*For something that is minimally invasive, it can over the course of time improve your appearance.
*Probably one of the most documented laser systems out there, with a strong efficacy/safety rate.
*Can correct a wide series of dermatological issues, not just scars.
*Expensive, and the re:store system will take a large amount of time for both booking/healing per appointment.
*May not respond as well to everyone, like all scar revision it is ultimately dependent on the person.
*It is painful, if you're squeemish on pain then this may not be for you.
Here's my full thought on the Fraxel re:store system. For me, personally, I can tell you that after three treatments between 40-50mj and treatment levels 6-7, that the laser system has definitely improved my skin's overall condition. My skin, Asian probably between IV-V, has had a lot of issues since puberty; acne, acne scars, sebaceous hyperplasia, and due to a blotched dermabrasion operation a few years ago add in some hypertrophic scarring and hypopigmentation. It was a mess and I can tell you it's been an emotional journey to shoulder all the extra damage to my face. I blame myself because of what happened due to the dermabrasion; it was mostly being too trusting with doctors/plastic surgeons and not doing my own DD (research).
Here's the bottom line for all health-related issues, it's ultimately in your own hands to do the research to prevent any complications. The doctor/plastic surgeon will do what he/she believes is best, but they may not be experienced with certain skin types, may push a product that is more damaging than good, or may have an outdated mentality on skin revision. I don't know how many thousands of hours I poured into different publications and articles to correct all these problems. So many days spent reading on how to improve myself instead of spending them enjoying the prime of my life. I can say that after a few years of such research that I think it was well worth it.
My research concluded this: Fraxel re:store compared to other systems has a safety record that is unparalleled and numerous supporting research on its' ability to improve a wide range of skin issues. Safety was the top thing on my list, especially after dermabrasion, and then efficacy. Pain and cost was a non-issue in my mind. That's why I can't comment on most of the other laser systems, especially invasive/ablative lasers. Had one treatment of the Smoothbeam and noticed a slight improvement in my acne but that was it.
The literature right now says that the re:store system has after 5 treatments an approximate efficacy increase of 50% for acne scars, 65% for hypertrophic scarring (vascular), and about 50-60% for hypopigmentation. Most of these articles/papers are available online for people to google if they want to.
Quantitatively, how do I fare? With just three I'd say around a 25-30% improvement on my atrophic, sunken scars; 60-70% on my hypopigmentation, 10% on my hypertrophic. I do believe that after another two treatments, most of my sunken scars will have improved by at least 50% if not more. So all in all, even if my results don't match clinical studies, I don't think I'll be upset at all. In fact in my position even a 15% improvement after 5 treatments would justify it in my opinion.
I personally plan to do another 9 treatments over the course of 2 years. Wish I could do more but I'm getting deployed so my options are limited, but it will give my skin to rest a little here-and-there. I don't have the mindset that it'll make my skin perfect, but at least it'll be natural and presentable, something that it wasn't a few months back in my opinion.
Now a couple things: yes, I know the Fraxel website says that it's painless. It isn't true, if you intend to get a real procedure done at ratings that will produce results, it will be painful. Usually the numbing cream will make the first few passes unnoticeable, but by passes 6-8 you'll start tearing up. The first one I had, I think I filled up my goggles entirely with tears. The pain didn't bother me to be honest, in my mind I felt that I could bear the pain for 10-20 mins as long as it moved my skin in the right direction.
I know the review is all cluttered and I'll be happy to answer any questions for things that I left out, but two things to emphasize here: 1, do all the research you can for whatever operation/procedure you want done, it may make things 10x worse than you initially planned. For example I wouldn't recommend dermabrasion for ANYONE, if you're prone to develop hypertrophic scarring or if you have any pigmentation you're putting yourself at risk. Now the Fraxel re:store laser does have risks with it as well, but weight the pros/cons, and really ask yourself if this is worth it. 2, start making life decisions that promote healthy cell-growth and skin. This means cutting down on caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. Exercise regularly, get plenty of water/nutrients. Especially before and after a procedure, these factors will affect how much you improve. Look into Retin-A, I think my skin improved as modest as it did because of Retin-A. Perhaps you were going to normally get a 5-10% improvement per Fraxel re:store procedure, but because of Retin A it was more 7-12%. Small gains over multiple procedures will add up big.
Anyways, I might reorganize the review later and of course update it with more procedures as they happen. Hope this helps someone out there;