About 3-4 years ago I went to my dermatologist...
About 3-4 years ago I went to my dermatologist asking about ways to reduce my acne scarring. He had referred me to another dermatologist who had experience with laser treatments. In my consultation, he suggested I do Fraxel treatments due to my ethnicity (asian with dark skin). I did not like this clinic very much because of the long wait times and how rushed the doctor seemed to be. He spent less than 10 minutes with me and the rest of the time was a technician answering my questions. I was not very keen on the treatment once I found out the doctor doesn't even perform the procedure, the technicians did.
So fast forward to now, I moved to Vancouver and met with a new dermatologist, Dr. Vincent Ho at The Lions Laser Skin Centre. He also suggested Fraxel but was much more patient, he went through all the details of the procedure with me and was very honest; 3-4 treatments would be required for a 50% improvement. After much research on this site and others, I decided to go ahead with it even though the reviews for the procedure varied greatly.
Dr. Ho suggested I take a tylenol 1 hour before the procedure and to come to the appointment 30mins earlier to apply Maxilene (a numbing cream). When I got there they had no Maxilene left but told me not to worry because they also use a nerve block which is administered using a needle and poking all over the areas to be treated. This was already relatively painful because of all the spots he had to inject it in.
After leaving the nerve block to work for about 20 mins, Dr. Ho returned to start the procedure. There were some areas where I could feel very little from the lasers but most of the areas I could feel quite severe pain. The discomfort was definitely not minimal as the pamphlet had said. I don't know if the numbing cream would have helped but if I go for another treatment I will definitely go and purchase the Maxilene from a pharmacy myself and apply it.
Once the procedure was done the treated areas felt very hot and they gave me ice for it. I had little to no bleeding following the procedure. The nurse said the areas would feel hot for the rest of the day and to apply ice to it but once I got home my face felt fine so I did not use any ice.
This review is mostly for me to log how the treatment is working out but I also hope to help others in deciding whether or not they would like to go through with it. Feel free to ask me any questions.
Day 0, 2 hours after the treatment:
I had a little bleeding in 2 small areas. The holes produced by the laser can be easily seen.
Scabs were starting to form where the holes were.
More scabs forming
Scabs falling off and reduced redness
Sorry about the focus in some of the pictures, it's hard taking selfies lol
2-3 pimples popped up, not sure if it's due to the treatment or maybe I would have gotten them anyways. A small amount of scabs are falling off when applying the ointment.
About 50% of the scabs have fallen off
About 2/3 of the scabs have fallen off. The grid pattern of holes is fairly visible in certain areas where the scabs are gone; skin looks quite textured. Redness has been greatly reduced.
Scabs all gone
Scabs about 90% gone. For the past few days I have been getting lots of whiteheads where the holes were made. I squeezed many out and read afterwards that I probably shouldn't have done so...
No pictures, but 95% of scabs gone. Just a few left in odd places.
No more scabs! Skin still slightly red. There's a space between two sections the Dr. treated and from there I can definitely see the difference in skin colour
Still slightly pink
Forgot to mention that on Day 7 I began to use Cetaphil cleanser, Cetaphil daily facial moisturizer with SPF 15 during the day, and the antibacterial ointment (from the clinic) before bed.
Still a little bit pink in the treated areas
A little over 1 month
Haven't been able to update for while due to school work but here's some new pictures.
I wish I was able to take some macro shots of my face before the procedure but I did not have the proper lens for my camera. Also, those pictures weren't even that good; so when I am comparing them to seeing my face in mirror, it's hard to quantify any improvements.
There are 2 cystic acne scars, one on each cheek, that I've always paid attention to since they were quite large and deep. Based on memory, I'm pretty sure these 2 scars have improved; they seem slightly shallower but the biggest improvement I'd say is that the edges of the scars have smoothed out and are less defined.
But I can definitely still see the grid pattern of holes on my face.