The Fraxel laser is a non-ablative treatment used to improve upon the appearance of acne scarring. The Fraxel is a fractional laser, meaning that it only treats a portion of the skin at a time, leaving healthy intact skin adjacent to the treated areas. The technique of “fractional” resurfacing allows for safer treatments and decreased healing time.
How does the Fraxel Laser treat acne scars?
The Fraxel laser treatment produces tiny columns of energy, which penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. This process stimulates the skin’s own process of healing; the skin responds to this signal by producing new collagen to improve the damaged skin. The Fraxel laser treatment effectively treats atrophic (pitted) acne scars, while also removing the red and brown spots presents after the initial acne lesions have resolved.
What types of acne scars can be treated with the Fraxel?
The Fraxel laser treatment is effective for removing many types of acne scars. Atrophic (“pitted”) scarring, post-inflammatory erythema (red marks) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (brown marks) can all be treated with the Fraxel laser. The treatment is appropriate for all skin types; it does not target the pigmented cells in the skin, so even patients with darker skin types may treat their scars with the non-ablative Fraxel laser resurfacing treatment.
What should I expect during the Fraxel Laser appointment?
Upon arriving for your appointment, your skin will be thoroughly cleanser and a numbing cream will be applied to the surface of the area to be treated. The cream will stay on your skin for sixty minutes prior to your Fraxel resurfacing treatment. The Fraxel treatment itself takes approximately twenty to thirty minutes. It is not painful, though you may feel a very mild discomfort and minimal heat. Prior to leaving, you will receive a handout reviewing exactly how to care for your skin in the days following the Fraxel resurfacing laser treatment.
Do patients need to stay home after their Fraxel treatment?
For two to three days following the Fraxel treatment, you may experience mild redness and swelling. Most patients compare this to a severe sunburn. You may leave the home and wear makeup immediately after the treatment, though you may not want to schedule important social or work plans during the first few days after the treatment. After three days, you will look okay and resume regular social plans.
How many Fraxel resurfacing treatments are needed to treat acne scars?
Most patients require four Fraxel laser treatments to improve the appearance of their acne scars.