7 Fraxel Treatments Without Much Success - What Now?

I have completed 7 fraxel treatments on my back for severe sun damage without much success (maybe some fading). It has now been suggested to me that we start with IPL. Fraxel goes deeper whereas IPL treats superficial surface area - is this correct? Does this sound like the correct action to be taking?

Doctor Answers 3

Treating sun damage: Fraxel or IPL?

I am assuming that you had Fraxel re:store, because Fraxel re:store is safe to use on any area of the body while Fraxel re:pair has a slight risk of scarring if used on areas other than the face.  I am also assuming that when you say sun damage you mean brown spots and freckling.  The best treatment for freckling and brown sun spots is IPL, or intense pulsed light.  This treatment specifically targets the pigment, and only the pigment.  Fraxel re:store will help improve the texture of the skin.  If your skin texture is irregular or rough, then several Fraxel re:store treatments may be a good idea.  However if your main goal is to decrease the brown spots than I would have IPL.

Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Fraxel laser vs. IPL for brown spots on the back from sun damage

The Fraxel Restore is safe for the back as the Fraxel repair may be too risky for that location. The energy settings can be decreased on the Fraxel Restore to effect a more superficial treatment and the density can be increased to treat more surface area per treatment. The restore is done as a series of treatments several weeks apart. There is minimal downtime although there may be some flaking of skin, redness and slight swelling.  The IPL is a light source that can lighten brown spots and red capillary blood vessels. It is not a device whose settings can be changed to make it traverse as deeply as the Fraxel REstore. There can be risks with either treatment so make sure you see an experienced physician.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Fraxel for Sun Damage on Back

How well the Fraxel laser works depends on many factors, including the patient's skin, condition being treated, and laser settings or the "aggressiveness" of the treatment.  Both IPL and Fraxel can work well for superficial pigmentation and freckles.  The Faxel laser can be adjusted to penetrate more deeply into the skin than the IPL can, but most sun damage on the back can probably be effectively treated with either.  

Timothy G. Rodgers, MD, FAAD
Frisco Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 4 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.