What Should I Do to Prepare for Fraxel Treatment?

pre-fraxel, what's needed to get ready?

Doctor Answers 6

Preparation for Fraxel depends on your skin

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It is recommended for darker skin types to start using hydroquinone for two weeks before the treatment. You should avoid tanning and stop using any harsh exfoliating product for two weeks as well. If you have a history of cold sores it is recommended to take Valtrex as a preventative treatment. To minimize the pain and discomfort during the procedure you can also take some vicodine or valium. Using a physical block sunscreen after the treatment is very important as well.

Get ready for lots of compliments after you heal

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Before Fraxel re:pair, you need to:

  • Not tan for two weeks
  • Stay off of all exfoliating treatments
  • Take Valtrex, an antibiotic, and a topical steroid cream beginning the day before your treatment

Good luck.

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Preparation for Fraxel

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It is a very good idea to make sure you have everything you need for your post-treatment care before you have Fraxel. You are not going to want to go shopping after your treatment.

Make sure you don't have a tan, and use sunblock when you are outside so you don't get a tan for one month before your treatment. Stop using all retinoids and all glycolic acid products 2 weeks before your treatment. Get your Valtrex prescription filled and start taking it the day before your treatment. If your doctor wants you to take an antibiotic as well, check with her or him as to when to begin this. If you are going to be taking a prescription pain medicine or anxiety medicine, get this prescription filled and make sure you understand when to take it.

Purchase the mild facial cleanser, emollient cream/moisturizer, and physical sunblock that you will be using after the treatment. After Fraxel restore, I recommend Cerave or Elta cleanser; Aquaphor or Elta as a very emollient thicker moisturizer or Cerave or EpiCeram as a creamy moisturizer; and Elta or Vanicream sunscreen.

Everyone reacts differently to the treatment, and depending on your personal healing reactions and the intensity of your treatment, you may want to take anywhere from 2-5 days off from work and social engagements.

Jordana S. Gilman, MD
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon

Preparation for Fraxel

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Thank you for your question. Usually for darker skin we recommend using hydroquinone 2 weeks before treatment. You should avoid tanning and stop using any tough exfoliating product for 2 before treatment. It is recommended to take Valtrex as a preventive treatment if you have any cold sore history. You may also take some Vicodine or valium to minimize the pain and discomfort during the procedure. Most importantly you must use a sunblock after treatment. Best of Luck!

Hardik Soni, MD (not currently practicing)
Summit Emergency Medicine Physician

Preparation for Fraxel

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It is always best to ask this during your consultation.  At that time the physician can advise you of some important "do's and don'ts" or have you meet with a medical esthetician to set-up a regimen of products that will compliment your laser procedure. Some physicians will have their patients on a hydroquinone regimen before Fraxel, as well as Valtrex and even sometimes antibiotics.  Most topical medications such as Retin-A should be stopped prior to laser resurfacing.  Again, best thing to do, follow the instructions given during the consultation when you set-up your appointment.


Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 127 reviews

Preparation for Fraxel depends on which Fraxel

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If you are going to have Fraxel Restore, you may not need to do much in preparation. It would be wise to stop Retin-A and exfoliants for two weeks prior so as not to have hypersensitive skin right before the laser treatment. If you have had episodes of fever blisters than you might be told to take an antiviral medication and if you are having Fraxel Repair then you should definitely take the antiviral medication. Some doctors also recommend antibiotics before Fraxel Repair, but this is not a requirement. You do not need special pre treatment creams unless you are somewhat dark-skinned and at risk of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, then some doctors recommend lightnening creams to be used for a week or more prior to the laser. 

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 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.