Fraxel Laser Treatment
How Fraxel Laser Treatment Works
Fraxel Laser Treatment produces thousands of tiny but deep columns of treatment in your skin, known as microthermal treatment zones. This treatment eliminates old epidermal pigmented cells. It also penetrates deep into the dermis. Just as important, though, are the areas of skin the Fraxel laser leaves untouched. For every microthermal zone the laser targets and treats intensively, it leaves the surrounding tissue unaffected and intact. This “fractional” treatment allows the skin to heal much faster than if the entire area were treated at once, using the body’s natural healing process to create new, healthy tighter tissue to replace skin imperfections.This treatment is used for crow’s feet around the eyes, Melasma (mask of pregnancy), dyschromia (brown spots of sun damaged or aging skin), and skin resurfacing (texture improvement e.g. acne scarring). The face, neck, chest and hands may all be safely treated.
At your initial consultation, Dr Braun will determine the best treatment plan for your desired results. By design, each Fraxel Laser Treatment targets between 20 and 25 percent of the skin’s surface. Clinical studies suggest that on average, an effective treatment regimen is 3 to 5 sessions, spaced about 2 to 4 weeks apart. Depending upon your condition and schedule, you and your physician may choose to space treatment sessions even further apart. Results are immediate and progressive. Optimal improvement is usually visible in about 2 to 3 months. Because Fraxel Laser Treatment spares healthy tissue, it is effective even on delicate skin areas, such as the neck, chest and hands.
Preparing for the treatment
Fraxel Laser Treatment is performed in Dr. Braun’s office using only topical anaesthesia in most cases. If you are having a significant area of your skin treated, Dr. Braun will develop a pain management approach to maximize your comfort during the procedure.
What to expect after Fraxel
You will experience a mild sunburn sensation for about an hour and then minimal discomfort. The skin will have a pinkish tone for 5 to 7 days. This is a normal sign that the skin is deeply healing. Swelling is minimal and generally resolves in 2 to 3 days.
You may apply make-up or shave soon after treatment. Some patients are able to return to routine activities, including work and social obligations, the same day of treatment. Others require a little more time, depending upon their skin condition and treatment.
New epidermal skin develops within 24 hours. This process of skin repair involves:
- Bronzing: Your skin will have a bronze appearance that lasts anywhere from 3 to 14 days, depending on your treatment level.
- Flaking: Your skin will naturally and vigorously exfoliate as new skin replaces dead tissue. Flaking is similar to that of minor sunburn, but without the associated pain. Use of a moisturizer will mask the appearance of flaking.
- Sunscreen: Be sure to use sunscreen at least twice daily to protect your skin from sun exposure during both the healing phase and for several months after treatment. Apply a moisturizing sun block with an SPF of at least 30-plus. For added protection, use wide-brimmed hats when in direct sunlight.
Over the following weeks and months, the body repairs the deeper dermal tissues that have been affected by the Fraxel treatment, producing longer beneficial changes associated with a healthy, youthful appearance.
Benefits of Fraxel® Laser Treatments
Since FLT has the impact of ablative lasers but the gentler benefits of the non-ablative treatments, healing time is significantly accelerated so there is minimal downtime. Because the Fraxel® Laser penetrates the non-living out layer of skin leaving it completely untreated, make-up can be worn immediately following the procedure. Some patients are able to return to routine activities, including work and social obligations, the same day of treatment. Others require a little more time, depending upon their skin condition and treatment. Please consult your physician to understand how Fraxel® Laser Treatment will fit into your schedule.
Risks of Fraxel® Laser Treatments
Swelling and redness are the most common side effects from treatment. If swelling does occur, it is minimal and will subside within a day or two. Redness may occur and will fade within a few days. There is a very limited risk of infection or scarring.
Necessary precautions post-treatment
Wearing sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher twice a day is especially important. Avoid direct sun exposure during the healing process and for at least 3 months after treatment. Wearing wide brimmed hats is highly recommended when out in the elements.
Plastic Surgeon Dr. Saul Braun operates from the Netcare Rosebank Hospital, situated in the up-market Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg.