Downtime from Fraxel Repair - What to Expect

I am 45 and lately I've been feeling like I just look old so I wanted to try the Fraxel repair to go after some wrinkles, sun damage, et al.  However my husband's class reunion is coming up and I don't want to look like a burn victim in public.  How long does it normally take to heal after Fraxel repair?  How long before you can at least cover up the redness with makeup?  Does the peeling go on for a long time?   

Doctor Answers 11

Fraxel Repair can take 7-10 days till back to normal

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Recovery time is something I always go over with my patients during their initial consultation appointment so they can have realistic expectations about the procedure. In comparison to the traditional resurfacing lasers, Fraxel Re:Pair has much less recovery time.  Recovery time depends on how aggressive yoru surgeon is in treating you.  Downtime can range from 3-5 days for less aggressive treatments to 7-10 days for more aggressive treatment.  It is normal to expect some pinkness, flaking of the skin, and potential pigmentation changes to last 1-2 weeks.  So I would plan at least 2-4 weeks before any significant activities (such as reunions) so you have plenty of time to get better. 

Here's a play-by-play of what to expect:

Day 1-3: Expect redness, swelling, oozing and crusting. Generally I recommend using vaseline or aquaphor to keep the skin hydrated. You will need to use vinegar soaks multiple times a day. The first few days most people want to stay indoor and rest. Itching is common and easy to control with benadryl.

Day 4-6: Expect significant decrease redness and swelling. You will still have minor crusting. Usually by this time you can switch to a moisturizer that is less greasy such as Cetaphil Cream.

Day 7 and beyond: Crusting has resolved and most people can use make-up at this point. The skin can still be flaky and pink, but this is easily covered with foundation and makeup. You will need to wear sunblock daily as your skin is still sensitive at this point.

We have gotten great results with the Fraxel Repair and I am sure you will too. It's important to follow your physicians recommendations to avoid complications.


Dr. Margaret Mann

Cleveland Dermatologic Surgeon

Don't underestimate downtime

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A great question is how much downtime will I have? That really depends on how aggressive the treatment is. I could treat someone with the Fraxel Repair at very low energy settings and have them back in action in 3-4 days. However, most people seeking this treatment are looking for the maximal results in the fewest number of treatments. At higher settings where we treat most people I recommend planning on 10-14 days of downtime. Most people can go out with make-up at day 10-14.

Jerome Potozkin, MD
Danville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Profractional Laser downtime

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There are quite a few fractionated lasers available, and I have experience with the Profractional Laser.

The downtime from this laser is only 3-4 days before you are able to wear makeup and cover the pinkness that remains. The remaining pinkness usually resovles wihtin 7-10 days.

Christopher J. Ewart, MD
Augusta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Downtime with fraxel

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Generally speaking after a Fraxel treatment, depending on how aggressive you are treating the area, you will be able to wear make-up and conceal that area to the public after 5-7 days.

J. Timothy Heffernan, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Fraxel Repair - heal within days, pink for a few weeks

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The microscopic precise wounds created by the Fraxel repair laser heals within 3-5 days depending on the settings.  Even though the skin is healed after those first couple of days, the skin is still actively creating new collagen to fill in the fine lines and wrinkles or replace old scar tissue.  Clinically, the skin will appear red/pink during this healing phase for 4-8 weeks (depending on the settings).  This can be covered up with tinted moisturizers or makeup.  Good Luck! - Dr. Keaney 

Terrence Keaney, MD
Arlington Dermatologic Surgeon

Fraxel Repair: Downtime

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The Fraxel re:pair, is typically a one-time treatment with a 5-7 day recovery period. The ablative laser is used in correcting moderate to severe skin damage, acne scarring and rejuvenating aging skin.
We tell our patients that they will appear “socially unacceptable” for approximately 1 week after the treatment. Expect redness, swelling and peeling for the first 5-7 days. Make-up can typically be applied around day 6 or 7. You may notice some changes in the Ph of your skin for the first two weeks and you may be sun sensitive for 4-6 weeks after. An emollient moisturizer and broad spectrum SPF will be essential during that time.
Good Luck!

Scott Chapin, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Various recovery times depending on which Fraxel laser type is used and what condition is treated.

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The expected recovery times are different depending on which Fraxel laser type is used and what condition is treated. For the Fraxel re:pair used at high energy to treat acne scars and deep wrinkles the recovery may take 7 to 10 days.. For the Fraxel re:store used to treat mild pigmentation problems and pore size or superficial texture, the recovery may be 1 to 3 days. Still, the Fraxel re:store when used to treat acne scars and wrinkles may have a recovery time of 3 to 5 days. This means some redness and swelling of the treated area, but most patients are able to resume their daily activities within a couple of days. 

Fraxel Repair Downtime

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Fraxel Repair is one of the most effective CO2 Fractionated Lasers on the market in terms of depth of penetration and results.  The downtime is very dependent on how aggressive a treatment is performed.  At the minimum, we tell patients to expect seven days before they can go back to work with makeup.  If I think a patient needs extra passes on severe wrinkles, I tell them to expect those areas to be healed in an additional 2-3 days.  We follow patients closely after the procedure to determine when they can apply makeup.  If a patient has a lighter treatment, they can expect to be pink for 2 weeks.  If they have an aggressive treatment, they can be pink for a month.  It is important for patients undergoing Repair to finish all their prescription medications to avoid infection and to notify their provider as soon as possible of any potential concerns.

Grace Liu, MD
Newport Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

3-7 days of down-time for Fraxel re:pair skin resurfacing

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I tell my patients who come from Fraxel re:pair facial resurfacing at Central Ohio Plastic Surgery to expect 3-5 days of social downtime.  During this time, patients are encouraged to stay home and give the skin time to heal from the treatment.  After 5-7 days, most patients may still have some redness and mild swelling, but this is usually easily covered with makeup, if there are any concerns. 

In terms of planning for your husband's reunion, I would suggest getting the Fraxel done about 4 weeks before (at least 2 weeks if you are in s time crunch) so your skin will look great and make all of your husband's old girlfriends jealous. 

Plan on at least 3-5 days downtime with Fraxel Repair

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Plan on at least 3-5 days downtime, sometimes 7 days with Fraxel repair with another 1-2 weeks or redness and some swelling. You can get less downtime with some other fractionated lasers or with a lower power setting on the Fraxel repair but you won't get the same results.

Lorrie Klein, MD
Laguna Niguel Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 217 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.