Fraxel Fractional Laser Skin Treatments

Middle aged happy woman with a beautiful face

Fraxel Overview

Fraxel is a fractional laser used to treat such skin issues as fine wrinkles, sun damage, crepiness and skin texture, and some types of acne scarring. The most common treatment area is the face, but patients also choose this procedure for other areas showing signs of aging, such as the back of the hands, and the décolleté. The procedure works via a laser creating hundreds of microscopic wounds, triggering the body’s natural healing process. This speeds up production of collagen and the creation of healthy new skin cells. The result is smoother, glowing skin that shows improvement in as a little as one week, although patients typically require three to five treatments.

Procedure Walk-Through

  1. Preparation: Prior to your procedure, stop using blood-thinning medications and supplements, such as NSAIDs, fish oil tabs, and vitamin E. Also, avoid direct sun exposure during this time and use of light-sensitive creams and skin treatments such as Retin-A. Do not wax or use abrasive scrubs during this time. Purchase either ice packs or bags of frozen peas, and a gentle cleanser. The day of treatment, limit caffeine intake, eat an hour or two before your procedure, and bring a hat to wear after your treatment.
  2. Anesthesia: Anesthesia is not necessary for this procedure, although a topical numbing cream is applied for about an hour prior to the procedure.
  3. Preoperative Consult: Come prepared with any questions you have, and ready to share your goals for this procedure. Dr. Vallecillos recommends an appropriate treatment plan, as well as how many sessions are necessary to achieve your desired results. Share your complete medical history, including any current medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter. Some conditions and medications increase risk of hyperpigmentation, so informing Dr. Vallecillos of these is important to reduce your risk.

Fraxel Cosmetic Procedure

Approximately 60 – 90 minutes before your procedure, the treatment area receives cleansing and then a numbing cream. After about an hour, the doctor removes the numbing cream and applies a thin layer of gel to the treatment area. The procedure itself lasts approximately 20 minutes. Dr. Vallecillos gently passes the laser roller head evenly over the treatment area, creating the microscopic wounds to speed up healing. For eye treatments, patients receive numbing eye drops and eye protection in the form of a contact lens-type shield.

Fraxel FAQs

Who is a candidate for Fraxel?

Fraxel tends to work best on patients under 50, but is safe for all skin types.

What is the recovery time for Fraxel?

For 24 hours, you may feel as though you have sunburn. Applying cold packs or frozen peas in 10-minute increments, once per hour for the first five hours, alleviates this feeling. Generally, redness fades within three to five days, which is also when patients may again use cosmetics. Allow four weeks between your treatment and events where you expect many photos, such as weddings and reunions. Do not scratch or rub the treatment area, although men may lightly shave approximately 48 hours after treatment. Do not use saunas or hot tubs, and avoid overly warm showers for three days.

Avoid strenuous exercise and alcohol for 48 hours, and direct sunlight for four weeks. Elevate the head when sleeping, and do not use light-sensitive skin treatments for 10 days.

Are there risks or side effects associated with Fraxel?

Redness, flaking, and slight discomfort are common and generally resolve within a few days. Bruising is rare but may last up to two weeks. Skin may look bronzed for the first week or two following treatment.

How long do the results last?

Follow Dr. Vallecillos’ after-care instructions exactly for optimum results. Patients typically require three to five treatments spaced four to eight weeks apart. Collagen continues developing up to six to eighteen months after the final treatment.

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