Have you been enduring acne scars on your face and discolorations? Do they make you feel self-conscious and less confident? Worse, have you tried everything to get rid of them but they’ve stubbornly remained? The solution to your skin problems may be found in the latest trend in cosmetic treatments, Fraxel Restore.
What is Fraxel Restore?
Fraxel, or fractional laser, is a non-invasive laser treatment which is milder and does not burn the skin, unlike other more aggressive skin treatments and lasers. While other treatments would need you to take time away to let your skin rest and recover from the burn and peeling, several weeks in fact, after a Fraxel session, you only need a few days to a week before you can return to your normal activities. Patients with mild to moderate acne scars and fine wrinkles will benefit more from Fraxel Restore. Other skin problems which Fraxel Restore can remove are sun damage signs, some melasma and brown pigmentation. It’s suitable to be used not just on the face and neck but also on any body part frequently exposed to the sun, like the chest, hands and legs. Fraxel Restore is also great at enhancing your skin tone and making your skin feel softer and smoother.
By the way, although many still recognize the term Fraxel Restore, it has now been improved and refined to Fraxel Dual. Fraxel Dual focuses specifically on brown pigmentation on the face and other parts of the body.
How does it work?
Traditional laser treatments usually burn through the entire skin area to induce peeling and reveal new skin underneath. Fraxel is different since it creates minute thermal areas in your skin which your skin works to repair by pushing out and activating the production of new skin. Because the treatment is focused only on certain areas or zones, the rest of your skin is relatively undamaged so natural skin repair is quicker.
The treatment process begins with the cleansing of your face and then the application of a numbing cream. Once the numbing cream has done its work, after about an hour, it’s removed and you head to the laser room where the actual laser work is done. A layer of gel may be spread thinly over your face for the laser rollers to slide more smoothly and evenly. The laser rollers are then applied all over your face and may produce a “pins and needles” feeling. The discomfort usually feels mild for most patients or at most, moderate for a few.
Each session lasts about 2-3 hours and will cost upward of $900. The specific cost will depend on the areas targeted and if you have any scars.
What can you expect after the treatment?
Right after the treatment, your face will feel sunburned and look red. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on your skin care regimen during this period. It is recommended that ice packs are used on the face to ease the discomfort.
Additionally, a browned look may appear on your skin, plus some flaking. In a few cases, bruises were also seen. These should gradually fade in a few days and completely disappear in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, continue using moisturizer and other skin care products your doctor will recommend, especially sunscreen. You’ll be up and about again in just a few days and you can easily wear makeup to cover your face.
Patients have reported with satisfaction that the treatment has improved their scars, diminished fine lines and pores, and lightened their discoloration. It’s important to note though that more than one treatment session spaced out in several weeks is often needed to get the best results.
If you have reservations, however, on trying the Fraxel Restore treatment, there are some other options available for you.
These are the three best alternatives to Fraxel Restore to clear your skin problems:
Fraxel Repair, while using a similar technique and equipment as Fraxel Restore, is significantly more aggressive as it’s an ablative form of treatment, meaning it burns the skin to penetrate deeper. This is recommended for more severe cases of scarring, discoloration and melasma as well as deeper wrinkles. Since it’s more potent than Fraxel Restore, it takes only half the number of sessions. The downside to Fraxel Repair is that it produces greater side effects such as more vivid redness, browning or flaking. These side effects also take longer to fade and disappear compared to Fraxel Restore as the skin needs more time for healing and repair.
Another alternative to Fraxel Restore is Microdermabrasion. A milder form of treatment suitable for minor skin concerns, microdermabrasion can be done every few weeks (or every week in some cases depending on the patient’s skin type) for continued results. This treatment involves using a vacuum device specially made for the skin to lift an area of the skin, spray a powder made of crystals onto the skin to gently scrub the skin’s outermost surface and then vacuum away the dead skin cells and powder. The skin’s old outer layer is removed, triggering the skin underneath to produce new skin cells. This type of treatment involves little to no pain, produces some results immediately, and does not need much time for recovery.
The last treatment we recommend in place of Fraxel Restore is Chemical Peels. This type of treatment involves the application of chemicals on the face which will cause old and blemished skin to peel and which will then stimulate the creation of new softer and smoother skin untarnished by the sun. There are various chemicals used depending on the skin condition. More severe skin problems will need stronger chemical peels. Side effects will likely include a feeling of burning and then stinging and redness, and this may be mild to moderate depending on the type of peel. Peeling will start a few days after and then eventually fade. With chemical peels, the results of new lovely refreshed skin start appearing sooner than the other treatments.