Mar. 4, 2013
Deborah Graham Warren

SUN DAMAGE RECOVERY – PART 4: Treatment with Fraxel Laser Resurfacing

Treatment for sun damage—with a bonus!

Fraxel Before and AfterAs mentioned in my previous post, I was lucky enough to choose between the top two technologies available for the treatment of hyperpigmentation—Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Fraxel Laser Resurfacing.

After a consultation with my provider, Nellie Sicher, RN, we decided to do BOTH—in order to show our patients which treatment works best for my particular condition: hyperpigmentation AND aging skin.

While IPL offers amazing recovery for sun damaged skin, Fraxel’s Dual Laser technology also rejuvenates aging skin by targeting layers beneath the surface. This wounding effect causes the body’s natural healing process to stimulate the production of collagen. So, our experiment was to treat the right side of my face IPL ( and a series of Chemical Peels between treatments) while simulataneously treating the left side with Fraxel.

While there may be a few more days of recovery time (over IPL) Fraxel, offers additional benefits not offered by IPL:

Fraxel Dual Laser Skin Resurfacing

  • Excellent for reducing brown sun damaged spots
  • Offers great improvement for fine lines and wrinkles
  • Stimulates collagen growth
  • Can greatly improve acne scars
  • Improves textural irregularities and stretch marks
  • Results noticeable within 5-7 days
  • Can be done of the face and body
  • Topical anesthetic needed an hour prior to treatment
  • Up to 3 days of minor swelling and up to 1 week of redness
  • Best done as a series of 3 to 6 treatments

Fraxel is laser energy used to treat sun damage by targeting water in the skin. With Dual Fraxel, two laser frequencies (1550 and 1927) are used to target both aging and sun-damaged skin in separate passes. With the first pass, microscopic laser columns penetrate deep into your skin to stimulate your body’s production of collagen and elastin—the two structural proteins that give your skin elasticity, tone and firmness. And since the laser treats only a fraction of tissue at a time, it leaves the surrounding tissue intact, which promotes very rapid healing.The second pass targets hyperpigmentation.

My treatment with Fraxel on the left side of my face was a bit more involved than IPL. I used hydroquinone cream on the left side and on my entire neck and chest area for 2 weeks prior to treatment. This pre-treatment calms the melanocytes to protect your skin during treatment. One hour before treatment I applied an anesthetic cream. During treatment I noticed a prickly heat sensation. I’ll be honest. It wasn’t like a Bedford Springs facial, but since the device blows cool air over the treated area, it’s tolerable and quick. After treatment I felt and looked like I spent a day at the beach. The sunburned feeling totally subsided after a few hours. I noticed slight swelling and redness for a couple of days.

Nellie gave me a great supply of healing cream and emollient moisturizer. It’s important to keep the area moist for several days after treatment.

DAY 3: The peeling began. Pretty exciting. The continued use of moisturizer helps the dead surface layers of skin just slide off as you gently wash your face. I avoided using abrasive cleansers and my beloved Clarisonic for a week. I had to restrain myself from pulling off the layers prematurely. “Stay away from the mirror,” said the rational voice in my head.

Day 5-6: The peeling process was complete. And wow! I never thought such  fresh, baby soft was under all those freckles and brown patches. Not only did my sun damage fade more and more with each treatment, but I noticed that my skin was actually firmer to the touch. The apples of my cheeks are actually more lifted. More youthful.

That is the beauty of Dual Fraxel. It’s like getting 2 treatments in one!

This is Part 4 of 5 in our SUN DAMAGE RECOVERY Series. Coming up next… Part 5: RESULTS! See Before and Afters for both IPL and FRAXEL.

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