Fractional resurfacing is a breakthrough in improving the quality of the skin. This revolutionary treatment can be helpful in addressing many bothersome skin problems such as fine lines, acne scars, scars, sun damage, brown spots and other skin problems. The true advantage of the technology is the ability to achieve great results with minimal downtime.
About the Technology
Made possible by the advances in laser communication technology, 125 to 250 microscopic laser beams are delivered into the skin. Each beam heats both the epidermis and dermis, allowing both superficial and deep treatment. Although 1,000 to 2,000 pulses are delivered in each square centimeter, skin cells between the beams are not affected thereby allowing for incredibly quick healing. By treating a whole area such as the face with 3-6 sessions, the whole zone eventually is fully treated.
With numbing cream and the use of a cooling device, most patients rate the pain of the treatment as a 3-5 on a scale of 1-10. Most patients experience 1-2 days of swelling, 2-4 days of redness and 4-7 days of flaking. There is minimal discomfort after treatment and patients may apply cosmetics immediately. The risks of scarring or skin discoloration are extremely low as this technology is very gentle on the skin.
Fraxel compares very favorably to other treatments in terms of effectiveness, tolerability and side effects. Alternative treatments exist, however, and are good options for some patients, especially given the patient cost of a Fraxel treatment ($1,000/session for the full face, smaller areas are less expensive):
Intense Pulsed Light / Fotofacial
Pros: Great option to remove most redness and brown spots with minimal downtime. Lower cost of treatment.
Cons: Much less wrinkle improvement than Fraxel.
Laser Resurfacing / Chemical Peels / Dermabrasion
Pros: Deep peels are of comparable effectiveness to Fraxel.
Cons: Effectiveness related to depth of peeling. Deep peels are like deep skin burns and require 1-2 weeks of healing as the skin is raw and oozes. Increased risk of scars and infection.
Ablative Fractional Resurfacing
Pros: Better results for skin tightening and wrinkles. Less treatments to obtain similar improvement in skin color.
Cons: More downtime than Fraxel Re:store (3-7 days of downtime depending on intensity) and slightly increased risk of complications (scar, infection).
Pros: No downtime.
Cons: Minimal improvement. Minimal to zero long term results.
Before and After Examples
The before and after photos below show example results from the fraxel laser resurfacing treatment.