Everything You Need To Know About Fraxel Laser Treatments
Laser skin surgery has been around for decades. Undoubtedly, the first skin resurfacing procedures were already incredibly effective. But, advancements in technology have allowed treatments of today to offer even better results, fewer possible complications, and even lower costs.
Among the skin treatments that have increasingly grown in popularity is Fraxel Laser. Although countless people swear by it and have experienced tremendous, positive results, what is it, really? And does it live up to its hype?
What is Fraxel Laser Treatment?
Fraxel Laser Treatment is one of the most popular procedures for skin resurfacing. It is a non-surgical process developed in 2000 by Solta Medical along with the New York Cosmetic, Skin, and Laser Surgery Center’s famed founder, Cameron Rokhsar. This FDA-approved non-surgical process is essentially a photorejuvenation procedure that uses fractional laser technology to treat a wide variety of cosmetic conditions.
In its very essence, this treatment requires the use of a proprietary device called the Fraxel laser machine. This device uses lasers to create microscopic punctures on the skin’s surface. The tiny injuries will be too small to see but will be enough to induce the skin’s natural wound healing response. That leads to a boost in collagen production and skin rejuvenation. Once the body’s natural skin rejuvenation process is accelerated, it provides long term effects for anti-aging, tightening, smoothening, and restoration.
What is a Fraxel Laser used for?
Because the Fraxel Laser treatment merely accelerates the body’s natural skin rejuvenation process, it is used for a wide variety of skin conditions. Most often, treatments target blemishes on the face, neck, and decolletage. Generally, people who seek Fraxel treatment do so for the anti-aging benefits. Through this process, patients are able to enjoy a diminished appearance of crow’s feet, wrinkles, and brow lines.
Other than reversing signs of aging, Fraxel is often used to reduce the appearance of scars. This works best on surface scarring, including those caused by acne. Additionally, it is able to clear up blemished skin due to sun damage, age spots, or even actinic keratosis.
What is the Fraxel Dual laser treatment?
Fraxel Dual is the latest technology from Solta Medical. This treatment involves a specific device that uses two types of lasers, each with different wavelengths. The 1927nm wavelength is ideal for clearing up pigmentation while the 1550nm wavelength is able to penetrate the skin deeply in order to stimulate collagen production. With both wavelengths in one treatment device, the Fraxel Dual Laser is a more intense treatment that’s ideal for older or more damaged skin.
How much does Fraxel laser treatment cost?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ 2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, the national average fee for non-ablative laser skin resurfacing treatments like Fraxel is $1,144. That figure isn’t too far from what a session goes for in other countries, including Canada, the UK, and Australia.
Of course, the cost will depend on your specific condition. But, where you go for treatment will also affect the price. If you’re interested in Fraxel, ask about available packages because those typically end up costing less than if you pay for one session at a time.
How many Fraxel sessions do you need for visible results?
The number of Fraxel sessions you need to achieve significant clinical improvement really depends on your skin concern, condition, and response. Generally, you should notice improvements soon after the first session. Among the immediately noticeable effects include a more even complexion and more supple skin.
Nevertheless, according to a study published by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal in 2008, the best results are achieved after completing a series of 3-6 treatments. Treatment sessions are typically scheduled at intervals of 2-4 weeks. Once you’ve achieved your desired condition, you can go for maintenance sessions around once a year.
How do you prepare for a Fraxel laser treatment session?
Fraxel laser treatments are non-invasive, so there really aren’t any limitations as you prepare for your session. However, there are things you can do to minimize possible irritation and encourage better results. Generally, that involves taking care of your skin to make it as healthy as possible and prime it for treatment. Some of the things you can do on the days leading up to your session include:
- Don’t skip your twice-a-day skincare routine of cleansing and moisturization.
- Don’t undergo other treatments, especially those that involve whitening, bleaching, and exfoliating.
- Avoid sun exposure.
What is the typical Fraxel treatment session like?
Different clinics will have different procedures for welcoming and treating their clients. However, all treatments should start by cleansing the target area and then applying a numbing cream. The topical anesthetic will take about an hour to be fully absorbed by the skin, so you’ll need to wait that long before starting the treatment. Once you’re ready, you will be asked to lie down, and your eyes will be covered to protect them from the lasers.
How the treatment feels depends on your tolerance for pain. Nevertheless, most people say that it doesn’t hurt but does involve a feeling of increased heat that quickly passes. Afterward, the treated area feels somewhat sunburned.
How much time does it take to recover after a Fraxel session?
Compared to other skin resurfacing procedures, Fraxel involves very little downtime. The slight sunburned feeling many people experience after a Fraxel laser treatment subsides between 1 to 3 hours after each session. Then, it takes up to a week for any reddening, swelling, or itching to subside. In some cases, people experience flakiness for up to 4 weeks.
Does Fraxel have specific aftercare requirements?
Although it might take a while for some effects to subside in order to reveal the treatment’s optimal results, you don’t need much special care after a session. In fact, you can use your regular skincare products and makeup right after the treatment. Just be sure you avoid harsh chemicals and exfoliants. Also, most dermatologists recommend using at least a 30 SPF sunscreen for a month after undergoing a Fraxel procedure.
What side effects should you expect after a Fraxel treatment?
Like many non-invasive procedures, Fraxel treatments don’t commonly have adverse side effects. Some things you might experience include itching, stinging, swelling, and reddening. These may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Although incredibly rare, some can experience blistering or even scarring. Also possible but uncommon are fungal, bacterial, or viral infections.
Are there people who shouldn’t undergo Fraxel laser treatment?
Fraxel laser treatment is incredibly safe, but dermatologists recommend avoiding it when you have acne flare-ups or if you’ve used Isotretinoin or similar topical creams within the past year. Additionally, you should avoid Fraxel as well as any other laser procedure if you suffer from any kind of auto-immune disease or if you’re prone to keloids and scars. Lastly, it’s best to avoid Fraxel while you’re pregnant or if you’re still nursing.
How does Fraxel compare to other popular laser procedures?
Among the most popular laser procedures that are comparable with Fraxel are IPL, Pixel Laser, CO2 Laser, Fractora, Halo Laser, and PicoSure. The best choice among all these methods really depends on your condition as well as your lifestyle. Generally, Fraxel is better for more severe cases or for older skin while others excel in blemishes and surface scarring.
Can Fraxel treatments be administered at home?
Luckily, technology has allowed the adaptation of Fraxel technology into smaller, handheld devices that can be used at home. Although these typically cost hundreds of dollars, they end up cheaper and much more convenient than in-clinic procedures. However, you won’t have the benefit of a dermatologist’s supervision.
Generally, these home-use devices are used twice a week, along with a performance gel. Then, an anti-inflammatory cream is applied to the treated area after every session. At the end of 8 weeks, you should notice significant results.
It’s easy to become swept away by all the hype surrounding Fraxel laser treatments. This is especially true because it has gathered tons of positive testimonials and a large, loyal following over the past two decades. But armed with all this information, you should be able to make an informed decision on whether or not Fraxel is for you and if it’s appropriate for your specific skin concern.
If you’re interested, the best thing to do is to book a consultation with a clinic or dermatologist that offers Fraxel laser treatments and have a conversation about your concerns. Then, you’ll be one step closer to achieving younger-looking and blemish-free skin.