Is It True That I Won't See Potential Damage From Fraxel Restore For 6 Months?

I have recently had one fraxel restore treatment. So far I am fairly happy with the results. Other reviews indicate that you don't actually know that your skin has been damaged by the laser for up to 6 months. Is there truth to this statement? I'm afraid to have another treatment after reading the negative feedback on this site. Any thoughts? In addition, should I fear the sun even 6 months post treatment? What is considered proper sun protection 6 months post laser treatment?

Doctor Answers 4

Damage from Fraxel Restore

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It is important to seek the help of a board certified physician who has had the training, skills and experience to perform Fraxel procedures successfully. Your chances of damage and complications will be greatly reduced. 

However, if in the event, your skin does become damaged from Fraxel Restore, the signs should be apparent almost immediately, as opposed to 6 months. 

In regards to sun protection, you should follow the guidelines given to you by your doctor who can give you more of a specific time frame for any lifestyle changes that involve the proper sun protection after your procedure. 

Regular application of sunscreen, however, should be ongoing. 

Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

It takes time to see improvement with fraxel

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one would not expect to see much difference at all after only one fraxel restore treatment. it is a fractional laser and, on average, about four treatments are required to reach the desired endpoint. the answer to the question you did not actually ask is that the IMPROVEMENT you hope to see may take six months or more to be fully manifest.  it is very hard to cause damage to the skin with this very safe technology, but in the unlikely event you did, it would probably be very apparent quite quickly. i would not be worried about seeing "damage" six months from now!

Bruce K. Barach, MD
Schenectady Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Fraxel Laser is Safe and Effective

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The Fraxel laser employs the concept of “fractional” resurfacing. This means a portion of the skin is treated, and a portion of the skin remains untreated; zones of treated skin are surrounded by intact, unaffected skin, so only a “fraction” of the skin is treated in any given session.

The Fraxel laser creates thousands of microscopic laser spots, each 70-100 microns in diameter. These laser spots (known as Microthermal Treatment Zones, or MTZs) are deep microscopic columns of coagulated tissue extending through the epidermis into the dermis. Just as important, however, are the areas of skin that are left untreated surrounding each treatment zone. For every MTZ the Fraxel laser creates, it leaves the surrounding skin unaffected and intact. This “fractional” treatment allows the skin to heal much faster than if the entire skin surface were treated at one time.

For many generalized resurfacing treatments, in skin types I-III, the fraction of treated skin ranges between 20% - 32%. Four treatment sessions are usually recommended. The results are progressive. Patients may not notice significant results after the first treatment, but they will notice improved results following each subsequent treatment session. Collagen remodeling will be ongoing during the treatment series and probably occurs for up to 3 months following the final treatment session.

We have had good experience with this laser and use it frequently for acne scarring and photoaging.

I don’t know what you are referring to when you state, “…that you don't actually know that your skin has been damaged by the laser for up to 6 months.” If the skin is damaged (e.g. burned) by the laser treatment you will know this almost immediately, or within the first 24 hours. We have never damaged any patient’s skin with this laser. So, without further details, I would say that statement is false.

Sun protection is important before, during, and after any laser program. Minimizing sun exposure reduces the risk for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and this risk would be increased in individuals with dyspigmentation or darker skin types. Six months after your laser procedure, the risk of laser-related PIH is nonexistent. At that that point you should treat your skin like you would normally. However, you should always “fear the sun”; and sunscreen should be a routine part of your daily skin care program.

I hope this is helpful. Best wishes, Ken Dembny

Kenneth Dembny, II, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Fraxel restore very safe

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I have been doing fraxel restore treatments for years and I am not aware of ANY damage caused by the laser treatments. Immediately after treatment some patients can have irritation, rash, acne breakouts and in darker skin types, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation or temporary darkening of the skin can occur. All these resolve quickly. For best results you will need more than one treatment.

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.