I'm rather shocked to see so many negative experiences with Fraxel described here. I wonder if the problem is with the practitioners, not with the technology. I have had several Fraxel treatments over the past 2 years and the results have been very good. I also haven't expected any miracles. Basically I wanted to get rid of spots and tighten up my face a bit. Fraxel has been very effective for the spots.
The claim to stimulate collagen production in the long term, well... I don't know. Still it has helped my skin a lot. I'm 52 now and have fair, delicate skin which spots easily from the sun and Fraxel really evens up the skin tone. As far as the procedure goes, it is a bit painful but not so bad. The first time I did it I had a lot more swelling and brown spots. I had big red puffs under my eyes for the first two mornings. After that the brown spots came out and eventually peeled away. I think everyone should be prepared to look worse before they look better, and the timing may depend on the individual. For me it took about 10 days before I could see the real results.
Tip: make sure that your practitioner has a lot of training and experience. Mine is the person who trains all the doctors in my area and she has been working with Fraxel since it first came out. I've always been happy with her work.