It's been four days since I opted to have Fraxel Dual (1927) on my face for stubborn melasma. I am truly amazed - although I have to say I was a nervous wreck before hand because of all the unhappy people who have tried Fraxel. My colleague recommended her doctor, who did Fraxel on her five times (although not the new Fraxel Dual), and he came highly praised for his skill.
Some background on me: I'm half German/half Palestinian with light olive skin. I've gone through two pregnancies, and developed melasma with my first pregnancy on both sides of my nose and on my upper lip, with some on my forehead and temples.
I've tried Kligman's formula, 2 and 4% hydroquinone, Triluma, Retin-A (which I've used anyway since I was 19 for acne), a series of microdermabrasions, a series of chemical peels, a series of IPL treatments, you name it. I found that the IPL did lift some of the melanin and that, coupled with using Triluma for a year (forget about using it for 6 weeks - you need far longer to see results, and my doctor confirmed it), did lighten my melasma enough for my husband to notice. But it still really REALLY bugged me - my make-up never really covered it - well, I don't need to go into why I hated my melasma, because you wouldn't be reading this if you didn't suffer the same problem.
I'm 41 years old, and I have to say that my skin had also been looking tired and dull, with some freckling. I spent some time at the beach as a teenager, but since I was 18 I have used sunblock judiciously, so I think my skin, from a wrinkling standpoint, is in good shape. But my color was dull and I just looked gray, even though I'm a huge face scrub fan.
When I made an appointment with the doctor, he suggested the new Fraxel Dual with the new 1927 wavelength that specifically targets hyperpigmentation.
I had the procedure done last Friday. They put some numbing cream on my face, and the procedure was not too bad from a pain standpoint. The doctor did it himself, and he took his time to explain everything to me. Immediately afterward my skin actually looked better (for me) because that slight sunburned/ruddy look is something I hadn't had in a while.
Saturday was still okay - your skin literally feels like sandpaper - but Sunday my skin started to slough in some areas, and I knew I wasn't allowed to touch it. So I basically looked like I had some lumpy sand on my face that I couldn't wait to rub off. I washed twice a day with Cetaphil only, and then followed that with Aquaphor. I also noticed that if I rubbed Aquaphor on my face during the peeling stage BEFORE I washed my face (my peeling really set in Monday evening, so the third day after the procedure), the grease literally lifted off the dead skin cells like eraser bits. Well, it is now Tuesday, and my skin is PERFECT!!! I can't believe it, the melasma is as good as gone!
I will go in one more time for my upper lip in six weeks, because the skin is thicker, and there is some deeper pigment there, but I never thought it would work this well. My skin is rosy, refreshed, so much brighter - everyone says there is something different and that I look really good, but they can't tell what it is. And my husband said I looked younger and less tired, which is also what my colleague said. My pores have really tightened as well. It was like doing an IPL treatment, but so much more powerful. And yet I didn't feel like it really "burned" my skin the way other people describe some lasers do.
I would say go to a doctor who knows what they're doing - don't get it done at a spa or by a clinician. The provider is most important!!! If you have melasma or dull, blotchy skin and haven't tried Fraxel Dual with the 1927 wavelength, you really should research a good, experienced (preferably someone who teaches the technique) physician and make an appointment.
Updated on Mar 23, 2010