Still Healing, but Like What I See So Far! - Severna Park, MD

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I am a 39 year old female, with very fair skin,...

I am a 39 year old female, with very fair skin, very light blond hair and blue eyes. I just lost over 100 pounds and have had botox and fillers (restylane / perlane combo and radiesse) to get rid of fine lines and replace some volume lost during the weight loss process. I was looking for something more that could help with more removal of fine lines and skin tightening, plus maybe add a more youthful appearance to my skin. I decided on Fraxel Repair and had the procedure done on Monday, March 30th.

I wish I had taken pictures (before, during the healing, and after), but unfortunately I did not. I can tell you that although I read a ton of reviews on RealSelf and other web sites, I was not prepared for what I would look like during the healing process and now that I look back on it, I did go in with some unrealistic expectations. I am taking a little longer to heal, my skin is still extremely bright red without any make up on, but I am liking what I see so far. My skin is tighter, especially around the eyes and mid-face, gone are the broken capillaries that were around my nose and cheek area, I do not have any fine lines around my eyes, and my pores are smaller. I will admit, I still have some swelling, but not much, mainly I am dealing with the redness, but good make-up (I am using a combination of Jane Iredale and Colorscience) will camouflage that until the redness dissipates. My goal is also not to wear as much make-up as I did before to have that beautiful complexion, we shall see over the next couple of months if this goal will be achieved.

Day before Procedure:

Started Bactrium and Valtrex, which I would continue until both perscriptions were gone, still have 2 more days of valtrex.

Day of Procedure (Monday):

Went to doctors office 1 hour prior to the procedure being performed (my Mom came with me to drive me home and take care of me the first night and day after procedure), was given and a anti-anxiety pill (Avatan?) and a mini micro-derm then a numbing cream was put on my face. About 45 minutes later a shot of demerol and and then another shot of something was given, not sure what, but by that time I don't think I cared. I do remember I kept telling them I felt like a block head, I could hear the doctor and PA talking but could not determine what they were talking about. A couple of times I recall some pain and I muct have said something, because I remember the nurse saying "don't worry, you are doing just fine", but no pain that would haunt me. After the procedure they let me wake up a little and handed me over to my mother to take home, they may have done some other things, but honestly I was out of it until I got home and the reality that I had to start doing the post care procedures kicked in. Which I did like clock work, vinegar soaks / washes every two hours, I did this for the first 3 days, maybe more then what was called for, but it felt good. After vinegar soaks was given special recovery cleanser and balm to use, once that ran out I was to switch to cetaphil cleanser and aquaphor.

First Day After procedure (Tuesday):

continued with vinegar wash / soak regimen, ice packs, and medication. Face swollen to the size which felt like a balloon, eyes so swollen they were just little slits, also some bruising, and i also went into the doctors office for a check up and a gentlewaves treatment. I know some of the PS's on this site say these are worthless and I am not sure it helped either, but it was included in the cost of the procedure, so what did I care, at least it was not doing any harm. Doctor said I looked fine, I felt I looked like a monster, I made my way to the appointment with a towel over my head and had them let me in the back door, I did not want to scare any patients. Continuing with 2 hour vinegar soaks / washes and recovery cleanser and balm.

Second day After procedure(Wednesday):

Still swollen, red, skin starting to peel, taking meds, to the doctors for another checkup and gentlewaves. Continuing with vinegar washes / soaks and recovery cleanser and balm.

Third Day After Procedure(Thursday):

Swelling going down, skin still very, very red, peeling almost finished, still washing with recovery cleanser and applying balm. I am getting antsy and wondering what i did to my face and if I would ever be able to leave the house again!

Forth Day after Procedure (Friday):

Still swollen, red, taking meds, doctors office for gentlewaves, did go over a friends house that night, prepared her for what i would look like, but had to get out of the house I was driving myself crazy. She said I looked like someone that had a REALLY bad sunburn, sun poisoning, the redness was more like a purple red, but I had peeled, so I was just a little swollen and slick from Aquaphor, which i had begun to hate by this time.

Fifth Day After procedure (saturday):

The weather was really nice and I was stuck inside, felt like a caged animal, I think that was the hardest part, not being able to get out. Still a little swollen, face extremely red, felt like sand paper, by this time I ran out of the recovery balm and switched over to aquaphor, which I hated! Had some friends and family stop by over the past couple of days and all they could really do is look at me like I was in pain, mainly because my skin was soooooo RED. Kept hoping I would wake up in the morning at it would be a bright pink, but no it was still bright fire engine red.

Day 6 after the Procedure (Sunday):

Swelling going down more and more each day, still my face is bright red, but I could not stand it, slapped some bare minerals one and went to the grocery store, needed some comfort food, I can say that no one looked at me like I was a monster, but then again I would not look at anyone in the eye and mostly kept my head down.

Day 7 after the Procedure (Monday):

Face bright red still, went back to the doctors for a check up and gentlewaves treatment and to see if I could get any better makeup to cover redness, I had to go back to work. They did say that this degree of redness was unusual for this stage, but they have seen it in a couple of there patients, not many, but it would go down, they could prescribe a steriod cream, but it would hinder the healing process and some potential results and asked me to give it a couple more days.

Day 8 (Tuesday):

Went back to work with a ton of make-up on, just told colleagues I had an allergic reaction to some medication, but otherwise nothing much was said.

Day 9 (Wednesday):

Slept flat the night before and woke up with 2 swollen eyes, needless to say I worked from home, I also had another scheduled doctors appointment for a gentlewaves treatment. My face is still really red and definitely considering steriod cream. They asked me to give it until Friday.

Day 10 (Thursday):

Is this my turning point? Not sure and I am not going to lie, my face is still really red, but can hide it with make-up. The make up goes on really well, I look like I have porecelin skin, smooth, no huge pores, line free. I am using the colorscience corrector kit, jane iredale pressed powder base, and I use jane Iredale D20 spray to set the makeup and spritz throughout the day, it is supposed to be good for post laser patients, so far I like the results. I am not caking on the makeup, just enough to reduce the redness.

I have switched over to Skincueticals cleanser for sensitive skin, Skincueticals TNS Ceramide Cream, and Avene moisturizer for sensitive skin. I also use the recovery balm at night for extra hydration, this is the balm they gave me at the doctors office right after the procedure was done, at first they said to use aquaphor, but i explained that the stuff my me feel like I could scratch my entire face off, so they gave me some of the recovery balm, which felt great last night and absorbed into my skin really well, were the aquaphor just felt like it sat there and did not accomplish anything.

I know I will not see some results for several months, but what I see so far I like and look forward to seeing the additional benefits.

I found the social downtime to be the hardest. I am normally out and about every night of the week, whether it be with friends or at the gym. So not being able to do anything was killing me. I am now able to feel comfortable in social setting and will go back to the gym, next week and I am looking forward to it.

Also, I wear sun skin, Elta 45, and will never leave the house without my face being protected in some form or fashion: whether it be sunscreen or for long periods out in the sun, sunscreen and hat.

I will continue to post updates on my experience with Fraxel Repair. I guess if you left with anything is to just understand everyone heals differently, I would have loved to be like one of the other posts that looked great after several days, but I was not that lucky, but do feel I will look great in the next couple of weeks after the redness dies down a little more and I am really looking forward to seeing the end results.

Please feel free to ask me any questions, I will be happy to share any details I might have left out.

Day 17 After Procedure (Thursday, April...

Day 17 After Procedure (Thursday, April 16th):

My face and neck are still pink, but not where need to cover it up in make-up or hide in my house, it's a pretty pink, like I have had some sun. I have had a couple of break outs, but they heal quickly, I think it might be from some of the heavier moisturizer I am putting on, especially at night, my skin still feels real dry and a little sand paperish. I have also noticed that my skin is fragile, if I pull to hard or bump it, it can leave a mark, which heals quickly. I also have to learn not to touch or pick at my face, for example the couple of blemishes I have gotten, if I left it alone it healed and went away quickly, but if I picked at it, it was quick to leave a nice little mark and just made the blemish last that much longer. You would think I would have learned this by now (lol)!

I am still very pleased with my results. I have received a lot of compliments, mostly things like "have you done something with your hair?" or "is that a new outfit?", my Mom said my skin looked great and I looked 15 years younger when i saw her at Easter, she had not seen me sine a week before when i was still extremely red, but she is my Mom, so i am not sure I can trust what she says, especially the 15 years younger bit, that would make me look 24, although I would love that!

Now I am just anxious to get on a good skin care regimin to keep my results looking good.

I will keep posting as i still feel I am going to see more results over the next couple of weeks/months and i am looking forward to it.



Dr. Ross Van Antwerp

My doctor had many years of laser experience and was very knowlegeable on the procedure.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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