How long does swelling and dark bronzing last after Fraxel?

I have olive skin and got my procedure done 24 hours ago and my face is now very dark (tight, and scaly almost like a bad sunburn). it is also still swollen mostly around the cheeks.

Doctor Answers 6

NORMAL reaction.

Hi there, yes, the bronzing is normal, especially if its only 24 hours. Your Laser Specialist should have shown you the before, during, and after pics of the recovery period. Expect swelling for another day or so, ice can help. If this is 1927/ 1550 Fraxel, expect peeling over the next few days. 

If you have olive complexion you will need to take extra care and make sure you don't develop post laser darkening- that means extra sun protection and fading agents if needed.


Dr Davin Lim 
Laser Dermatologist

Brisbane Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Fraxel and Bronzing

The Fraxel laser is a fabulous laser for treating sun damage, scars, and wrinkles.  Bronzing is typical after the 1927 setting and can last for several days on the face.  If you have olive complexion it can also take longer depending on what setting what used and how many joules of energy to treat the skin.  For the best cosmetic results please consult a board certified dermatologist with experience with the Fraxel laser.

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

Expect bronzing after Fraxel

This is normal - the full resolution will depend on how aggressive your treatment was and which wavelength was used. 

That you have olive skin means you have a higher risk of post treatment hyper-pigmentation. If you were not pre-treated with a pigment suppressor prior to your Fraxel laser, then you and your physician will have to be watchful to see if that occurs. If you were given a pigment suppressor to use after the treatment, be sure to stick with it. There are various suppressing agents available - the most known being hydroquinone.

Staying out of the sun, using sunscreen and not picking at any residual flaking or peeling skin are especially important cautions for anyone with darker skin. Also avoid getting hot -  jacuzzi, sauna or heavy exercise cause your skin to heat up. Heat of any type, even cooking, can trigger pigment cells to go into overdrive.

Treat your lasered skin gently and don't use products that are harsh or acidic during your skin's recovery.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Skin after Fraxel

Mild swelling and bronzing of the skin can occur after a treatment with the 1927nm Fraxel.  This is usually followed by flaking/peeling of the skin which typically lasts 3-5 days.  Bright redness, mild swelling and some darkening are common after treatment with the 1550 nm wavelength and this typically lasts 1 week before resolving.  Fraxel repair is similar to 1550nm but a bit more invasive. So it depends which Fraxel you had, what it was for and what settings were used.  Any side effects should resolve within the first week after the procedure.  If they are lasting longer then you should contact your Dermatologist and have the skin assessed.

Karen Hammerman, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fraxel and Color of Skin

It all depends on what type of Fraxel was performed.  Typically for the 1927 wavelength, you will be brown and darker for 2-3 days.  For 1550 wavelength, it is normally more red/pink and a sunburn like effect but can get darker for a day or so.  For the fraxel re:pair, there is much more heating and color change and peeling is more signfiicant based on the energy and density.  I suggest speaking to your physician about what was performed and what you should expect.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

Fraxel Recovery

Part of your recovery will depend on which of the Fraxel treatments you had done. There are three Fraxel lasers, Refine, Restore, and Repair.  We perform the Repair treatment which is the most aggressive and typically the longest recovery. Our patients are usually dark and swollen for several days but rapidly recover each day during the first week.  You should contact your physician's office to check in on your progress and ensure you are on the right track.

Larry Pollack, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 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.