Mar. 11, 2013
Deborah Graham Warren

SUN DAMAGE RECOVERY – PART 5: Review of Results with IPL vs. Fraxel

Final Results!

After several months of treatments—alternating between Intense Pulsed Light (IPL and Chemical Peels on the right side of my face and Fraxel on the left side of my face, Nellie and I are finished with our Sun Damage Recovery experiment.

I’ve now had a series of three treatments on each side of my face plus Fraxel on my neck and upper chest (decollatage) area.

Sun Damage "before" photosSun Damage "after" photosIn my particular case, Fraxel gave us the most dramatic overall results, although IPL was also extremely effective at removing patches of hyperpigmentation.

As you can see when zooming in  on my “after” photos, the Fraxel (left) side of my face is clearer than the right.

And while my “after” face is fuller due to winter weight gain, you can notice that my left cheek is slightly plumper than my right. This is the result of the collagen boost offered by Fraxel. I will be doing Fraxel on the right side soon to gain my symmetry back while I lose those excess pounds.

I cannot emphasize enough, that no matter which treatment you may choose, it is important to maintain your results by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 (or higher) year-round. Snow and water intensify the sun’s reflection, so you must reapply your sunscreen often in these conditions.

Sun Damage: Treatment Advice from Nellie Sicher, RN

Now that our results of our half-IPL, half-Fraxel experiment are complete, I asked Nellie how she’ll be advising patients who seek remedies for sun damage.

“After doing our “1/2 & 1/2″ experiment,” Nellie replied, “it became clear that goals, downtime allowed and budget will dictate which treatment would be the best for each individual.

The most effective sun damage treatment (and sometimes the biggest investment) is Fraxel. Fraxel easily picks up on hyperpigmentation and results can be dramatic just after one treatment. Two or three treatments may be needed, depending on the extent of damage and one’s goal for their skin. The reason some patients decide not to do Fraxel is the investment and, more often, the downtime. It can take up to a full week for redness, swelling and peeling to subside.

The other effective option we offer is IPL, which can be done alone or in combination with Chemical Peels. IPL is most effective for light skin types with dark hyperpigmentation. A series of three (or more) IPL treatments with three peels (between IPL treatments) is typical. But once again, it depends on your end goals.

Costs vs. benefits: In a nutshell, Fraxel can provide the most dramatic results in the least amount of time, since only one treatment may be sufficient. At roughly half the cost of Fraxel, IPL is most economical (based on cost per treatment) without any downtime following treatment. But the process may be slow and deeper or lighter pigments may not diminish as much as we would like.

Whether you choose IPL or Fraxel, pricing packages are available for multiple treatments, based on needs and desired goals.

I personally prefer Fraxel because of the outcome that I have seen with my all my patients, including Deb. They love the results—and the fringe benefit of collagen stimulation!”

This is Part 5 of 5 in our SUN DAMAGE RECOVERY Series. Click here for link to Part 1.

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