What is Fraxel Laser Resurfacing?
Is your skin looking tired and worn out, giving the people in your life an impression that you might feel that way too? Is your skin plagued by brown spots, large pores, and fine wrinkles? Residents of the Boston area have a variety of laser skin treatments available to help them regain vibrant, young-looking skin. Board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Anna Petropoulos offers Fraxel® and many other non-surgical treatments that can revive your skin and your confidence.
What are the benefits of Fraxel laser resurfacing?
Fraxel delivers impressive results without being ablative. The key is the term “fractional,” where only a fraction of the skin surface is affected. Fraxel’s energy penetrates the epidermis, creating hundreds of microscopic channels down into the dermis layer. When the body senses heat in the dermis layer (the layer beneath the epidermis), it believes there has been a wound.
Of course, the hundreds of microscopic channels heal within just a couple hours, so there aren’t any actual wounds to heal. But the heat the body senses with the laser energy make it respond as if there is a wound. The response is to remodel the collagen in the treated areas, which creates instant skin tightening. The channels also work to break down areas of poor texture. The real benefits come as the body ramps up new collagen production for the next few months. Collagen provides the structural framework under the skin, so boosting production will repair and heal the “wounds.” This is how Fraxel really improves the skin.
But back to the fractional part. This is the secondary benefit of Fraxel. The channels created by the laser energy are surrounded by healthy, untouched skin. This healthy skin immediately gets busy healing the microscopic channels next to it. The channels break down skin texture problems, and new skin cells, elastin, and collagen provide overall improvement.
skin improvements Through Fraxel Laser
Dr. Petropoulos uses a series of gentle Fraxel re:store® laser treatments with no social downtime to rejuvenate and retexturize the skin on the face, neck, chest, and hands. Her patients enjoy a variety of skin improvements through Fraxel by:
- Fading sun spots, age spots, and uneven pigmentation
- Diminishing large pores
- Effacing fine wrinkles
- Smoothing superficial scars such as those caused by acne or chicken pox
- Re-plumping of the skin by collagen formation and tightening
- Attaining smoother, softer skin
Combining Fraxel laser treatments with PRP Therapy can accelerate and enhance skin rejuvenation.
Who is a good candidate for Fraxel treatments?
Basically, anyone would be a good candidate for these treatments with Dr. Petropoulos. We all have issues with sun damage and age spots, not to mention fine lines and wrinkles, and poor skin tone.
If these are your skin problems, Fraxel is a great procedure for you:
- Fine line and wrinkles, such as crow’s feet
- Surface scarring from acne or other causes
- Pigmented lesions and areas of darker pigmentation
- Sun damaged skin
- Actinic keratoses
How Fraxel Laser Treatment Works
Unlike many traditional laser treatments, there is no downtime with the Fraxel re:store laser treatment since it treats tiny, pinpoint “microcolumns” of the skin’s surface leaving alternating areas untouched. Fractora™ treatments work in a similar manner using radiofrequency energy instead of a laser.
Collagen production and new skin generation is stimulated in the treated microcolumns. As collagen is gradually restored, your skin tone and texture improve. Because alternating pinpoint areas remain unaffected, the skin appears normal after the treatment with no downtime.
Fraxel Treatment with Thermage
While Dr. Petropoulos gives her Boston area patients impressive results with Fraxel treatments alone, she also combines Fraxel with Thermage® skin tightening treatments for more dramatic results. This innovative combination, called ThermaFrax, is a breakthrough in non-surgical facial rejuvenation.
The Fraxel laser retexturizes the skin and Thermage tightens it, together giving a holistic and harmonious result. At your consultation, Dr. Petropoulos will help you determine the best path to your aesthetic goals whether it’s Fraxel, ThermaFrax, or another of her innovative treatments.
“Dr. Petropoulos is the perfect combination of incredible physician and artist. Your face is her canvas, but she’s so subtle with the modifications she will make and the procedures she will suggest that you’ll still be yourself, just the best version possible. Her staff is wonderful.
The ladies who administer Thermismooth, thermage, and other non-invasive, non-surgical enhancements are extremely professional, communicating what they’re doing as they do it, always ensuring your comfort. I will also mention that I never felt as if prices were exorbitant or that there was a huge margin compared to going to a MedSpa. In fact, in some cases, the pricing here was a bit less.
In summary, using Dr. Petropoulos is perhaps the best investment I’ve ever made, with ripple effects in my self-esteem, happiness and life in general.”
Are there side effects or risks with Fraxel treatments?
The FDA has cleared Fraxel for these uses: periorbital wrinkles, acne scars, surgical scars, age spots, sun spots, melasma, actinic keratoses, and skin resurfacing. That means these procedures had to pass rigorous safety testing prior to receiving approval.
Swelling and redness are the most common side effects from a Fraxel treatment. Swelling is minimal and usually only lasts a day or two. Redness fades within a few days. Pigmentation spots become darker initially, which can be disconcerting, but that is a sign they’re on the way out. You may have some minor itching, dry feeling skin, slight peeling or flaking, and some bronzing of the skin, but these are all temporary effects.
What is the Recovery from Fraxel Treatment?
For the first day after your session your skin will feel as though it has a mild sunburn. It will appear pink, possibly even red. Your skin will bronze as the first sign the pigmented spots have received the laser energy and are about to peel away. This can all be effectively covered with makeup.
If possible, it’s great to have a Fraxel treatment late in the day on a Friday. That way your skin can calm down over the weekend.
What to expect with Fraxel Laser Resurfacing
After applying a topical anesthetic cream, we smooth the Fraxel laser treatment wand over the targeted areas producing a prickly sensation. After treatment your skin might look and feel like you had mild sun exposure for the first 1 to 2 days. Most patients need a series of 3 to 5 treatments spaced about a month apart for optimal results.
When can I get back to normal activities after a Fraxel treatment?
Our Fraxel re:store treatments are not hard to take. As mentioned above, your skin will be somewhat red, and it will feel tight for a couple days after your session. But this doesn’t have to preclude you from getting right back to your normal activities. If you’re worried about the redness, you could lay low for a day or two, or you could cover things with makeup.
When will I see results from Fraxel?
Your results are immediate and then progressive. You’ll see the response to the laser energy as your pigmented spots darken. That is the beginning of the end for them, as your body has started to replace those cells with excess melanin with new, healthier skin cells.
The collagen and elastin increases take some time, showing their peak somewhere between 2-3 months. This is the healing mechanism where new collagen production ramps up and damaged tissue is replaced.
Whether you choose to combine Fraxel with PRP or with Thermage, this is still a timeline you can expect.