The innovative Fraxel Laser has been specially designed to manipulate minute volumes of target tissue. The clinical effects of this technique alter the appearance of aging and sun-damaged skin over time. Tiny microscopic wounds within the skin result in a wound healing process that results in the coagulation of collagen fibers in the skin.
What is Fraxel?
Fraxel involves the use of the latest in skin care laser technology to purposefully stimulate the body’s own restorative processes by controlled damage done to the skin. Reaching deep into the skin’s second layer, the dermis, Fraxel helps to stimulate the body’s restorative abilities and thus new collagen and skin is formed. Older skin that is damaged is removed from beneath the epidermal layer, the outermost area of skin. The process of controlled skin damage in small areas which are separated by healthy skin allows for minimal healing time and highly effective skin rejuvenation.
Who is a candidate for Fraxel?
For anyone suffering from age spots, effects of the environment such as sun damage, acne scars, wrinkles near the eyes, and even melasma, or commonly referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” Fraxel is a great way to achieve clearer and even more radiant looking skin. Other skin disorders such as pigmentation issues and a need for skin resurfacing are effectively treated with Fraxel. There are three types of Fraxel lasers: Fraxel re:fine, Fraxel re:store, and Fraxel re:pair.
How is the Fraxel procedure performed?
A dermatologist begins treatment by cleansing the skin and applying a topical cream to numb the treatment area about an hour prior to treatment. This is to keep the patient comfortable during the procedure. The laser is then used to help the skin rejuvenate in the associated treatment area. The epidermis and dermis layers of the skin are treated, yet no visible damage is done to the epidermal layer of the skin. By only damaging specific areas of the skin, spread out over the area being treated, healthy and unaffected skin is left in tact to support the healing process and stimulate the body’s healing capacity. This results in the production of new collagen and even more radiant skin. Treatments usually conclude in about a half hour.
What should be expected during recovery from a Fraxel treatment?
After the treatment has concluded, the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, will remain undamaged while the deeper layer, the dermis, begins to heal. The patient may notice the appearance and discomfort of a sunburn and eventually a slight tanning or bronzing of the skin which begins to show in a few weeks depending on the skin type. The old skin cells will slough off and the skin will gradually repair itself, igniting new collagen development. The skin should be treated as a sunburn, keeping it moisturized and out of heavy sun exposure. Sunscreen and protective clothing is a good idea.
Patients can expect to return to daily activities right away or may require a bit more time to adjust. Makeup may be worn to help alleviate some of the redness to the skin if desired and if the skin is not too sensitive to the touch. Shaving may also be done if discomfort is minimal. Every patient’s skin is unique so different recovery times are normal.
When will results from Fraxel be apparent?
Results will usually begin to show in about two to three months post treatment, yet every patient’s skin type varies.
What is unique about Fraxel?
By fractionally treating skin in specific areas, while leaving some skin unaffected nearby, Fraxel allows for an easier and less invasive procedure. Due to this approach to skin rejuvenation, the body’s healing response is enhanced and new collagen develops. Fraxel is a balanced laser treatment which allows for the high effectiveness of some other more invasive laser treatments while maintaining a shorter recovery time and fewer side effects.
Is Fraxel approved in the USA?
The FDA has permitted the use of Fraxel in the USA for specific skin conditions. Approval is still pending for various other skin treatment options that Fraxel has been shown to treat with a high success rate. Age spots, acne scars, melasma, and wrinkles near the eyes are a few of the FDA approved conditions for treatment.
Is Fraxel covered by insurance policies?
Generally speaking, most any cosmetic surgical procedure, whether it is minimally invasive or more invasive, is not covered by health insurance providers. Getting familiar with insurance policies is a great idea to see what may be covered, as well as speaking to a trusted dermatologist about what options are available.
What is the cost of a Fraxel treatment?
Fraxel treatments are usually $800-$1000 each but treatment costs vary from patient to patient and in different skin clinics. It is always recommended to get a clear understanding of any costs prior to beginning treatments and to discuss payment plan options.
Disclaimer: This information is intended only as an introduction to this procedure. This information should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor does it guarantee results of your elective surgery. Further details regarding surgical standards and procedures should be discussed with your physician.
By Dermanetwork.org Staff
Updated: October 28, 2009