Fraxel Re:store in Washington, DC

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First, I was shocked by the price, I was expecting...

First, I was shocked by the price, I was expecting it to be half that much! But I have been going to my derm for 5 years now and wouldn't see anyone else.

I am 36, had the full face and the chest in the hopes of getting rid of brown spots on the chest, and brown splotches, freckles, and fine lines on the face. I am very fair and have, as an adult, been very religious about sunblock so my skin is in ok shape. The doctor said she thought one treatment might be enough for me. My derm also uses Gentlewaves LED after Fraxel, she says in their experience it helps minimize redness.

I had the procedure yesterday (Friday) about 2 pm, derm said they call it Fraxel Friday around the office because so many do it on Friday and ready to return to work on Monday. We'll see about that!

I sat with numbing cream on for about 45 minutes; I jokingly asked if I could have a valium (I was nervous), and to my surprise they said yes, as long as I wasn't driving! I would describe the procedure as uncomfortable rather than painful, with the exception of -- for me, I'm sure everyone is different -- around the eye socket and top of my cheekbone. That was painful, but over quickly. It didn't feel hot, it felt more like someone had a small tool with a piece of rough sandpaper on it and was scraping my skin with it. Uncomfortable, but tolerable except for the aforementioned areas (but even with those, it's over fairly quickly).

Immediately after the procedure and last night, I was a little swollen and bright red, as though I had a very bad sunburn. I could also see a sort of grid pattern on my face, as though I'd pressed it against a screen door for a while. My face felt very hot and was stinging for about an hour, then mellowed to warm and tingly, which lasted another couple hours. Since then, I have felt nothing except a little tightness.

It's Saturday and I am now about 24 hours post procedure. I am not red at all, I would say I am just slightly pink. However, my face is swollen to about twice its normal size (and I followed their instructions to sleep with my head elevated)! This has me a little freaked out, as I have to go to work on Monday, so we shall see. I am following their instructions about ice and am hoping that helps! Will update as I go.

A few hours after I wrote this review, I had a...

A few hours after I wrote this review, I had a very unpleasant development. The entire bottom half of my face became covered in whitehead pimples. Most of them were small, but not all of them were. This was Saturday late afternoon/early evening, and here I am Monday morning and it's just as bad (I stayed home from work today). My face is also still quite swollen, though the swelling has improved since Saturday.

I am, right now, deeply regretting this. My face is a complete mess and I don't want to go out of the house. I am really hoping this breakout clears up soon!

It's now the following Wednesday (March 16, I had...

It's now the following Wednesday (March 16, I had the procedure Friday, March 11). I finally went back to work today, though reluctantly (I'm trying to keep to myself, luckily I have no meetings). The entire bottom 1/3 of my face is still covered in remnants of the horrific breakout that occurred the day after my fraxel procedure. I am really hoping this goes away and doesn't leave any long term red markings on my face or, worse, scars.

On the positive side, the top 2/3 of my face looks pretty great. The fine lines/crow's feet around my eyes are GONE, as is the crepiness that was starting to show on the tops of my cheekbones cheeks when I smiled. If the bottom 1/3 of my face clears up, I will be very happy with the results!

I would suggest to anyone getting this for the first time that, if possible, you take a week off from work. From my experience and from everything I've read, it seems it is rare that someone can have the procedure on Friday and comfortably go back to work Monday. Taking some time off will allow you to heal and allow you some wiggle room in case you have an unexpected reaction, like I did.

I will update again when some more time has passed, hoping the bottom part of my face improves!

The area that was broken out is still peeling (I...

The area that was broken out is still peeling (I just read another "fraxel side/after effects" article that stated the peeling would last 3-5 days, my whole face is still peeling at day 7). I could deal with peeling; HOWEVER, the area that was broken out (which was perfectly smooth before the treatment, I did not have acne scars) now seems to have an orange peel texture. This has me REALLY worried.

Ok, so here we are two weeks + 1 day post (I had...

Ok, so here we are two weeks + 1 day post (I had it on the 11th). The grid pattern is gone, and it was maybe yesterday that I finally felt confident that the marks on my chin/jawline/corner-of-mouth area were going away for good. So at this point, I would finally say worth it, though just barely. Do I see an improvement? Definitely. Do I see $2750 worth of improvement? No. I do see a big improvement in my crow's feet, but don't see an improvement in the rest of my face and see no improvement at all in my decollete.

I am relived that that red marks and orange peel quality I saw in my skin are gone! My only warning to people getting this for this first time is not to assume that you will be one of the people who has 2-3 days of downtime. Again, maybe you will, but I think it's risky to count on it. I did not feel truly comfortable returning to normal social activities and work until a full week after, and now at just over two weeks I would feel comfortable going to an important event or out on a date.

Would I do it again? Meh, I don't know. Maybe, though I would take a lot more time off of work and get my doc to give me antibiotics beforehand to prevent the horrendous breakout I experienced. I don't think I've seen nearly $3,00 worth of improvement, so I will have to discuss with the doc how much more of an improvement I can expect to see with a second treatment.

At three months post, I think I am finally ready...

At three months post, I think I am finally ready to say it was not worth it. I am happy to report that the orange peel texture is gone from the area of my face that had the bumps. But what I thought had been an improvement to the crow's feet turned out to be residual swelling that went awy, and the fine lines/crow's feet have returned.

I see no damage to my skin at this point. However, I also see no improvement. I realize one typically needs more than one session for the full results, but for three thousand dollars and the hellish recovery period, I expect to see SOME improvement, even if slight. I see no improvement in texture, fine lines, and redness or brown spots. I have started a course of IPL (not at my derm) and after one session (with no down time and at 1/7 of the cost!) I see more of an improvement than I did with the fraxel.
Washington DC Dermatologic Surgeon

I have been seeing her for 5 years. I never feel rushed or like she can't wait to be done with me (like I do with most other doctors),, I find her very honest (she has told me I don't need procedures I've asked her about having), and the staff is fantastic which I always think is a good reflection of the doctor. Update: I love my derm, but she gets an F on responsiveness. I had a bad reaction to the fraxel and called the office several times and left messages and sent emails, and to this day have gotten no response. Luckily things have improved on their own.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
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