Fraxel Laser Treatment Dangers

I am considering getting Fraxel laser surgery done to reduce the appearance of acne scars. You mentioned that there are a higher chance of side effects with a higher intensity laser beam. Is scarring one of these side effects?

Doctor Answers 10

Scarring can occur

Yes. Scarring can occur with either the Fraxel Re:store or Re:pair laser but there is a higher chance with the latter. Scarring may be red thick raised or depressed scars. This is rare but no physician can guarantee that scarring won’t occur with chemical peels, dermabrasion or laser resurfacing of any kind.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

No Dangers With Fraxel

Both Fraxel Re:Pair and Fraxel Re:Store can do an excellent job of smoothing out scars, making them less noticeable or even invisible. They have very few side effects and have been proven safe by the FDA and by years of use. Re:Pair is a stronger, ablative CO2 laser and will work in one session. Re:Store is gentler, non-ablative and will probably take several sessions to remove your scars. 

In the hands of an expert, neither Fraxel laser should cause scarring. During your consultation with a board-certified dermatologist, your skin will be evaluated for texture, tone and color so that the correct laser and settings can be determined. Side effects for Re:Pair include a reddened face that may feel tight for up to two weeks. Re:Store generally has no side effects at all. Some peeling or dryness may occur for some patients with either laser. Please find a board-certified dermatologist to find out which Fraxel will work best for you.

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

Fraxel possible side effects

Common side effects or reactons to fractional ablative laser treatments such as the Fraxel Laser or the Sciton HALO Laser include swelling, redness, skin flaking. The incidence of these is dramatically reduced with the HALO’s unique hybrid synchronous fractional/ full-field energy delivery mechanism. Patients do have some stinging during the treatment and for about an hour or two afterwards. By day three most patients get a bronzed or tan look. Every patient should be asked prior to treatment if they are susceptible to cold sores and pre-treated if necessary. Side effects also depend on the intensity and depth of the treatment. The stronger the settings the more downtime you can expect.

Marco Ellis, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Fraxel Laser Treatment

If Fraxel Laser Treatment done properly for acne scars, Fraxel Laser Treatment should work great and shows good result. 

Jhonny Salomon, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Fraxel Laser Treatment and Scarring

The benefit of Fraxel Re:store is its relatively low side effect profile.  By leaving the outer layers of the skin less affected, most of the initial reaction is limited to mild-to-moderate redness and swelling for 1-2 days after the treatment.  This accounts for the minimal social downtime.   After the swelling and redness resolves, fine dandruff like flaking can occur, which may last 1 week.  Like other laser devices, burning, scarring, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation can occur, but the risks are minimized with the fractionation of energy.  These uncommon side effects, but real risks are the reason why it is important to have your Fraxel treatment performed in a physician's office.

Narin (Joe) Apisarnthanarax, MD
Houston Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Fraxel laser can cause scarring so go to an expert in laser surgery

Scarring is ALWAYS a side effect with ANY laser. That is why it is VERY important to go to a physician who is an expert in laser surgery. Reducung the appearance of acne scars usually takes more than one treatment. We have found that patient’s can expect a 50% improvement with each treatment so that 1 treatment gives you a 50% improvement , 2 treatments give you a 75% improvement, 3 treatments gives you a 87.5% improvement, etc.

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Risk of Scarring with Fraxel Repair for Acne Scars


With Fraxel Repair, we are using fractionated CO2 laser which has much more dramatic results but there is more downtime.  With the energy we use to improve acne scars, there are open areas of healing skin that require meticulous attention to pre and post care including finishing all medications since not following these can lead to infection and thereby scarring.  We have not seen any cases of scarring even on the top energy of the machine but we extensively counsel our patients and follow them closely after to monitor for side effects.


Grace Liu, MD
Newport Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Risk of scarring is less with Fractionated lasers

Although there is a chance of scarring with any form of laser treatments with Fraxels Restore or CO2 Repair it is less likely to get a scar on the face.

I have seen scarring on necks however, so one should be careful with off the face treatment with the Fraxel Repair.

Nissan Pilest, MD
Irvine Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Fraxel Laser (Re:Pair) Scarring

ANY laser can cause scarring. However, in the hands of a physician experienced in laser procedures it is far less likely. I have extensive experience with the Fraxel Laser (Re:Store and Re:Pair) and have always seen improvement in acne scarring with no new resultant scars. I will post photos within the next day or two of examples.

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Fraxel Laser Risk of Scarring When Treating Acne Scars

Hi Vin,

Fraxel re:store is less aggressive with almost no chance of scarring with the series of treatments.

Fraxel re:pair (fractionated CO2 laser) is more aggressive and treats acne scarring more effectively. There is increased chance of scarring with more aggressive treatments, but it is very rare, especially in acne scar patients.

Good luck with your treatments and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 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.