Fraxel for surfer girl - a bad idea?

I'm scheduled for a fraxel laser treatment for sun spots and smoothing lines and blemishes, but I surf. I thought I could just slather with a very high sun block after a week or so, but I'm reading other responses, and I sounds like that is a BAD idea. Could I slather and wear a hat in the water after a week? Can I ever surf again? Ug... maybe this is not the treatment for me! And, what is the best sunblock for being in the water? Any suggestions? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 5

Fraxel for surfer girl - a bad idea?

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Thank you for your question. If you are unable to stay out of the sun then you may want to consider alternative or less aggressive treatments that will fit in your daily life while giving you the results you desire. Consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon for all your treatment options.

Fraxel Laser for Surfers

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Fraxel laser is my favorite laser for reducing pigmentation and giving the skin an overall even complexion and reducing fine lines.  However, I always caution patients about going back in the sun after a laser procedure, especially in the water, where the water can reduce its effectiveness.  I would only consider this treatment if you can a longer window when you would not be in the sun.  Please consult an expert in lasers before considering this treatment.  

Fraxel Laser and Suntanning

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I never suggest direct exposure with sun after laser treatments even if there is a lot of sun screen.  I work in los angeles and do a significant number of laser procedures in patients who are around the sun all the time.  A hat and protection is essential to ensure you do not get any hyperpigmentation or scarring.  Please see a laser expert.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews

Fractional Resurfacing for Surfer

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Hi Lizabet.  If you are primarily concerned with dark spots, then a Fraxel is not the best option.  A q-switched laser is a much better option and does not have the same downtime.  An IPL is very likely even going to be superior for just brown spots.  If you are looking for improvement of fine lines, then this is where fractionated resurfacing can help the most.

The first question to answer is whether you are getting the right treatment.  After that, if you still decide that you should go forward with fractional resurfacing, we would suggest having the procedure during the winter and taking a couple weeks off from surfing.

To see examples of laser treatments for sun damage in orange County, CA, click on the link for before and after pictures. 

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fraxel - dramatic visible improvements in skin problems..

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The Fraxel laser treatment can improve fine lines, pigmentation and other dyschromia. Patients typically see dramatic visible improvements in skin problems, after the treatment.  You may experience redness of the skin 6-12 weeks after the procedudre.  If the skin is exposed to sunlight during this healing phase, it is possible to develope brown spots (hyperpigmentation).  It is important to follow your post operative care instructions provided by your doctor, to protect you new skin.

Lenore Sikorski, MD
Orange County Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 25 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.