiple passes over the face, producing more dramatic results, but also more redness and swelling. So really, of course, the best person to ask about how red you will be is your doctor, because it depends a lot on what type of treatment he or she has planned for you.

But, in general, patients are pink and swollen for 7-10 days. And, in general, the first 2 days it is most noticeable, then after that, it is less obvious with some makeup.

Anne Marie McNeill, MD, PhD
Newport Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Lasers zing zing

Fractional lasers have dramatically improved our results while reducing the downtime. Fraxel is a brand of a fractional laser so they are the same thing. 

The recovery can vary but I ask patients to prepare for 2 wks off of work and important social engagements after a full face laser. This is because the first week requires a lot of care and will weep and drain. The second week you will look red and still requires a lot of care and needs to be very clean. Overall patients are very happy with this treatment. You  do have to be careful with sun exposure and skin tones. You should have no tan and should not tan afterwards. This can lead to post operative pigmentation problems.

Hope this helps.

Best of luck,


Benjamin Caughlin, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Fraxel vs fractionated laser

Fraxel is a brand name of a type of fractionated laser.  There are several types of fractionated lasers on the market and they are, for the most part, very good as long as the person using the machine has experience using it or other fractionated CO2 lasers.  

Mike Majmundar, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Fractional Lasers

Both Erbium and CO2 fractional lasers work well. The Erbium helps very minimal sun damage and wrinkles. CO2 is most effective for deep wrinkles and severe sun damage. These lasers have dramatically changed how we treat wrinkles and the newest lasers are “fractionated” which translates to much shorter
healing times.

David L. Mobley, MD, FACS
Sarasota Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Fraxel is different from Fractional Laser

I am so happy that you asked this question.  Fraxel is the brand name of a specific laser that came out a few years and they make several different lasers including my personal favorite - the Fraxel Dual.  Unfortunately, a lot of doctors say that they are using Fraxel when they are using a different fractionated laser.  The technology may be in theory similar but the machines are quite different.  Fraxel is am amazing laser and my favorite laser to do.  All of the sun damage, uneven pigmentation, and fine lines can be removed.  I have been so happy with this treatment that I have done it on myself!

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Fraxel vs. Fractional laser

Our office utilizes both fractional laser technology and Fraxel to resurface the skin. Some fractional lasers have a higher risk to benefit profile and are thus not chosen vs. others.  

We incorporate several ablative and non ablative lasers for facial rejuvenation. 


Dr. Karamanoukian 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 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.