Fraxel Restore Laser Therapy Overview
The Fraxel Restore is a non-ablative fractional laser treatment used to treat wrinkles, pigment lesions, melasma, scars, and stretch marks. The laser penetrates the surface of the skin, destroying old, damaged cells and allowing for the regeneration of healthy skin cells. It is safe for most skin types both on and off the face including the neck, chest, décolleté, and the tops of hands. The Fraxel Restore laser lacks the associated degree of risks and side effects commonly seen with other treatments of similar scope.
There are a several factors a patient should consider in preparation to undergoing a Fraxel laser procedure. Sunbathing prior to the Fraxel Restore procedure is highly discouraged as it can increase the chance of post-procedural hyper-pigmentation, or darkening of the skin. Additionally, abstinence from the use of exfoliating agents should be strictly adhered to for a few weeks prior to your scheduled appointment. In patients with a history of herpes simplex I lesions, it is recommended that a peri-procedural course of anti-viral therapy such as Valtrex be prescribed in order to minimize the risk of a herpetic breakout. If pigmentation management is of the treatment goals for the patient, a peri-procedural course of skin bleaching is also advised in order to maximize results. After your consultation, Dr. Vallecillos will be able to determine which treatment protocols are best suited for your particular skin conditions.
A topical anesthetic will be applied. (Cold air may also be blown across the skin to minimize discomfort during the application of the laser.)
- The laser is applied to the area(s) to be treated.
The Fraxel Restore Laser differs significantly from the more invasive, ablative fractionated laser platforms such as the fractionated CO2 laser (Lumenis Total FX). The Fraxel Laser, being “non-ablative,” stops short of removing a layer of skin on the affected treatment area. This translates into a much more tolerable post-op healing phase. Additionally, the implementation of “fractionated” laser technology is advantageous in that the energy projected onto the skin is done so in a columnated fashion, whereby millions of narrow independent light beams pinpoint the deeper layers of the skin. Through the dispersal of the laser light in a columnated fashion, not all of the surface area of the skin is affected, translating into a much quicker healing time, typically less than 5 days from day of treatment.
- The end result of a Fraxel Restore treatment is significant improvement of skin texture, with minimization of fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, with improved confluence in skin coloration and confluence.Fraxel laser has been FDA approved to treat the following conditions:
- Periorbital wrinkles (wrinkles around the eyes)
- Pigment lesions or liver spots (age and sun spots)
- Melasma (brown spots caused by hormonal shifts, such as pregnancy)
- Acne scars and surgical scars
- Skin resurfacing, tone, and texture
- Striae (stretch marks)
- Botox Cosmetic and Dysportmay be used in conjunction with laser treatment to further reduce frown lines, forehead wrinkles, and upper lip lines.Dermal fillers like Radiesse and Juvederm may also be used to add facial fullness, soften deeper lines, and plump lips.
Fraxel Restore Laser Therapy FAQ
Who is a candidate for Fraxel Restore laser therapy?
You should consider Fraxel Restore laser therapy if you suffer from wrinkles, fine lines, pigment lesions, melasma, scars, and/or stretch marks on the face, neck, chest, and/or hands.
What is the recovery time for Fraxel Restore laser therapy?
The Fraxel Restore laser treatment has minimal patient downtime, and typically healing completes within five days after treatment. Most patients can immediately return to their normal daily routine. It is important to use a high (at least 30) SPF sunscreen on all treated areas for at least three months following the procedure.
Are there risks or side effects with Fraxel Restore laser therapy?
You should expect some temporary redness and swelling. Skin may also feel dry, itchy, and/or peel, similar to the sensation of a sunburn, and may have a bronzed appearance. This is temporary, and will vary depending on how aggressive your treatment was.
How long do the results last?
Results from the Fraxel Restore laser treatment tend to appear after several treatments. The effectiveness and longevity of the treatment will vary based on the condition of the patient’s skin, as well as their skin care regimen. Ultimately the targeted signs of aging and damage will be reduced and new, healthy skin will take its place.
For optimal results, you should schedule several follow-up sessions spaced out over the course of 3-5 months.
As the stimulation of collagen creation is induced by this treatment, noticeable improvements in the skin continue to be seen after the procedure course is completed for a period of up to 18 months.