Fraxel Repair Recovery and Healing

How long does Fraxel repair recovery usually last? Can you break down the recovery time for me, like how long til you can be seen in public, wear makeup, look completely normal etc.

Doctor Answers 8

Fraxel repair Recovery....No Pain, Lot's of Gain

I inform my patients that Fraxel repair recovery generally takes 7 to 10 days before patients can comfortably plan on returning to work. The best news is that there is no pain involved with the recovery, at all. Immediately after treatment, the skin looks scraped with a small amount of pinpoint blood spots. There is slight "weeping" of the skin for the first 36 to 48 hours, then the skin is completely re-epithelialized. The skin is very red and swollen, maximally between days 3-5 after treatment. By day 7, most swelling has resolved, the skin looks very sun-burnt. Somewhere between 7-10 days, as the redness fades, the skin begins to look great, like you have just returned from a nice "sun" vacation. At this point, female patients usually just wear eye make up and lipstick because the skin looks so good. I have had some female patients apply some concealer after 5 days to get back to work, but usually it is best to wait about 7-10 days for make up. The skin is extremely fragile for about 3 weeks, so be very careful both applying make up and especially removing make up to avoid abraiding your skin.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Deeper laser treatment may cause some pain that may even be significant

The pain after a laser procedure is quite variable and it depends on a great deal of things ranging from how deep your surgeon is going to your particular pain threshhold. While some of my patients breeze through it, some are in quite a bit of pain and itching after it and I would rather tell them straight up that they may be discomforted than to give them a rosy picture that misleads them into thinking they are the only weirdos who have pain.

Additionally, I don't encourage any patients to plan any social functions in the first week or two after one of these procedures as they may be very disappointed if they can't go due to a slower recovery (which sometimes does happen).

I do love this procedure and 90% of my patients who do it love it as well, but it isn't what I would ever call painless if it is done at a stronger settings which will lead to more improvement. Good luck!

Joel Schlessinger, MD
Omaha Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Recovery for Fraxel repair is variable

The actual recovery times vary according the patient's age and how aggressive the settings for the laser were. In general, after about 5-7 days, my patients can wear make up and go out in public. The first 24 hours there is slight oozing. Your maximum swelling is about day 2-3. About 90% of the swelling is down by day 7. You can remain red/pink for up to 6-8 weeks.

I am finding faster healing with use of Gentlewaves daily after the procedure and use of oral antioxidants (GliSODin Skin Nutrients - pre and post formulations). If you sleep upright, your swelling will be less. Strict adherence to post procedure care can ensure optimal healing.

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Panama City Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Recovery after Fraxel Repair

Even after an aggressive Fraxel Repair treatment, you can usually wear makeup in 7 days, give or take a day or two in either direction. Some patients heal faster than others. You will find the rest of the answers at our website above.

Take care,

Dr. Groff

William Groff, DO
San Diego Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Ten Days for full recovery after Fraxel Repair

Great question!  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.  Nevertheless, you will want about 7-10 days before you are nearly back to your normal self.  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

Margaret Mann, MD
Cleveland Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Recovery and Downtime

After Fraxel Repair, most people have pinpoint crusting that usually heals within 3-5 days.  After that the skin is swollen and looks sunburned.  Everyone heals a little differently.  I have had some patients go back to work in 7 days with make-up while for other people it can take up to 10-14 days before they look presentable enough to go back to work.  I recommend a two week window with nothing major on the work or social calendar.

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

Fraxel recovery time depends on treatment strength

Fraxel recovery can take as little as 3 to 4 days (for a lighter treatment) and up to 10 days (for a deep treatment). The type of treatment you will need depends on the amount of sun damage and wrinkling we are trying to repair. The recovery is not painful however the skin is pink to red and peels on the second or third day. Most patients are able to return to work by the 4th or 5th day after treatment. Although the skin can remain pink for 1 to 3 weeks (depending again on the depth of your treatment), but it is ok to wear makeup to cover up the redness.

Brian E. Dubow, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Recovery after Fraxel Repair

Make-up can be applied approximately one week following Fraxel Repair. Women in the work force can return to work at about that time, with make-up. There will be continued improvement in the skin during the second week, but after two weeks, the skin is very well healed and looking fine, although it is still pink in color. The pink color in the skin will gradually fade out over the next four weeks. There should not be any pain after a Fraxel Repair procedure.

Take care, and be well.

George Anterasian, MD
Santa Monica Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 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.